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Union Hosts Earth Day Expo

April 16, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE A cleaner, safer New York City was on the agenda at the District Council 37 Earth Day Expo, held April 13 at union headquarters. The event, co-sponsored by Queens City Council member Costa Constantinides, chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, was part of a big push for the Climate Mobilization Act, a sweeping legislative package that is up for a vote later this week. The initiative includes Intro 1253, the most ambitious carbon reduction bill ever passed by a city, which is expected to create thousands of new jobs over the next few years. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido welcomed the gathering and spoke of the “moral responsibility” to address climate change. He compared the environmental movement to other social justice struggles of the past and present. “This is the moral imperative of our generation,” said Garrido, in support of the [More...]

Quick-Thinking Local 2507 EMT Saves a Man’s Severed Arm

April 9, 2019 // 0 Comments

BY DIANE S. WILLIAMS A fast-acting Emergency Medical Technician in Local 2507 saved the severed arm of a man who was struck by a train on Staten Island. EMT Francis Jost usually works in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, but on that chilly February night he was working an overtime assignment in his Staten Island neighborhood when the call came over the radio around 10:30 p.m. that a man was struck by a train at the Pleasant Plains station. “When I reached the train tracks someone handed me the arm and my mind went to ice. I need ice fast. ICE HOSPITAL GO!” recalled Jost. “I knew there was a bar nearby where I would go to shoot pool sometimes. If we could get ice and pack the limb, maybe we’d save it.” Turns out his idea worked. The call went out for ice. Jost ran down the station steps with the limb in his arms and met another EMT holding the trash bag filled with ice from Hot Shotz, the [More...]

Fighting for Equal Pay!

March 26, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Women suffrage in 1920 won the right to vote. The 1963 Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay women and men equal pay for equal work. We’ve come a long way, but working women still struggle for pay equity. April 2 is the day women must work until to finally earn what a man earned in 2018. Women working full-time earn 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man — a figure that rose by less than a nickel since 2000. For women of color it’s worse. Black women must work until August 2 to earn what white men earned in 2018. Latinas earn just 55 cents for $1 paid to a white man. Only Asian women, who achieved pay equity in March, are closing the wage gap. Women are half of New York City’s workforce and population, “yet we have been short-changed by the very economic system that flourishes because of our contributions,” said Laurie A. Cumbo, City Council Majority [More...]

Sisterhood in Leadership

March 25, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Stacey Payton is a graduate of DC 37’s first Women’s Leadership Academy. A Local 1359 member who has worked as a New York State housing and community renewal specialist for 29 years, Payton has served as her local’s recording secretary for 12 years. Payton recently completed both the six-month intensive WLA training and the six-week Harvard Trade Union program after reading about them on the union’s website. “The idea was planted while I was attending Cornell University’s labor program,” Payton said. She applied for the Harvard Trade Union program and won the William Lucy scholarship. “My employer is very supportive. When I also saw that my union was offering AFSCME’s leadership training at DC 37 headquarters, it was a no brainer.” “The camaraderie, our sisterhood, and relationships I found at WLA are so valuable,” Payton said. “I learned [More...]

Local 1501 Member Wins $9K & Promotion After Illegal WCS Job Recall

March 23, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS A Wildlife Conservation Society Local 1501 member won an immediate promotion and $9,000 in back pay after an impartial arbitration panel ruled that WCS violated the collective bargaining agreement’s layoff and recall procedures. After working for six years as a WCS Supervising Maintainer, in February 2017 management told Rucauldeau Renondeau they had made a clerical error and demoted him to Maintainer and cut his pay retroactively. They also demanded he repay 28 sick days. “The pay cut was so damaging it jeopardized my finances and my health — everything,” Renondeau said. “It messed up my whole life.” “It was a shocking blow for management to unilaterally decide to reduce this member’s salary and title and recoup back wages,” said then-Vice President Marcy Wartell-Brown. White Collar Council Rep Norlita De Taza filed an out-of-title grievance to [More...]

Local 1070 Member Pam Fuller Gives Back to Disabled Youth

March 21, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS As a teenager coming of age in Brownsville’s Langton Hughes housing projects, Pamela Fuller literally dodged bullets and survived. Today her story inspires teenagers to believe in themselves and their future. “When I was growing up in the ’80s, Brooklyn was rough. One day my two friends and I decided to walk to Stone Avenue,” Fuller recalled. “At the last minute I forgot something and stayed behind. Then I heard gunshots and saw gunmen. I froze, unable to move. My friend called to me; she was shot. Another time a bullet came through the wall of our apartment.” Fuller said her close encounters with gun violence, and help she received from workers at a nearby local community center, changed her life. She glommed onto those mentors, many of whom were DC 37 members. “They took time with me,” Fuller said. “We went on trips outside our neighborhood, to [More...]

Unions to City Hall: Save Jobs, Fund Parks!

March 1, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS DC 37 joined 40 parks advocacy groups and lawmakers for a noon City Hall rally Feb. 28 to demand $100 million in funding for public parks maintenance and safety in the FY 2020 city budget. “This is a no brainer — better parks makes for a better city. Our members keep city parks clean and safe for 130 million people who use them each year,” said DC 37 and Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I. “Our city should lead the country, setting the standard for well-maintained, beautified public parks.” DC 37 is part of the Play Fair campaign that calls for the mayor to add $100 million to the city budget for year-round Parks Dept. maintenance, cleaning and gardening jobs. Francois and City Council’s Parks Committee Chair Barry Grodenchik, led chants and cheers with DC 37 presidents Dilcy Benn of Local 1505, Harrison Campbell of Local 957, Joe Puleo of Local [More...]

The Future of Housing in Your Community

February 28, 2019 // 0 Comments

As DC 37 activists, you can play a part in helping to shape the direction and development of your neighborhood. Part of the union’s Leading the Way campaign includes a series of Community Association meetings in March that the DC 37 Political Action Dept. will host on the topic: The Future of Housing in Your Community. These midweek evening meetings are scheduled for members’ convenience in every borough. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend one near you. Invite your coworkers and neighbors, the union’s got your back and theirs too. Political Action Dept. staff will be at each venue to provide up-to-date information and answers to your questions about housing, union benefits and services, and more. Be sure to support your union at this upcoming community event. All DC 37 members and retirees are welcome. Invite and bring your concerned coworkers, friends and neighbors. [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...]