Ready to Fight Back? Your Union Leads the Way

March 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

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 // 1 Comment

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...]

National Union Launches Campaign to Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy

January 16, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Fifty years ago black sanitation workers in Memphis went on strike to demand fair wages and safe working conditions. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. joined the striking members of Local 1733 in response to a request from AFSCME’s then-president Jerry Wurf. The strikers asserted their humanity with an empowering slogan: “I Am a Man.” Wurf enlisted King—a young preacher whose nonviolent boycotts and protests fissured longstanding, illegal Jim Crow laws, and won him international acclaim as a Nobel Peace prize recipient. King roused striking workers to stand strong. His presence lent moral authority, depth and clarity to their struggle. As night fell on Memphis April 3, King stood in the Mason Temple pulpit and delivered his prophetic “Mountaintop” speech. The next day he was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel. “Let us never forget,” Wurf said, “that Dr. [More...]

Building Stronger Unions, Building Stronger Communities

December 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The decline of unions since the 1970s accounts for about a third of the growth in inequality in the United States — a gap that now mirrors the sharp economic divide of the Great Depression, according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute. During this period, wages of working families have largely stagnated as virtually all of production gains have gone to the wealthy and corporations. This reality points to an important truth: When unions are strong, all working families — not merely union households — are generally better off. The positive impact of unions on our society is explored in “Strong Unions, Stronger Communities,” a recent report issued by DC 37’s parent union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). “The strength of labor unions is critical to fixing the rigged economy and political system by [More...]

Workers on Janus: A Political Effort to Further Rig the Rules Against Working People

September 28, 2017 // 0 Comments

On Sept. 28, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. This court case is the latest attempt by anti-union forces to take away public workers’ hard-won freedoms to organize, negotiate for fair pay and working conditions, as well as to strip them of their benefits. The following statement was issued by members and leaders of AFSCME, AFT, NEA, and SEIU – the nation’s four largest public sector unions – in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to grant Certiorari in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31: The Janus case is a blatantly political and well-funded plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people. The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the [More...]

Public Service Workers on the Front Lines of Hurricane Harvey

September 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

By NAMITA WAGHRAY and CLYDE WEISS During what may be the worst natural disaster in Texas history, public service workers and first responders represented by DC 37’s national union are making heroic efforts to keep people alive, restore essential services and protect property. With at least eight people reported dead so far from Hurricane and now Tropical Storm Harvey – and with flooding in Houston already at historic proportions – stories of courage by state and local government employees will continue to emerge in the coming days. This we know so far about the work members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are doing on the front lines: On Saturday, Aug. 26, hardworking members of AFSCME Texas Corrections based in Angleton, Beaumont and Huntsville evacuated approximately 4,500 prisoners from three prison facilities as a precaution when [More...]

We Will Fight! Iowa Labor Leader Talks About the Attack on Public Workers

May 9, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE “You are the backbone of this union. You gotta get off your ass,” said Iowa District Council 61’s President Danny Homan, in a blunt warning to activists that they must pick up the fightback against the anti-union attack on public workers nationwide. “Struggle is not time-limited, but it is the road to resolution and victory,” said Local SSEU Local 371 President Anthony Wells, when he introduced Homan. Homan, an international vice president of DC 37’s national union and for five decades an activist and leader, delivered this stern warning before an audience of SSEU Local 371 delegates, alternates and activists at the local’s Delegate Assembly meeting at DC 37 headquarters on April 19. In an emotional, impassioned speech, Homan spoke bluntly about the brutal, draconian changes made to the long-standing collective bargaining agreement with public workers in Iowa. [More...]