community

Community Activists and DC 37 Push for Universal School Lunch

May 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO “I think we’re missing an opportunity to use available federal funding to make school lunches free,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said when he was on the campaign trail in 2013. As mayor, he’s made universal pre-kindergarten available and is pushing for free day care for 3-year-olds. But he has not yet delivered on a campaign pledge to provide universal free lunch. To remind him of his campaign promise, members of DC 37, the United Federation of Teachers, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, as well as public school parents, students and other community residents took to the steps of City Hall on Monday. They urged him to include $20 million in the city’s budget for free school lunches for all New York City public school students. Board of Education Employees Local 372 president Shaun D. Francois I recalled helping needy kids when he worked in [More...]

Library Advocates Gear Up for Friday Rally

May 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Library supporters are gearing up for a rally on Friday to press the City Council to fund seven-day service and capital projects. The rally on the steps of City Hall–supported by DC 37 and the advocacy group Invest in Libraries–is scheduled for 10 a.m. The theme of the coalition’s campaign is, “Invest in libraries, Invest in All New Yorkers!” The group has two demands: an $24 million increase for daily operating to ensure that every City Council district has a library open seven days a week, and an additional $150 million to continue addressing $1.1 billion in capital needs. Last year, the city’s three public library system received support from the City Council to guarantee a permanent funding floor for six-day service. Now, the library systems seek additional funding to meet the public’s demand for seven-day service. The coalition is carrying [More...]

Unions Mobilize on May Day Against Crackdown on Immigrant and Worker Rights

May 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Calling for the protection of immigrant and worker rights, DC 37 activists joined protesters in a march on May Day Demonstrators gathered for an evening rally on May 1 at Foley Square in lower Manhattan, before marching to Union Square to join another rally. During the protests, police arrested dozens of demonstrators. President Donald J. Trump was the subject of ire at the Foley Square rally, where speakers condemned his crackdown on immigrants, attacks on worker protections, and supporting policies that harm working families. “We will not allow him to stomp on the rights of immigrants, workers, Muslims, women and Jews,” Local 375 member Liz Eastman said. Demonstrators held placards with such messages as “New Yorkers for Immigrant Justice,” “No Ban, No Wall, No Raids,” “Resist Trump,” and “Defund ICE,” referring to the federal agency charged [More...]

DC 37 and Community Allies Fight Trump’s Public Housing Budget Cuts

April 21, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO If the Trump administration has its way and slashes $6 billion from the budget of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, members like Mary Baez and La’Nette Murphy will have to continue to wait as the backlog of repairs at their New York City Housing Authority apartments gets thicker. More than half of the funds to maintain NYCHA apartments–the largest housing authority in the country–comes from HUD. The proposed budget cut would also terminate the Community Development Block Grant program. The grants help fund programs like Meals on Wheels, which delivers healthy meals to the homebound and elderly. Baez is one of the more than 15,000 DC 37 members who live in apartments managed by NYCHA. The Local 768 member has lived at the Alfred E. Smith Houses in the Lower East Side for 40 years and remembers the good old days. Back then, same day repair [More...]

Commemorating Ten Years of Fighting Gun Violence

January 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE WILLIAMS Harlem Mothers SAVE, founded by Local 299 President Jackie Rowe-Adams, marked its 10th anniversary in Harlem on Nov. 10. The anti-gun violence support group honored the newly appointed New York Police Dept. Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “The packed room was a sea of blue, we had so much support from the NYPD, who stand with us on getting guns off our streets,” said Rowe-Adams, who founded the nonprofit organization after she lost two young sons in two separate acts of gun violence. Harlem Mothers SAVE provides counseling, education and victim services; their professionally-trained first responders are called upon to help grieving parents of shooting victims in New York City. They support Sandy Hook School shooting victims killed in Connecticut four years ago. Feisty and undaunted, Rowe–Adams challenges the National Rifle Association “to consider how [More...]

A Review of 2016 (Part 1): Building a Dynamic Union

January 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES In 2016, DC 37 advanced its mission to become a more dynamic and grassroots-oriented union.Despite the anti-union era in the country, DC 37 made significant strides by recruiting new activists while strengthening its workplace presence, deepening ties to the community and developing more political clout. “The transformation of our union will take a long time,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “But so far, we have made a lot of progress, and next year we will continue down this path. We are talking about a change in culture at DC 37.” Union activists and elected leaders had a busy year in 2016. Workers at the City University of New York participated in fight-back campaign to win a new contract. Members helped block Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to cut $300 million in state support for the city’s public health-care system and nearly $500 million [More...]

A New Approach to Labor-Community Alliances

January 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

By RAUL RODRIGUEZ A great labor union stands up for its members, for all workers, and for the communities in which working families live. That’s the clear, simple, driving principle behind Executive Director Henry Garrido’s push earlier this year to create a DC 37 Office of Community Partnership. DC 37 has a rich history with, and within, New York City communities. We have long championed programs meant to lift all New Yorkers out of poverty, bring equality to education, and keep our neighborhoods safe. But at a time in our city and country when the gap between the haves and the have-nots has exploded into a Grand Canyon of economic inequality, it is more important than ever for DC 37 to help build a progressive agenda for New York by uniting with (among others) civic organizations, ministers, students, health-care advocates, seniors and the hardworking men and women who struggle to [More...]

Unions and Community Activists Pressure Cuomo to Sign Safety-Net Legislation

December 20, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS As the December 31 deadline fast approaches, a coalition of health-care activists, elected leaders and working men and women call for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would give safety-net hospitals a fairer share of funds to care for the neediest New Yorkers. “Local 1549 and DC 37 have been on the frontlines fighting for decades to preserve and protect public hospitals in New York,” said Eddie Rodriguez, president of Local 1549 and District Council 37. “We urge all union members, members of the community and patients to tell the governor to sign this critical safety-net legislation that would increase funds for public hospitals and insure that our communities continue to receive vital health-care services,” Rodriquez said. The grassroots coalition held a press conference at Harlem Hospital Nov. 15, urging the governor to enact the enhanced safety-net [More...]

DC 37 Works with a Coalition to Push for Universal Free Lunch in Public Schools

November 17, 2016 // 0 Comments

Sign the petition! Call on Mayor de Blaiso to ensure a free healthy lunch for all NYC schoolchildren! By ALFREDO ALVARADO What do schools in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit and Dallas offer their students that New York City does not? The answer: a free hot lunch. In those cities, students and their parents are not required to fill out forms to verify their incomes and eligibility to receive a free lunch. All students are eligible and, more importantly, are free from being singled out by other students for eating a free lunch. To address the issue and make sure every student receives a hot lunch, a coalition of food activists in New York City is advocating for universal free school lunch. “In our school lunchrooms, many students don’t get on line because they are afraid to get caught eating ‘free-free’ as it’s known in our world,” explained Aminata Abdouramane, a Lunch 4 [More...]

Local 372 Pays Respect to Hempstead School Crossing Guard Killed by a Speeding Truck

November 7, 2016 // 0 Comments

Local 372 School Crossing Guards attended the memorial service for Hempstead, Long Island, School Crossing Guard Virginia Leviner, who died on the job on Oct. 28 after being hit by a speeding 14-wheeler truck. Known to the community where she worked as “Miss Carol,” she was struck at the intersection of South Franklin and Groove streets in Hempstead while performing her job to protect schoolchildren crossing the street. Leviner, 67, worked at the intersection for 28 years. The service was held Nov. 3 at Antioch Baptist Church in Hempstead. “It was important for us to go to Long Island and pay our respects to Miss Carol and her family,” said Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I. “This is a reminder of how dangerous this job can [More...]