District Council 37

Head Start Workers Ratify Agreement that Provides for Pay Equity with Public-School Teachers

November 4, 2019 // 1 Comment

Story and Photos by G.L. TYLER DC 37 members employed by Head Start recently ratified a three-year contractual agreement that will allow certified teachers in the federally-funded program to earn $68,652 by 2021. The Head Start educators, members of Local 95, join unionized day-care teachers represented by Local 205 – who ratified their contract agreement this past summer — in becoming the highest paid early childhood educators in the country.  The Head Start workers approved their contract Oct. 23, by a 162-26 vote. The contract will bring the salaries of Head Start teachers into line with their counterparts in the city’s public schools. The contract calls for a retroactive 1.77 percent wage hike dating from Feb 1. It also provides a ratification bonus of $1,000 for non-certified Head Start employees. Under Head Start practices, the program’s centers must have a lead [More...]

Agreement Provides Pay Equity for Head Start Educators with Public-School Teachers

October 4, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The pay of more than 2,650 Head Start teachers will be boosted to match the salary of public-school teachers under a tentative agreement by the city, union and the Head Start Sponsoring Board Council. The agreement, announced Thursday, affects workers at more than 200 centers throughout New York City. It follows a similar deal reached in July for 4,000 early childhood educators represented by Local 205. “Head Start is critical to educating our youngest New Yorkers and uplifting entire families,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With this agreement, we’re ensuring our kids have the very best teachers during their most critical stages of development.” The tentative agreement runs through Jan. 31, 2022. The agreement requires the approval of Head Start workers in Local 95. “This agreement once again demonstrates that by working together, great things can [More...]

Public-Sector Training Partnerships Boost Job Satisfaction, Productivity and Unions

October 4, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES All too often, employers set up training programs without the help of those who know the best way to improve the workplace — workers and their unions. A new report from the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, highlights the key ingredients of successful public sector training partnerships between unions and governments. “The benefits of public sector training programs are clear: Workers gain the skills they need to be successful in good, middle-class jobs, while city and state employers are able to obtain and retain the highly trained, diverse workforce they need,” said Karla Walter, director of employment policy at the Center for American Progress and author of the report. She added: “Moreover, training partnerships provide a tangible example of the benefits of unionization to workers and thereby help to sustain public [More...]

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...]

EMS Workers Demand Fairness and Equality

September 26, 2019 // 1 Comment

Hundreds of first responders, members of DC 37’s local unions representing Emergency Medical Services workers at the Fire Department of the City of New York, rallied for equal pay and comparable treatment at a news conference on the steps of City Hall on Sept 25. They were joined by Uniformed EMS Officers Union FDNY Local 3621 President Vincent Variale; Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY Local 2507 President Oren Barzilay; Uniformed EMS Officers President Joseph Pataky; DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido; labor activists and elected officials to demand wage parity and support legislation that would require the FDNY to annually report the number of resignations of EMS workers. FDNY’s EMS first responders answered to close to 80 percent of the 1.8 million calls received by the FDNY last year, providing emergency medical care in the midst of life-threatening [More...]

UNION STRONG, UNION PROUD: Labor Day Parade 2019

September 9, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Thousands of union members and supporters marched up Fifth Avenue Sept. 7 to show the world that they are working together to build worker power in New York York City. Throughout the day, midtown Manhattan thundered with the sounds of labor unity and activism. DC 37 members filled 48th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. for more than two hours before marching behind a banner that declared, “Never Quit!” Bolstered by the recent, historic unification of DC 1707’s private sector workers and DC 37’s public employees, members chanted, danced and celebrated worker pride. Led by Executive Director Henry Garrido, DC 37 marched as a single mass, a defiant force showing its enhanced power. In what has become a tradition in recent years, members took the opportunity to boo loudly as they passed Trump Tower. More than a dozen elected officials stopped by in solidarity to pay [More...]

Stronger Together: DC 37, 1707 Unite

September 9, 2019 // 2 Comments

Private Sector Members Add to Union Power By GREGORY N. HEIRES and SARA HAAS New York labor history is being made this fall as District Council 1707, which represents 20,000 private-sector members, joins forces with District Council 37, the city’s largest public employees union. As a result, the six unions that made up DC 1707 — Locals 95, 107, 205, 215, 253, and 389 — will comprise a new, private-sector division  within DC 37, bringing DC 37’s total membership to 150,000. Each local union’s structure and leadership remain unchanged. “We are delighted to welcome these hardworking members, who provide vital services in the private sector to the city’s largest union of public employees,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “This unification signals a new era in the fight for workers’ rights in New York.” “In unifying with our brothers and sisters at DC [More...]

Summer School and Sisterhood

September 4, 2019 // 2 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Women comprise more than half of DC 37’s membership. And one of our union’s highest priorities is to support the ascent of women within the ranks of leadership and activism. Toward that end, a contingent of DC 37 women attended a week-long boot camp,  hosted and coordinated by the City University of New York School of Labor and Urban Studies, at Hofstra University,  , where they honed their union-building skills. “It really motivated me to continue encouraging as many people as possible to get involved in the labor movement,” said Dept. of Education Employees Local 372 member Trina Prior. The DC 37 activists who attended are all graduates of the Women’s Leadership Academy, a program initiated by our national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).  At DC 37, the program is named in honor of former Executive [More...]

Public Support for Unions Continues to Surge

August 30, 2019 // 0 Comments

Labor unions are continuing to gain momentum, with the latest proof coming from a new Gallup poll, which shows that 64 percent of Americans approve of unions, a near 50-year high. More and more people, regardless of political party, view unions as essential to levelling the playing field, providing economic security and unrigging a system that’s for too long favored the wealthy and powerful. Recent union momentum isn’t just a passing fad. It’s the result of workers facing the facts about how much more powerful a union can make them, and of a broader desire for the voice on the job that only comes with being a union member. “Despite relentless anti-union attacks from wealthy corporations, more and more people recognize that unions are a force for progress and national strength, improving the lives of all working families and their communities,” said President Lee Saunders, [More...]

Paid Family Leave: A Dad’s Joyful Bonding

August 26, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Research Scientist Michael D. Zboray is among the more than 1,000 union members who are taking advantage of the new paid family leave benefit that went into effect at the beginning of the year. Zboray combined his vacation and sick days with his family leave time after the birth of his daughter, Polina, in January. “My wife Anna and I decided it was very important for me to take advantage of the benefit,” said Zboray, a member of New York City Police Department Civilian Unit Local 3778. “Having a baby, of course, changes your life. If someone were to ask me about the benefit, I would absolutely recommend it.” He has now returned to work and is taking days off periodically for the rest of the year. Zboray said he enjoys the flexibility of the plan, which allows you use the leave in one bloc or spread it out over the course of a year. The union won paid family [More...]