government

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...]

Public Service Workers on the Front Lines of Hurricane Harvey

September 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

By NAMITA WAGHRAY and CLYDE WEISS During what may be the worst natural disaster in Texas history, public service workers and first responders represented by DC 37’s national union are making heroic efforts to keep people alive, restore essential services and protect property. With at least eight people reported dead so far from Hurricane and now Tropical Storm Harvey – and with flooding in Houston already at historic proportions – stories of courage by state and local government employees will continue to emerge in the coming days. This we know so far about the work members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are doing on the front lines: On Saturday, Aug. 26, hardworking members of AFSCME Texas Corrections based in Angleton, Beaumont and Huntsville evacuated approximately 4,500 prisoners from three prison facilities as a precaution when [More...]

Parks Worker Facing Deportation Released from Detention

August 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Jose Molina is back on the job restoring Bronx ball fields for the New York City Parks and Recreation Dept. after the Local 983 member was detained almost a month after reporting to Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza. Four years of liberty ended for no apparent reason, his lawyers said, after Molina dropped off his passport July 13 and told his deportation officer of his next court date in May 2018. He was moved to the Varick Street federal detention center for deportation. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido , Local 983 President Joe Puleo, City Council members Carlos Menchaca and Fernando Cabrera, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and other elected officials and immigration advocates called for Molina’s immediate release. Molina was freed on Aug. 8. Molina, a dedicated Associate Parks Service Worker, is glad to clear another legal hurdle in his fight [More...]

“I Look Forward to Helping Union Members on the Job”

June 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

Stacey Peyton, Records Access Officer, Local 1359 Do you remember that Verizon wireless commercial? The one where the guy would say “Can you hear me now?” And he would have millions of people behind him. That visual, all of the folks behind this one man asking if he can be heard, has always stuck out in my mind. To me, that perfectly represents what it is like being part of a labor union. It was 27 years ago that I started working at the NYS Homes and Community Renewal Office of Rent Administration. My coworkers and I process requests for access to public records about apartment buildings, rental histories, and anything else that may be necessary for people looking into where they live or may be considering moving to. This information is essential in many cases to help keep a safe, clean, and comfortable roof over the heads of New Yorkers. Together with a staff of 12 people who I [More...]

Local 371 Expects Help for Workers from New Chief of Administration for Children’s Services

May 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By MIKE LEE The new commissioner for the Administration for Children’s Services is ready to work with the union in helping the embattled agency, and he promised new money in the mayor’s executive budget for additional Child Protective Specialists, members of SSEU Local 371. These workers endure low pay and heavy caseloads, while doing some of the most dangerous jobs in New York City: investigating cases of child abuse and monitoring at-risk families. ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell took over the agency in March after the resignation of Gladys Carrion, who left in the wake of high-profile child deaths, most notably Zymere Perkins in September 2016. Hansell has a distinguished three- decade career in public service. Before being named by Mayor de Blasio to head ACS, Hansell worked for President Barack Obama at the Dept. of Health and Human Services and also served as chief of [More...]

Constitutional Mischief

May 20, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES As right-wing interests push for a constitutional convention in New York, a similar move is afoot around the country. But that effort has a different target: the U.S. Constitution. Whether the goal is to change a state constitution or the nation’s constitution, the risk is the same: Government services along with our personal liberties, civil rights and right to bargain collectively could be put on the chopping block. The anti-government American Legislative Exchange Council is working with state legislators on resolutions calling for a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the states can convene a constitutional convention when two-thirds of the country’s 50 states pass resolutions in support of a Convention of the States. Supporters have managed to get the backing of 28 legislatures. Right-wing [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...]