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2020: The Year Ahead

December 23, 2019 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO A union’s power depends on the ability to grow and the flexibility to change. 2019 was a year of tremendous growth and change within District Council 37. With the addition of nearly 25,000 non-profit, care workers from the former DC 1707, our union now has a broader scope and the potential to organize more New Yorkers in both the public and private sectors. The benefits of unification quickly became apparent when we negotiated historic pay increases for members who are early childhood educators at community-based programs in an agreement that put them on the path to parity with their counterparts at the Department of Education. But numbers alone do not reveal a union’s strength, and strength alone does not reveal a union’s character. In 2019, we aimed to stay true to our mission of defending members and making our city more livable for all New Yorkers by: helping [More...]

Local 1559 Members Win Promotions and Pay Hike at American Museum of Natural History

December 6, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS DC 37 resolved pay disputes and retention issues for three members of Local 1559 after the management of the American Museum of Natural History agreed to promote the Preparators and pay them $27,000 collectively. As a result of a series of labor management meetings, the museum promoted one Preparator to Sr. Principal Preparator and raised his salary by $6,000, while two other Preparators were promoted to Principal Preparators and received salary increases of $12,000 and $9,000. “These members love their jobs but with starting salaries of just $34,800 a year for Preparators, the museum pays far less than the industry standard,” said DC 37 White Collar Division Council Rep Amena Black. Senior Preparator Jason Brougham helped organize the group and even penned a letter to a sympathetic museum board member outlining the workers’ concerns. “The letter persuaded [More...]

New Safety and Health Director a Fearless Advocate for Members

November 26, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Deborah Williams, the new director of the DC 37 Safety & Health Dept., learned early in her career that stepping up and taking risks can be essential to effective advocacy. She has dedicated herself to ensuring the health and workplace safety of public sector workers – as an employee, activist and advocate – for more than 30 years. Before joining the staff of DC 37, Williams was the Health and Safety Coordinator/Director for SSEU Local 371. While there, she was also a force behind creating the Charles H. Ensley Scholarship Fund, in honor of the late labor activist and former Local president. It all began when Williams chose to speak out. While a HRA Caseworker at the Waverly Center in Manhattan in the 1990s, Williams decided to stand up for her clients when the city was threatening to privatize an HRA homecare services program. Certain that the proposed privatization [More...]

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Worker Wins Wage Hike and Back Pay

August 14, 2019 // 1 Comment

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS After eight months of labor-management meetings, DC 37 Local 374 has won a wage hike and retroactive pay that adds about $1,400 to the annual salary of a Brooklyn Botanic Garden employee. “I love this job and everyone who knows me knows that I love what I do,” said Claudia Navas, a Clerical 4 project coordinator who spreads the message that composting is good for the environment, leads workshops and offers technical advice. A team player, Navas shoulders extra responsibilities to help out when Brooklyn Botanic Garden is short-staffed. But when she asked to be compensated for her hard work, she unearthed a problem only her union could resolve. “I was surprised to learn that although I am the most senior employee, as a Clerical 4, I earned $1,285 less than my colleagues, who are all senior museum instructors. So I called my union,” Navas said. White Collar [More...]

Members Get Citizenship Info at Union-Sponsored Workshop

August 7, 2019 // 0 Comments

Union members received professional help towards obtaining U.S. citizenship earlier this summer in a workshop sponsored by the DC 37 Citizenship Committee and partner CUNY Citizenship Now! The workshop was promoted on the union’s social media outlets. Experienced immigration lawyers and professionals offered members and their families free confidential legal services, including naturalization application assistance, DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) renewal, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) extensions. They reviewed documents and helped participants understand what they need to complete an application for U.S. citizenship. Juan Fernandez, president of Local 154 and committee chair said, “This is one of the many services the union provides to our members and the community in an ongoing effort to welcome immigrants and help them navigate the path to US [More...]

Day-Care Educators Win Pay Equity with City Teachers

August 6, 2019 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES By more than a 3-to-1 margin, members of Local 205 — early childhood educators who work for non-profit organizations — voted for a contract extension that puts them on a path to wage parity with their counterparts at the New York City Dept. of Education. The contract extension covers more than 4,000 members of the local and is the first demonstration of how the recently-announced unification of District Council 1707 and District Council 37 can increase the bargaining and political power of New York City public and private sector workers. “This is an historic achievement — after decades of hard work, early childhood educators are being recognized as true professionals,” noted Kim Medina, the executive director of DC 1707 who now becomes special assistant to the executive director for the new Non-Profit and Private Sector Division of District Council [More...]

Union, City Settles Preschool Teachers Pay Gap

July 12, 2019 // 0 Comments

After long marches, huge demonstrations and weeks of intense negotiations, the City of New York and the NYC Day Care Council have reached a tentative contract agreement that will benefit more than 4,000 members of Day Care Employees Local 205. At issue is the wide pay gap between teachers who work in community-run preschools — which enroll the bulk of students in the city’s free, universal pre-K program — and those who teach in public school classrooms overseen by the education department. The new agreement would steadily boost salaries for pre-K teachers over three years, eventually matching what starting teachers in public schools make. Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called the agreement historic, and noted the past difficulties of recruiting and retaining educators at community-based centers. DC 1707 Executive Director Kim Medina praised the Mayor [More...]

Moving Forward

July 12, 2019 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Honoring the past is important. Building a future is essential. Perhaps nothing has exemplified the grit and determination of our union quite like our headquarters at 125 Barclay St. in lower Manhattan, which has been our prime location for generations. DC 37 headquarters has been the place where contracts have been negotiated… where elected officials have come to explain themselves… where our rich cultural diversity has been celebrated. It is where members’ rights have been affirmed — and where members’ problems have been solved. This is where DC 37’s past and present come together with a promise and commitment for a better future. During our decades at 125 Barclay St., we’ve had to leave the building twice for prolonged periods of time — the first time after the tragedy of 9/11 in 2001; and, more recently, after the devastation wrought by Superstorm [More...]

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

July 7, 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...]

We’re Moving

July 3, 2019 // 1 Comment

Throughout the month of July, DC 37 staff will be moving to 55 Water St. in lower Manhattan as DC 37 headquarters at 125 Barclay Street undergoes extensive construction and repairs. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and the Executive Board, delegates, local presidents and union officers have agreed on the necessity to do the work which will close most of the building for approximately three years. We are building a new state-of-the-art facility that will allow us to improve member services while bringing the building up to code. The project will include interior renovations, new electrical, air conditioning and water sprinkler systems and, once complete, will leave us with essentially a new union headquarters. Until then, the union must move to space at 55 Water Street in Lower Manhattan for the duration of the project. However, some activity will continue in the building at 125 [More...]