organizing

Summer School and Sisterhood

September 4, 2019 // 1 Comment

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...]

Organizing Leadership Summit

June 5, 2019 // 0 Comments

More than 100 DC 37 activists gathered early on Saturday morning, June 1 to harness the power of organizing during a day-long event held at union headquarters. Guest speakers, including political activist Kevin Powell and New York State Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, wowed the activists with their calls to “communicate, collaborate and commit.” Attendees explored best practices on such topics as enhancing one-on-one contact with digital organizing; learned about what’s at stake for New York in the upcoming 2020 census; and focused on developing future leaders in the labor movement. “At a time of so much national polarization and division, our goal was to put together a powerful day of engagement, education and empowerment,” said DC 37 Field Director Barbara Terrelonge. “In order to enhance members’ rights in the workplace, influence public policy on behalf of our [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...]

Rise Up and Become a Union Activist

February 27, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Stand up, get involved and organize! Starting on March 12, the DC 37 Organizing Dept. begins a series of activist trainings at DC 37 Union Headquarters, in Room 2. These intensive two-part sessions will be held from March to June. These sessions will offer valuable tools and advice for participants to work in strengthening DC 37’s collective voice and to equip members with the necessary knowledge to move our union forward together. In the year ahead, the union faces many challenges, and it is critical for DC 37 members and retirees to become leaders at the workplace and in their communities. “These activist trainings are part of an effort to strengthen the union from the grassroots,” said Barbara Terrelonge, director of the DC 37 Organizing Dept. “With more active members, our union will be stronger, whether that involves our involvement in a contract fight, [More...]

Union Mourns Intern Killed in Car Accident

January 16, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE W. WILLIAMS The AFSCME family is stunned and saddened by the tragic death of 21-year-old Nadia Mourtaj, a 2018 summer intern in DC 37’s Organizing Department. Nadia and her sister Zeyneb, 15, were in a car accident on Dec. 31, in Charles County, Md. Zeyneb was killed on impact and Nadia died nine days later. They are survived by their mother, Sara Ghebre, and father, Abdelilah Mourtaj. “Nadia was a bright star whose enthusiasm for life and the labor movement was contagious,” said DC 37 organizer Nichole Laing, who helped train the young activist seen in this union video. After Nadia completed the internship, Organizing Dept. Director Barbara Terrelonge said, “Nadia visited New York City in September, marching with DC 37 in the annual Labor Day Parade.” “There were many reasons why I chose Nadia for AFSCME’s program, but what stood out to me was her extensive [More...]

Shop Stewards Trained for Key Role in Union Building at Local 3005

December 15, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The first training for shop stewards of Local 3005 was an intense condensed one-day session at union headquarters on Dec. 12. “Our agenda specifically catered to what we needed our stewards to know to better service our membership,” said Local 3005 President Jeff Oshins. “When we formed Local 3005, the leaders set the goal to establish a shop steward program and to engage members to become more active in their union,” Sessions said. “We looked for volunteers. Our search was an easy one: We had no problem as dozens of members reached out to the new leadership in response to our call to action that we put out at our first general membership meeting back in September. I am proud to say six months later we were able to get our first training off the ground.” The one-day program gave the 10 shop stewards an overview of their responsibilities and how to [More...]

Union Wins New Workers at NYC Health+Hospitals

December 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES A group of about 50 unrepresented public hospital workers recently voted to become DC 37 members. DC 37 and the Organization of Staff Analysis competed to represent the workers. The city’s Office of Collective Bargaining tabulated the vote on Nov. 9. The workers — whose title is patient representative — voted to join DC 37. Their mission at NYC Health+Hospitals is to advocate for patient rights. “I never had any experience with unions before,” said Patient Representative Mira Temer, who works at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn. “It is nice to know that someone will be there if there is a problem.” But Temer said the rich benefits package of DC 37 is the main reason she voted for DC 37. She complained her household budget was financially pinched by an expensive prescription drug rider for her health-care plan. DC 37’s drug plan has a three-tier [More...]

Welcome to DC 37

November 26, 2018 // 0 Comments

At Meetings Around the City, Public Service Workers Are Signing Up With the Union By GREGORY N, HEIRES DC 37 continues to sign up new members under our Leading the Way campaign to promote the benefits of union membership and encourage rank-and-file participation. Last month, DC 37 held five meetings with mid-level city employees whose misclassified job titles had kept them out of the union during the Bloomberg administration but are now eligible to join or re-join. A sixth meeting was also held in November for City University of New York employees, who recently won a new contract. Union Offers Job Security Many workers who signed union membership cards at the meetings indicated that job security was their top reason for joining. Monifa Thomas, a 20-year city employee who is now a senior project manager at the Administration for Children’s Services, described job security as “an [More...]

Local 1549 Shop Stewards Help Energize the Union

October 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES More than 200 shop stewards in Local 1549 are fired up about carrying the union message to the workplace after they spent the Columbus Day weekend at a training conference. The stewards had a full agenda at the gathering, whose theme was “Rise Up & Stay Strong Shop Steward.” They learned about communicating effectively with their coworkers, organizing members to strengthen the union, dealing with workplace conflict, and getting involved in politics. “The conference provided members with a wonderful opportunity to strengthen their skills in communicating with their coworkers and defending them in the workplace,” Local 1549 President Eddie Rodriguez said. “By gathering everyone in one place, the conference encouraged our stewards to interact and trade stories about what they do at work to be the voice of the union.” “We have this [More...]

A Culture of Organizing

July 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By BARBARA TERRELONGE For decades, our union has largely focused on providing services to members. But in recent years we learned we must do more. As we faced institutional malaise and a multi-million dollar, anti-union campaign by a national right-wing network intensified we decided to shift our focus toward what’s known as an organizing model of unionism. Through worksite visits and improved communications, we highlight the value of unions, while urging members to become more involved. At our three-year-old Organizing Dept., we aim to “engage, educate, empower.” Those three words sum up our union’s philosophy. About two years ago, the dozens of reps who work for DC 37 embarked on an ambitious plan. The union dispatched the union employees to the city’s five boroughs to conduct one-on-one meetings with 50,000 members and to sign up thousands of agency-fee payers, workers who [More...]