BENEFITS

Union Explains Statewide Tenant Reforms at Workshop

September 30, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The hard-won, historic changes to New York’s rent regulation laws have raised many questions about the new rights and benefits tenants now have under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 passed by the state Legislature. DC 37’s Municipal Employees Legal Services (MELS) stepped up to help answer these questions at a recent workshop attended by more than 100 members. “There are more than a 100 pages of changes in the new law,” explained supervising attorney John Bart. “These are changes that benefit our members.” Tenant rights activists and organizers Michael McKee and Anita Long briefed the audience on the efforts to push Albany to pass these reforms. This effort reversed a decades-long trend of legislation wedded to big-money real estate interests. Among the legislation’s many reforms: Ending “vacancy increases,” which landlords used to [More...]

Long-time Urban Park Rangers Win Big Raises in New Contract

September 13, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Urban Park Rangers and Associate Urban Park Rangers overwhelmingly approved a new contract that will boost their salaries by nearly 7.5 percent over 49 months. For veteran workers with at least 20 years of experience in the covered titles represented by Local 983, the increase will ultimately bring home more than $9,000 over the duration of the contract. Significantly, the contract also adds three new recurring increment payments (RIPs) to the local’s contract. The old contract included such hikes at the fifth, tenth and fifteenth year of employment. The new agreement calls for additional hikes at three years ($241), seven years ($603) and 20 years ($5,529). “With these RIPs, we are essentially creating a step-pay plan that guarantees our members receive pay increases outside of our regular salary hikes,” Local 983 President Joe Puleo said. “The RIPs are a [More...]

Big Turnout at Housing Fair

August 27, 2019 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS Hundreds of DC 37 members and retirees took their first steps towards buying a home at the union’s 14th annual housing fair on Aug. 24 at 125 Barclay Street. “Home ownership is possible for our members,” said Ruth Pena, director of the Municipal Employees Housing Program. “We start with budgeting and saving for the purchase to closing on a house, condo or coop apartment. We offer a range of service providers — real estate agents, home inspectors, mortgage lenders, and more. We work within members’ budgets and even repair their credit report.” Members participated in workshops and classes Saturday afternoon that helped them prepare for home ownership. Those searching for apartments can access a special 5 percent set aside of affordable rentals. Members who may be homeless or victims of domestic violence can also find safe housing through the program. [More...]

Education is Power

August 10, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES For three decades, Sherif Fawzy devoted himself to his job at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but didn’t take any particular interest in the union. He was okay with paying his dues, recognizing that the union fulfilled its responsibility to negotiate periodic wage increases and protect his rich packet of benefits. But he felt no need to get involved. His outlook changed a few years ago after DC 37 successfully defend him against unfounded disciplinary charges by managers. That’s also when he decided to educate himself about labor law and his contract. One day, while checking out the union’s website, he learned he was entitled to take courses for free at the City University of New York. And so he enrolled. Fawzy, an engineer who works in the Dept. of Subway Car Equipment at the MTA, is one of the nearly 30 DC 37 members in the first graduating class [More...]

Members Get Citizenship Info at Union-Sponsored Workshop

August 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

Union members received professional help towards obtaining U.S. citizenship earlier this summer in a workshop sponsored by the DC 37 Citizenship Committee and partner CUNY Citizenship Now! The workshop was promoted on the union’s social media outlets. Experienced immigration lawyers and professionals offered members and their families free confidential legal services, including naturalization application assistance, DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) renewal, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) extensions. They reviewed documents and helped participants understand what they need to complete an application for U.S. citizenship. Juan Fernandez, president of Local 154 and committee chair said, “This is one of the many services the union provides to our members and the community in an ongoing effort to welcome immigrants and help them navigate the path to US [More...]

Moving UP Thanks to the Union’s Ed Fund: From Dietary Aide to Registered Nurse

July 15, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS A unique Education Fund program opened a door to life-altering opportunities for Dietary Aide Yolanda Jeter and other hospital workers to earn college degrees and acquire skills leading to jobs, promotions and better salaries. “I went to a Local 420 membership meeting and that’s where I learned about this incredible program,” said Jeter, a per diem worker at Susan McKinney nursing home since 2013. “Attending that union meeting changed my life.” What Jeter learned about is the Food and Nutrition Worker Education Fund program for dietary aides and other employees with union titles at NYC Health + Hospitals facilities who are supervised by Sodexo management. The program helps NYC H+H employees advance through higher education and certifications, providing up to $2,000 in annual tuition assistance and reimbursement for education, professional development and [More...]

Paid Family Leave Benefit is a Hit

July 3, 2019 // 0 Comments

3 By GREGORY N. HEIRES In the first six months since its inception, more than 1,000 union members took advantage of the new paid family leave benefit. “We are glad so many members are participating,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “The union and New York City are setting an example for the rest of the country.” As of early June, 1,032 DC 37 members had applied for paid family leave, which went into effect in January. The union won the benefit as part of the 2017-21 economic agreement. Most participants–64 percent–took the benefit to bond with their newborn child. Other reasons cited were 35 percent responded they took paid family leave to care for a family members. In 2019, the paid family leave benefit allows members to take up to 10 weeks to care for family members. The benefit covers 55 percent of the statewide average weekly wage, with a maximum [More...]

State Lawmakers Pass Patient Protection Legislation

June 22, 2019 // 0 Comments

DC 37 members scored a major victory earlier this week when the State legislature passed legislation that protects patients from excessive hospital emergency room charges. Passage comes after intense lobbying by a coalition of patient advocates, consumer health and business organizations, and unions, including DC 37. The legislation would strengthen our state’s current Surprise Hospital Bills Law and shield patients from price gouging by hospitals, an issue that threatens to bankrupt working families. When emergencies have caused city employees – and DC 37 members – to go to hospitals out of their network, insurance companies eventually pass on the cost of care to patients – either in higher rates or reduced benefits. This legislation helps establish a process to negotiate fair payments for excessive emergency care charges. In a letter to lawmakers signed by leaders of the [More...]

Union-backed Bill Aims to Speed Up Approval of 9/11 Pension Disability Claims

June 21, 2019 // 0 Comments

By RUDY OROZCO The state Legislature on Tuesday approved union-backed legislation that seeks to speed up the approval of disability pension applications of 9/11 rescue and recovery workers. The bill, sponsored by Assembly member Stacey Pheffer Amato and state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, would increase the number of physicians who review the applications for the York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS). “Today our heroic 9/11 rescue and recovery workers breathe a sigh of relief because of this important step taken by the state Legislature,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, shortly after legislators voted on the bill. “The increase in the number of physicians will help end the long waiting periods that these workers had to endure while their cases were under review.” Oren Barzilay, president of Uniformed EMT’s, Paramedics and Fire Inspectors Local 2507, [More...]

Free Citizenship Civics Classes for Green Card Holders

May 14, 2019 // 0 Comments

Beginning May 22, in partnership with the New York Historical Society, the DC 37 Citizenship Committee and DC 37 Education Fund will offer free classes to help union members and their families prepare for the naturalization exam and interview process to receive U.S. citizenship. Classes will be held on Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m. for 12 sessions, starting May 22 at DC 37 headquarters, 125 Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan. All classes are taught in English and available to permanent residents who are eligible for US citizenship. Please click here to register [More...]