AFSCME

A Humble Engineer Keeps NYC’s Ferries Afloat

March 16, 2020 // 0 Comments

By PETE LEVINE With degrees in marine engineering, mechanical engineering and management, Local 375 of District Council 37 member Earl Baim might appear overqualified, at least on paper. However, Baim is a vital member of a very small team of Department of Transportation engineers responsible for the constant maintenance and construction of New York City’s ferry system. The crown jewel in the system is the iconic Staten Island Ferry, which transports some 70,000 New Yorkers every day. According to Baim’s boss, A’gota Fejes, without the 32-year veteran on the team, they’d all be sunk. “His hand is everywhere,” says Fejes, a civil and structural engineer, who is based out of the St. George Terminal in Staten Island, where the Staten Island Ferry originates. “He’s a very sharp person. He’s diligent, he’s efficient, wise … he’s a great support not just to me but to [More...]

Remembering Dr. King

January 15, 2020 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS On the 91st anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth January 15, we reflect on his life’s pursuit of liberty, justice, equality for all and service to others. Dr. King’s life was cut short in 1968 at the age of 39 in Memphis, Tennessee. At the invitation of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME, DC 37’s national union), Dr. King traveled to support Black sanitation workers who were striking for fair wages, safe working conditions and the right to belong to a union. AFSCME pressed Dr. King to speak to Local 1733 members who daily bore humiliations and earned poverty wages. The last speech he ever gave, in which he famously declared that he had “been to the mountaintop,” was to the striking workers at the Mason Temple in Memphis. He embraced labor’s cause as a microcosm of the struggles his upcoming Poor [More...]

Jim Tucciarelli, Union Leader and Activist, Retires

September 25, 2019 // 1 Comment

Jim Tucciarelli, a DC 37 leader for more than three decades and a staunch advocate for fellow responders who worked at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11, has retired. Tucciarelli, longtime president of Sewage Treatment and Senior Sewage Treatment Workers Local 1320, was a member of the DC 37 Executive Board and sat on the Judicial Panel of DC 37’s national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). He fought tirelessly to protect jobs, and improve the lives of, sewage treatment workers whose dedicated service keeps New York’s communities safe, clean, and healthy. Local 1320’s members operate the Department of Environmental Protection’s 14 wastewater treatment plants and collection facilities. Throughout the years, Tucciarelli played a key role in organizing political and legislative campaigns in New York and around the country. In a 2016 [More...]

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

March 24, 2019 // 1 Comment

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to Memphis, Tennessee, in the spring of 1968 to make good on a promise to workers. Earlier that year, two Memphis sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, had sought shelter from a torrential rain in the back of a garbage truck. When the vehicle’s compressor malfunctioned, they were crushed to death. Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb and the city offered cold comfort — no compensation or death benefit for the families. At the time, Memphis’ 1,300 black sanitation workers earned 65 cents an hour with no benefits, overtime, or rights. The indignities heaped on them led to their membership in AFSCME Local 1733 and a strike for wages, human dignity, and union recognition. The workers carried signs that read, “I AM A MAN.” Their cause was a microcosm of the struggles Dr. King’s upcoming Poor People’s Campaign embraced. “If [More...]

AFSCME Members Join Federal Workers in Rally to End Government Shutdown

January 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders and Janice Fridie (District Council 20). Photo Credit: Lorenzo Soto. AFSCME members today joined furloughed federal workers in Washington, D.C., to call for an end to the government shutdown. Altogether, thousands of people marched from the headquarters of the AFL-CIO in downtown D.C. to the White House, demanding that 800,000 federal workers return to their jobs and receive their paychecks. “This shutdown is hurting our families and our communities,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “Public health is jeopardized. Consumer protection is compromised. Many national parks are overrun with garbage. Food assistance for low-income families is at risk.” Saunders was one of two dozen speakers outside the AFL-CIO who urged President Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to reopen the government. AFSCME represents about 3,000 federal workers. Janice [More...]

Rising Up: First-Time Convention Delegates Speak Out

July 22, 2018 // 0 Comments

More than 1,000 of the delegates to the 43rd AFSCME Convention in Boston last week were attending for the very first time. DC 37’s delegation included four new local unions and dozens of first-time delegates, including a new local president. This new generation of union activists is among the thousands of AFSCME members who have pledged to #RiseUp for working families and public services. Andrew Barfield—Local 1321 What I like about the convention is that you get to meet people from different parts of the country who share the same goals of trying to bring equality to the workplace. I think this is positive and inspiring. It’s really opened up my eyes to what the national level is doing, because I never knew anything about it. I didn’t know that everybody comes together in this capacity and all the issues they’re addressing. It’s not just what’s going on [More...]

DC 37 Members #RiseUp at 43rd AFSCME Convention

July 18, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE AFSCME members are heeding the call to #RiseUp following the 43rd International Convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Boston. AFSCME, DC 37’s national union, now stands at the forefront of labor’s resistance as public workers nationwide are standing together, pushing back against anti-union forces after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME in June. In his keynote address to the convention, AFSCME President Lee Saunders told the delegates and guests that while the legal setback in Janus presents serious challenges, the union is well prepared to overcome the onslaught. “If they think we’re going to roll over, if they think this is going to slow us down or shut us up, if they think we’re going to let five unelected men in robes steal our freedom, they’ve got a big surprise coming,” Saunders said. “Because [More...]

Our Union, Our Power

June 29, 2018 // 2 Comments

By MIKE LEE Capping what was perhaps was its most contentious and partisan session in modern history, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to overturn precedent and establish so-called “right-to-work” in the public sector nationwide. The decision in Janus is the latest in a series of outrageous court, legislative and administrative actions pushed by a cabal of anti-union extremists to define the rules of the nation’s economy even more in favor of the 1 percent by trying to weaken the power of unions. At a City Hall press conference after Janus v. AFSCME was announced, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido was defiant. “Our lives will not be determined by a Supreme Court decision,” he said. “It is the desire of working people to stand up and collectively say we are stronger together and that in unity is our power. We shall not be stopped.” Later that afternoon, city unions [More...]

Statement by DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido on the Janus v. AFSCME Decision

June 27, 2018 // 1 Comment

Today’s 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision smashes precedent and overturns the Court’s unanimous 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which upheld the maintaining of a union shop in a public workplace. Make no mistake: Janus v. AFSCME was always a politically-motivated case designed to rig the rules of the economy even more in favor of the privileged and powerful by weakening unions. What our country’s highest court did today was to, in effect, make so-called “right-to-work” the law of the land for public employees. Let’s remember what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said nearly 60 years ago about so-called “right-to-work” laws: “We must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by [More...]

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...]