never quit

“You have to help and you have to heal. You have to give kind words to help people through the day.”

May 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

Clerical Associate 3 Olivia Crum-Owens, Local 1549 Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera I wanted to be like Nurse Hardy on the TV show General Hospital, so I enrolled in SEEK, a jobs program, at Hunter-Bellevue to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. I did well, but nursing was not like TV. I became an Office Aide at Harlem Hospital in 1972. From my very first day, I knew my rights because I took time to read the contract. Back then union dues were 50 cents a week. The Local 1549 president and someone from Wells Fargo Bank would come to our worksite every two weeks to collect union dues. Today we pay more than the $3 a month we did back then, but I still believe union dues are worth every penny. I transferred to Elmhurst Hospital in 1978; this way I didn’t have to take three trains just to get to work. A coworker once thought she could block me from using a certain bathroom. She told me it was [More...]

“Being in a labor union means protecting an important American institution and the middle class.”

May 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

Sr. Landscape Architect Ricardo Hinckle, Local 375 As a Senior Landscape Architect, I supervise a staff of seven others, making sure that their projects are completed properly, safely and on time. Our goal is to deliver nothing but the best for the people of this city. The work that we do is a privilege. By designing the city’s parks and playgrounds, we provide the community essential places where they can enjoy time with their families and friends outdoors. In 2002, then-newly elected New York City Mayor Bloomberg appointed Adrian Benepe as new Commissioner for the New York City Parks Dept. Benepe came into office with the goal of changing the way things were run. I had already been at the Capital Projects Division within the Parks Dept. for eight years. My coworkers and I, members of Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375, felt that things were already run well and the threat of [More...]

“My Union is My Passion. We Stand Tall for All. I Do What I Enjoy Most–Helping Others”

March 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

Shawn Gray, Service Aide, Local 420 I believe in working for change. But in order for people to change, they have to start with self. I was raised by my mom in Queensbridge Houses. In my Park Slope North community, I volunteer to work to empower young men, to give the youth the tools I didn’t necessarily have growing up. I want them to avoid the mistakes I made. I let them know they can be leaders and think for themselves; they can rise above their environment. I am a Service Aide for the Health and Hospitals Cook Chill plant in Brooklyn. We are the main kitchen and have the very important work of preparing and delivering meals to all public hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities. We prepare over 100,000 meals a day for patients. Our food nourishes sick people to recovery. We maintain strict standards of cleanliness and food safety to avoid food-borne illnesses and [More...]

“Recreation Centers Strengthen Communities.”

January 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

I am a Recreation Supervisor at St. Mary’s in the Bronx. I’ve worked for the Parks and Recreation Department since 1999. My job is to make sure the center meets the needs of the community. As a kid I frequented the rec center in Morningside Heights. I have lasting memories of playing sports there and hanging with my friends. We built lifetime friendships and had good role models. Those experiences define me, so when I was figuring out what I wanted to do it helped me choose a career in public service. People of all ages—from 18 months to seniors—come to St. Mary’s and feel welcome and safe. They learn to swim, dance and play sports. We run basketball and billiards tournaments and our dance program has about 450 kids enrolled. We offer free after-school programs and field trips for youth under 17. We offer a range of low-cost memberships for adults, seniors and people with [More...]

“We are equally despised by the landlords and tenants. We must be doing something right!”

January 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

I kind of fell into public service. I started out as an attorney at the state Department of Labor to get my loans deferred. You will find that a majority of African Americans who graduate from law school end up in the public sector. There are no jobs in the private sector. I have worked for the state since 1994. I worked at the Department of Labor until 2000. Now I am at the Office of Rent Administration at the Division of Housing and Community Renewal. We handle cases involving rent control and rent stabilization. There is only one place where landlords and tenants can go—and that’s here. People come here with complaints. They may be overcharged for rent. The landlord might be denying them their succession rights to remain in an apartment after the lease holder died. After rent administrators issue an order, we review it to make sure everything is accurate. We write our decision [More...]

“A Garden of Unexpected and Overwhelming Beauty”

January 1, 2017 // 0 Comments

Walk from the parking lot to enter Wave Hill, and it’s like ‘Wow!’ You see the expanse of the Palisades, the Hudson, and a garden of unexpected and overwhelming beauty. Gardening is all about the layers — layers of plants, shrubs, and trees. Layers of textures and colors, flowers, leaves, bark. As one species fades another blooms and that occurs spring, summer, fall and winter—there is perpetual flowering. The Englewood Cliffs across the river frame a backdrop and now with the beautiful fall color it adds to what we do. As one of seven Gardeners at Wave Hill, we each maintain about 4 acres of the 28-acre grounds. I care for three major areas including the Visitors Center, pruning, mulching, planting, and composting. I drive a tractor, a bobcat, I fix machines. I am the go-to guy — if it needs fixing, it comes to me. I used to work in a high-end bike shop as a mechanic. I [More...]

The Soul of the NYPD: A Rabbi for the Ages

December 19, 2016 // 0 Comments

This piece originally appeared as an editorial in the New York Daily News on Dec. 18.  Rabbi Kass is a member of  DC  37 who has served on the DC 37 Jewish Heritage Committee for many years. Marvel at the collective fortitude and bravery of the NYPD — and then thank a moral force behind the force, slight as ever in his brass-buttoned uniform. For 50 years, Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass has served as an NYPD chaplain, and is today chief chaplain, leading an interfaith nine-clergy squad that provides constant support and succor to officers assigned to confront the very worst of humanity one day and show up again for work the next. In a ceremony on Friday before the entirety of NYPD officialdom, Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill promoted Kass with an unprecedented-for-a-chaplain third star in recognition of his half-century of service ministering, as all police chaplains do, to officers of all [More...]

Local 1455 Members Prepare the Street Guide for Runners in the New York City Marathon

November 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Days before an international crowd gathers to run the race, Dept. of Transportation night crews hit the road to mark the course that guides runners safely through city streets for the annual New York City Marathon, Sunday, Nov. 6. Crews of Local 1455 Traffic Device Maintainers work with the New York City Road Runners Club and the city Dept. of Parks and Recreation to paint the street line of the world-famous 26.2-mile foot race. The thin blue line points runners to the finish. “We have about a dozen TDMs assigned to paint the New York City Marathon line,” said President Mike DeMarco. “Streets are full of traffic the nights we’re working and the crews are moving along at about 20 miles an hour. We make sure impatient drivers don’t cut us off. This assignment coordinates TDMs in advance trucks and the night-liner spray truck to hit all five boroughs until [More...]

“If you are working for just a paycheck, you are going to get burned out.”

October 1, 2016 // 0 Comments

Jill Campbell, Child Protective Specialist, Social Services Employees Union Local 371 Photo: Mike Lee I work for the Administration for Childrens’ Services. I am a Child Protective Specialist in Brooklyn. I have been with the agency for eight years. My job is to ensure that the children of New York City are safe on a daily basis. I do investigations on child abuse and neglect cases. I wake up in the morning. I say my prayers and I ask God to give me the strength to help me with whatever task is put in my hands that day. This is what drives me to what I do on a daily basis. Currently I am part of the FAR unit, which stands for Family Assessment Response and is a new initiative by the agency. This is a new type of engagement with families. While we still assess safety each day, it is the way we work with the families that is different. Before going out, we call them for an appointment [More...]

“I hear sad stories. I’m glad to lend a hand.”

September 27, 2016 // 0 Comments

Vivian Rosario, Family Assistant, Board of Education Employees Local 372 Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera At the shelters, we have people from all over the city and from all over the country and some undocumented people too. I think that’s because the services we provide for homeless people in New York City are very good. People want to blame Mayor de Blasio for the increase in homelessness, but I think the services we provide has something to do with it. People know in New York; they can get help, so they come here. I work for the Dept. of Education and I’m assigned to two shelters, the Concourse Residence and the Fordham Family Residence in the Bronx. As a Family Assistant, I’m responsible for working with the children and assisting with their educational needs. We have kids attending school from pre-K to seniors in high school. I make sure they have transportation to and from [More...]