AFSCME

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...]

An Era of Scorn for Our Government Workforce

March 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

By LEE SAUNDERS Back in 1932, a group of Wisconsin state employees banded together to defend their rights as civil servants, pushing back against a corrupt spoils system that would reward friends of politicians with important public-service jobs that demanded nonpartisan professionalism. That was the beginning of the formation of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. I am proud to serve as president of AFSCME, where we represent 1.6 million men and women — everyone from bus drivers to sanitation workers to emergency medical technicians — who never quit working to serve and strengthen their communities. Over the decades, even as our union has grown, we have had to contend with adversaries trying not just to hold down our members’ pay and benefits but who fundamentally denigrate and disrespect their work. That reflexive scapegoating of public [More...]

DC 37 Launches “100 Days of Resistance” Campaign

February 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) They are coming for us. Today, Republicans introduced national “right-to-work” legislation. Last night, Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court. These are just the latest assaults against labor emanating from the White House during the new president’s first 100 days in office, and we anticipate these attacks to intensify. Trump pledged to roll out his agenda right away, and he is moving at a quick pace, catching the progressive community off-guard. Through executive orders, [More...]

“If you are working for just a paycheck, you are going to get burned out.”

October 1, 2016 // 0 Comments

Jill Campbell, Child Protective Specialist, Social Services Employees Union Local 371 Photo: Mike Lee I work for the Administration for Childrens’ Services. I am a Child Protective Specialist in Brooklyn. I have been with the agency for eight years. My job is to ensure that the children of New York City are safe on a daily basis. I do investigations on child abuse and neglect cases. I wake up in the morning. I say my prayers and I ask God to give me the strength to help me with whatever task is put in my hands that day. This is what drives me to what I do on a daily basis. Currently I am part of the FAR unit, which stands for Family Assessment Response and is a new initiative by the agency. This is a new type of engagement with families. While we still assess safety each day, it is the way we work with the families that is different. Before going out, we call them for an appointment [More...]

Henry Garrido Receives Civic Champion Award From City Limits Magazine

September 28, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido was awarded the first Civic Champion award by the magazine City Limits during their gala 40th Anniversary event in downtown Manhattan. City Limits Editor Jarrett Murphy presented the award to Garrido for his long-term service to the labor movement and his tenure as leader of the city’s largest municipal employees union. Garrido was introduced by Queens City Council member and Finance Committee chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. Veteran journalist Wayne Barrett was recognized for his 40 years of investigative reporting with the City Limits Urban Journalism Award. Since the end of 2014, when he replaced now-retired Executive Director Lillian Roberts, Garrido led DC 37 through a successful contract campaign for DC 37 workers at the City University of New York, and was instrumental in creating an ongoing organizing campaign that increased [More...]

“I hear sad stories. I’m glad to lend a hand.”

September 27, 2016 // 0 Comments

Vivian Rosario, Family Assistant, Board of Education Employees Local 372 Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera At the shelters, we have people from all over the city and from all over the country and some undocumented people too. I think that’s because the services we provide for homeless people in New York City are very good. People want to blame Mayor de Blasio for the increase in homelessness, but I think the services we provide has something to do with it. People know in New York; they can get help, so they come here. I work for the Dept. of Education and I’m assigned to two shelters, the Concourse Residence and the Fordham Family Residence in the Bronx. As a Family Assistant, I’m responsible for working with the children and assisting with their educational needs. We have kids attending school from pre-K to seniors in high school. I make sure they have transportation to and from [More...]