government

Local 1549 Members are Ready to Repel a Right-wing Effort to Kill Off Public Employee Unions

February 14, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Local 1549 members met to prepare a fight back against the efforts of right-wing groups to destroy public service unions and dismantle government services. During the conference held on Feb. 3, union leaders briefed members about the U.S. Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME. This case threatens to financially starve public sector unions by allowing workers who are not members to receive services for free. “We face perhaps the greatest attack in the history of unions,” Local 1549 Executive Vice President Alma Roper said. “We need to stand up and be strong.” Ralph Palladino, the local’s 2nd vice president, spoke of the threat posed by the right-wing network and the efforts of the Trump administration and the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress to deeply scale back funding for Medicaid and other services. After passing a new tax law that provides major cuts [More...]

Building Political Power

February 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO President Donald J. Trump’s tax plan is a dagger aimed at the heart of New York and at working families across the country. Make no mistake, this is also an attack on public employees and the services they provide. By increasing the deficit by more than $1 trillion, the plan is allowing Republicans to argue that the federal government needs to impose deep cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These reactionary politicians in Washington, D.C. are dead-set on shredding the country’s safety net. They see this plan as the culmination of a decades-long project to roll back these services. The threat is immediate — and local. For example, here in our city, our public hospitals, already facing deep reductions in federal funding, anticipate additional cuts. Our retirement security is at risk as Republicans target Social Security and Medicare for [More...]

A Progressive Housing Plan

December 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that the city is on track to build and protect 200,000 affordable homes by 2022 — two years ahead of schedule — and is taking on a new goal of 300,000 affordable apartments by 2026. The city has secured 77,651 affordable homes, enough for more than 200,000 New Yorkers, since de Blasio took office, according to the mayor’s office. The city also boasts more housing for low-income New Yorkers than ever before, and more protections to keep New Yorkers in their homes. “We are building an engine that will keep families in safe, decent and affordable homes for decades to come,” the mayor said. “We will keep this a city for seniors, veterans, working families and the middle class.” All this is welcome news, indeed — and more evidence of the mayor’s focus on making the city livable for all of its residents. Back in January 2014, the mayor [More...]

Why We Must All Fight for the Dream Act

December 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ROBERT B. REICH By repealing DACA — Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals — Trump has endangered these young immigrants and the economic security of America. In 2012, the Obama administration created DACA as a temporary way to address the needs of young people who came to America as infants or toddlers, and know no other country. To apply and qualify for DACA, these young people had to risk entering the system by giving their identifying information. Once approved, they were granted two years of “deferred action” on deportation, with the promise that they could reapply every two years indefinitely. This allowed “dreamers” to go to college, get a job, and pay taxes without fear of deportation. DACA was never perfect, but for 800,000 immigrant youth it meant freedom from fear and an opportunity to fully contribute to the country they were raised in. But now these young [More...]

New City Program Places Homeless with Host Families

November 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES An innovative new city program backed by the union will help the homeless to leave their shelters to live with a host family. The city will run the program through its Pathways to Housing service, which addresses homelessness by combining housing with treatment for mental and physical health, substance abuse, education and employment. The new Pathway Home Program will encourage homeless individuals and families to live with friends or family members (host families). Host families will receive $1,200 to $1,800 a month in compensation, depending on their household size. In October, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Commissioner Steven Banks of the Dept. of Social Services sent a joint letter to the union’s members about the Pathway Home Program. The union is partnering with the city to alert members who might be interested in serving as a host family. The [More...]

Legislative Conference Explores Critical Issues Facing the Union

November 3, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO The fight to keep pay loans out of New York, the financial crisis at the city’s public hospitals, the federal budget’s impact on New York City and the effect of a ruling by U.S. Supreme Court next year in the Janus v. AFSCME case were topics of discussion at DC 37’s 42nd Annual Legislative Conference. “Even though pay day loans are banned here, it doesn’t mean they’re not trying to get back in,” said Assemblywomen Yuh-Line Niou, who represents Manhattan’s 65th District. Niou was one of the speakers at the Oct. 28 conference at DC 37 headquarters. She acknowledged the work the union has done to protect union members against pay loans and pointed to New York State as a model for other states to follow in the fight to protect consumers. “DC 37 has been on the front lines fighting to protect New Yorkers against predatory lending,” Niou said. Sally [More...]

The Right-wing Bradley Foundation Plots to Destroy Unions

October 13, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES A right-wing network of foundations and front groups has spent decades trying to wipe out unions. One of those anti-union foundations is the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. A few years ago, the foundation helped Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker successfully attack public employees and withstand a union-led recall effort. Walker’s chief targets were the teachers union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, DC 37’s national union. Today, the “Wisconsin Model” — whose core goals are weakening collective bargaining, defunding unions, restricting workplace rights, promoting school vouchers, and backing right-to-work legislation — provides the blueprint for anti-labor and anti-government initiatives around the country. “We are up against a conservative network that is sinking millions and millions of dollars into [More...]

Union Activists Demand More Aid for Puerto Rico

October 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Union activists from District Council 37, 32 BJ SEIU, and the Communication Workers of America joined elected officials at a rally at Foley Square in downtown Manhattan, demanding President Donald J. Trump and the federal government step up their recovery operations in Puerto Rico and cancel the island’s $72 billion debt. “We can’t afford to waste any more time,” said DC 37 and Local 1549 president Eddie Rodriguez at the lunchtime rally, across the street from Federal Plaza. “Our brothers and sisters on the island desperately need our help now.” Like many Puerto Ricans throughout the United States, Rodriguez has been unable to contact family members who live on the island. Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma and destroyed the island’s power grid. The Oct. 4 rally was organized by Vamos4PR, a coalition of union and community [More...]

Justice for Dreamers

October 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Many of us were morally outraged by President Donald J. Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA protects undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation and allows them to work and study here. The day after Trump’s Sept. 5 announcement, I joined New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorneys general of Massachusetts and Washington, young immigrants, nonprofit groups and private companies at a press conference to denounce the repeal. At the press conference, Schneiderman announced that he and eleven other state attorneys general would contest the Trump administration in court, charging that the DACA shutdown violated federal executive policy-making rules. Many immigrants understandably felt Trump’s decision to phase out DACA disrespected their community as well as [More...]

A Fair Tax on the Wealthy

September 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Our city is engaged in a vibrant public discussion about the crisis at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. For the general public, the injury of dozens of people in the derailment of a subway in Manhattan in July underscored that the crisis is a matter of public safety. Riders are also fed up with high fares and delays. The MTA’s track signals date from a century ago, when the subway system was established, and the constant malfunctioning from this aging equipment causes delays. Straphangers are angry about the uncomfortable commutes in overcrowded subway trains and the crumbling infrastructure, including deteriorating stations. Elected officials and public transportation advocates are looking for solutions. We fully support a progressive plan that Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled in August. The de Blasio plan offers a sensible way to deal with short- and [More...]