AFSCME

Please Attend DC 37 Town Halls Scheduled for May

April 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The union is under attack. Our collective future is at stake. As the nation waits for the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Janus v. AFSCME District Council 31, DC 37 and you — the members — have many questions about the future of your union after the ruling by the court, which could go against us. The Janus case aims to undercut unions by reducing the vital funds used to negotiate with management for raises and benefits, handle grievances and fight for workplace rights. In reality, Janus is a carefully crafted assault on our freedoms to organize and to bargain fairly with our employers for wages and benefits. But DC 37 is fighting back. We are educating and organizing, explaining our future, and answering your questions as the clock ticks down to the court’s decision. Please attend a DC 37 Town Hall Please join DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and local [More...]

The Unfulfilled Dream

April 17, 2018 // 0 Comments

A half century after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination is an appropriate time to reflect upon the accomplishments of his movement. Undeniably, the struggle led by King resulted in vital civil rights and voting rights gains for blacks, along with protections against housing and job discrimination. But the economic advancement of minorities and the poor that King advocated never came about. And since his death, our country has veered toward plutocracy and authoritarianism that provides little reason for hope. At the end of his life, King was leading the Poor People’s Campaign. His criticism of the economic divide and opposition to the Vietnam War clearly shook the country’s levers of power. Today, King has a saint-like aura. But back then, his popularity was far from universal. “A man of peace, he died violently,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote in a New York Times op-ed [More...]

Cuomo Signs Legislation Strengthening Workers’ Rights

April 13, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday signed landmark legislation to strengthen the rights of working men and women in New York state. This new law increases access to and protects union membership in New York’s public-sector workplaces in anticipation of an adverse ruling in the pending Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME. Additionally, the law provides safeguards against the deliberate actions taken by the federal government that continue to undermine the efforts of organized labor across this country. Cuomo described the new law as a response to a long-term campaign by the extreme right to destroy unions. “Too often, and at the hands of this federal administration, we are seeing the labor movement going backwards. In New York it is a different story, and our efforts to protect working men and women are moving labor forward, making the workplace fairer and [More...]

Union Action: PEOPLE Power

April 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Our political system is dominated by corporations, lobbyists and wealthy individuals. As the 2016 election cycle wound down, five individual donors had spent more than $210 million on political contributions while labor, which represent nearly 15 million members, donated $132 million to super PACs and another $35 million on federal elections. Republican casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife alone contributed $52.9 million. The political strength of the labor movement depends a great deal on our “people power. Volunteers take part in the union’s get-out-to vote work, such as phone banking, attending rallies and going door-to-door to encourage members to vote. Across the country members help fortify our political strength by supporting the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ own political action fund — known as PEOPLE. John [More...]

Labor Confronts a Post-Janus Future

April 7, 2018 // 2 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The anti-union case before the U.S. Supreme Court — Janus v. AFSCME — has led to a lot of soul searching about improving labor’s way of doing business in the future. A ruling in favor of the plaintiff Mark Janus would allow non-members to receive union services for free without paying dues. This would deliver a tremendous financial blow to public employee unions, undermining their ability to provide services and use their political power to protect the interests of working families. On March 19, DC 37 hosted a meeting of labor leaders, public officials and academics convened by Public Advocate Letitia James that examined the implications of Janus v. AFSCME, which the right-wing hopes will defund unions and ultimately politically destroy them. “Let’s look at our own institutions,” said Vincent Alvarez, president of the AFL-CIO’s New York City Central [More...]

Ready to Fight Back? Your Union Leads the Way

March 10, 2018 // 1 Comment

By MIKE LEE More than 100 DC 37 activists and leaders recently participated in Local Union Leadership Academy training sessions at union headquarters to sharpen skills needed to solve problems in the workplace and to engage and empower members. Among those in attendance were representatives from Locals 154, 768, 957, 1251, 1113, 1321 and 1655. The Leadership Academy is part of an ambitious, on-going effort to fortify our union at a time when a Supreme Court case threatens the freedom of American public sector workers. Stressing the importance of preparing leaders and key members for intensive work ahead, Grievance Rep Natasha Isma said, “This training is essential. It is your role as an activist to explain our history, and our benefits. You must share that—teach that. This is your call to action, and your efforts will make a difference for our members.” DC 37 Executive Director [More...]

Under Attack, Working People Across the Country Rise Up for Freedom

February 27, 2018 // 2 Comments

Working people across the country are demanding an end to our nation’s rigged economy as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today in Janus v. AFSCME, a case funded by wealthy special interests to attack workers and their unions. Hundreds of working people spoke out in front of the nation’s highest court with pride and passion about the value of unions to public service workers. Many of those making their voices heard were minorities, who would be especially hard hit if the court rules against working people. “If the Supreme Court’s decision is based on merit, on facts and on the law, there’s no doubt they will rule in favor of working people,” said AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders. “In the face of ruthless, dishonest attacks against their freedom to come together in strong unions, working people are drawing the line. We stand united in fighting a rigged system that [More...]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Labor Leader

February 12, 2018 // 0 Comments

By LEE SAUNDERS The photograph is iconic. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., only 39 years old but the nation’s most prominent civil rights leader, lay fatally wounded on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. His lieutenants stood over his body, pointing frantically across the parking lot in the direction of the shooter. Dr. King was in Memphis to support the city’s sanitation workers — members of the union I’m proud to serve as president, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — who were striking in protest of poverty wages and dangerous, degrading working conditions. Their fight for dignity and respect was expressed with a simple, compelling slogan: “I Am a Man.” In his final campaign and throughout his life as an activist, Dr. King highlighted the struggle of all working people to get a fair shake. He’s best known, of course, for his civil [More...]

DC 37 Launches Black History Month Celebration

February 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The union kicked off its annual Black History Month celebration on Feb. 1, with a ribbon-cutting and opening night dedicated to the theme of the African-American Experience in the Labor Movement. The union and the BHM committee along with co-sponsor Local 372 celebrated former Executive Director Lillian Roberts’ 90th birthday with special guests former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, New York state AFL-CIO leader Terry Melvin, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., U.S. Congress Member Yvette Clarke, New York state Assembly member Walter Mosley, City Council members Adrienne Adams, Inez Barron, Carlina Rivera, Andy King, Mark Treyger, Jumaane Willams, Debi Rose, Laurie Cumbo, Daneek Miller, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, along with [More...]

Unions Launch Solidarity Campaign

January 25, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO As labor unions come under increasing attacks from a right-wing network and the Donald Trump administration, union leaders gathered in New York to announce their plans for an aggressive national solidarity campaign. The I AM 2018 campaign was announced during a breakfast meeting at the headquarters of the United Federation of Teachers. Corey Johnson, the newly elected Speaker of the City Council, was among the invited guests. “What Donald Trump has done is awoken a sleeping giant,” said Johnson, whose father was a member of the Teamsters. “Now is the time to organize like never before, and if we do, 2018 can be better a year.” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, and Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, are part of the leadership of [More...]