local 420

Union’s Caribbean Heritage Starts Its Fifteenth Year

June 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The union celebrated the history and heritage of people of the Caribbean diaspora June 3 at the annual Caribbean Heritage ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I am excited to mark the Committee’s 15th year at DC 37,” said Committee Chair and founder Carmen Charles, president of New York City Hospitals Employees Local 420. With lilting calypso and reggae played on steel drums in the background, the audience enjoyed traditional patties and sorrel, a beverage brewed from hibiscus flowers and herbs. They purveyed art and artifacts that traced the history of peoples stolen from Africa, enslaved as free labor on Caribbean sugar cane, banana, spice and cotton plantations from Antigua to Trinidad. Their story includes mass freedom revolts in Haiti, Jamaica and the Americas and includes the historic presidency of Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Committee co-chair and [More...]

Union Wins on New Full-Time Positions at H+H Facility

May 14, 2019 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS In an ongoing fight to protect jobs and benefits, the union settled a group grievance to convert nine per diem, hourly and part-time workers at the Susan B. McKinney long-term care facility in Brooklyn to permanent, full-time positions. “These members were hired as part timers but management assigned extra hours and full time work schedules from day one without full time benefits or the opportunity to become full time NYC Health+Hospital employees,” said Local 420 President Carmen Charles, who represents the eight Patient Care Technicians and one Housekeeper the union filed the group claim for. “To add insult to injury,” Charles said, “McKinney management would hire new people off the street as full-time employees, without considering these workers who were already on staff.” “Many of the workers felt they were overlooked because the nursing director [More...]

Women’s History Event at the Union, March 15

March 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Sisters and brothers in today’s labor movement are invited to lean in at a special International Women’s Month event presented by the DC 37 Women’s Committee as Local 420 President Carmen Charles hosts an evening of conversation with Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP NY Conference, on Friday March 15 at union headquarters from 6 to 8 p.m. Ms. Dukes blazed trails in New York suburbs fighting poverty, housing discrimination and racial bias. She cracked the glass ceiling as the first woman president of a statewide chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and was the first black woman to head NYC OTB. Ms. Dukes is a longtime ally and advocate on issues important to DC 37 and labor unions. Unabashed and unapologetic, Hazel Dukes is a vibrant octogenarian who continues to fight for access to better education, quality [More...]

A Generation Rises at Women’s Leadership Graduation

February 28, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS With a packed audience of family and mentors to cheer them on, the Woman’s Leadership Academy graduated a diverse group of 17 working women from a dozen locals, DC 37’s first class of future labor leaders, at a Feb. 23 ceremony celebrating the milestone event. “One hundred women in Congress, the Women’s marches, and now you graduates are poised for leadership– these are exciting times for women!” said Executive Director Henry Garrido. “Leadership means fighting for what you believe to be right. This union is leading the way fighting for better pay, for funding for libraries, for public hospitals and vital public services.” Garrido along with Education Fund Administrator Diallo Shabazz brought the AFSCME women’s leadership training to DC 37 in 2018. Chosen from dozens of applicants, the 17 WLA participants enrolled in an intensive six-month [More...]

Union Helps Homeless Member Start Over

February 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Morris Johnson lived in two rooms in a rambling old house he shared with longtime friends that he considered family. “We lived like close family. I paid my $550 rent every month,” said Johnson, a Local 420 Institutional Aide since 2005. The house where Johnson lived was in an East New York neighborhood bordered by elevated train lines, just down the hill from the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Brooklyn’s Evergreen Cemetery. It was Johnson’s home for more than a decade. Until it wasn’t. “I’m blindsided,” said Johnson, 65, who bikes to work each day at the Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene in Long Island City. “I came home to find the sheriff locked the house. The family– a mother and her three grown children — cut out,” Johnson said. In January the house was foreclosed, and seized by the bank. “They never said a word to me about their [More...]

Members Give the Needy a Thanksgiving to Remember

November 30, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS A group of charitable Elmhurst Hospital employees organized their 10th annual holiday Turkey Drive raffle drawing to give 140 families a Thanksgiving to remember. “We sold raffle tickets and gave away a MacBook Air, a flat screen TV, an iPad, and gift cards—things people want–to raise funds to giveaway what families need because without our help these families could not afford a traditional Thanksgiving,” said Melvin Morgan, a Mortuary Technician, who is the Local 420 chapter chair at Elmhurst Hospital. Morgan is one of four dedicated NYC Health+Hospital workers, who for the last decade have made the Turkey Drive an annual feature at Elmhurst Hospital. They stepped up to give back to some of the neediest families in Queens. Local 420 members Robert Isaac, the chief shop steward, Darrian McCray and Morgan worked with Christopher Johnson, a plumber at [More...]

Latino Heritage: Focus on Activism

October 20, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The midterm elections and Hurricane Maria were the focus of the union’s annual celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. DC 37 kicked off its 26th annual celebration of Latino heritage and history with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at union headquarters on Sept. 12. After opening remarks by Isabel Figueroa, former vice president of Local 420 and a DC 37 retiree, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido spoke of the Sept. 20 first anniversary of Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico. He called for economic and environmental justice for the island. “We renew our commitment to push elected officials to be true to their word,” Garrido said. “But being good to Puerto Rico is not just showing up to a parade or a hashtag in your Twitter. It’s voting and pushing for what the island needs now. The people deserve it and have earned it.” On Sept. 14, Local 420 held [More...]

Members Make Strides at Annual Breast Cancer Walk

October 17, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Taking steps and making strides is a large contingent of DC 37 members in Locals 372, 420, and 924 who support the annual “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk, a 3.5 mile trek through Manhattan’s Central Park on Oct. 14. “We come together to make a difference and show our support for the women and men battling breast cancer,” said Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I (in photo at right, with Executive Vice President Donald Nesbit), who chairs the union’s Health and Disability Advisory Committee. The union walked with tens of thousands of volunteers in New York City to raise awareness and donations for the American Cancer Society, to honor the memory of dead mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, coworkers and friends who succumbed to breast cancer, and to support women and men who are cancer survivors. The pink-clad participants help proclaim October [More...]

Caribbean Heritage Celebration Highlights Politics and Citizenship

June 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The contributions and heritage of Caribbean expats were celebrated June 5 at the union’s annual Caribbean Heritage ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event was co-sponsored by Locals 420 and 768. “Like never before we are hearing from the Trump Administration and social media an increasingly amount of anti-union, anti-immigrant, anti-women speech,” said Committee Chair Carmen Charles, a DC 37 vice president and president of New York City Hospitals Employees Local 420. “Such vitriolic speech is irresponsible and unacceptable. I urge you to stand with your union against anti-immigrant policies. We — and all immigrants — have value and bring so much to New York City and to America.” “Take advantage of the union benefit and take steps to secure U.S. citizenship for yourself and your family members,” Charles said. She invited attendees to register for the [More...]

Heroic Local 420 Member Helps Deliver Baby in Hospital Emergency

February 1, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Although delivering babies is not part of his job description, Woodhull Hospital Service Aide William Vega says he just did what came naturally when he saw a pregnant woman and a male companion getting off a bus near the hospital one morning last fall. “I heard screams and saw she was in distress,” said Vega, a 16-year New York City Health+Hospitals employee and Local 420 shop steward. “Through the fence I saw him trying to carry her, to hold her up. I ran into the lobby, grabbed a wheelchair and ran to help them.” The birthing began just 10 feet from the hospital’s entrance. “I rushed her straight to Labor and Delivery on the 7th floor,” Vega said. “As the elevator opened on seven, the baby’s head came out. The mother delivered right in front of the nurses’ station. Everyone pitched in.” Vega was honored for his quick action at a hospital [More...]