AFSCME

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 // 1 Comment

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...]

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 // 3 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...]