PEP Jan Feb 2018

Public Employees Aren’t “Leeches”

April 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By RALPH PALLADINO As public employees, we have targets on our backs. Right-wingers like President Trump say we are taking from the “job creators,” meaning the 1 percent. They say we have no value and the people receiving the benefits we work hard to provide are freeloaders interested in getting what they describe as “free stuff.” Fifteen years ago, while attending a union conference in a Washington, D.C., hotel, I wandered into a room where a “think tank” was coming up with ways to destroy unions — especially public employee unions. I picked up a document describing those who work in public service as “leeches.” Public employees work mainly in life-saving programs such as Food Stamps in SNAP and Medicaid, both of which are in the Human Resources Administration. We also work in public hospitals in NYC Health+Hospitals. The vast majority of people receiving those [More...]

Sharpening Skills for the Courtroom

April 3, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS One hundred Court Reporters, Interpreters and clerical workers in Local 1070 wrapped up 2017 with a two-day job skills seminar at union headquarters in December. “Based on our strong labor-management relations with the Unified Court System, we again presented court recess training for members in workshops and seminars led by an outstanding group of legal professionals,” said Local 1070 President Fausto Sabatino. UCS agreed to open the sessions to state employees who are mandated to use their comp time or annual leave while courts are on recess between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Court employees will be credited for attending the two-day event. “The training helped build solidarity among the Interpreters,” said Elana Grossman, who interprets Spanish and Hebrew at Manhattan Family Court. “Being in the same room with so many colleagues who share [More...]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Labor Leader

February 12, 2018 // 0 Comments

By LEE SAUNDERS The photograph is iconic. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., only 39 years old but the nation’s most prominent civil rights leader, lay fatally wounded on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. His lieutenants stood over his body, pointing frantically across the parking lot in the direction of the shooter. Dr. King was in Memphis to support the city’s sanitation workers — members of the union I’m proud to serve as president, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — who were striking in protest of poverty wages and dangerous, degrading working conditions. Their fight for dignity and respect was expressed with a simple, compelling slogan: “I Am a Man.” In his final campaign and throughout his life as an activist, Dr. King highlighted the struggle of all working people to get a fair shake. He’s best known, of course, for his civil [More...]

Building Political Power

February 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO President Donald J. Trump’s tax plan is a dagger aimed at the heart of New York and at working families across the country. Make no mistake, this is also an attack on public employees and the services they provide. By increasing the deficit by more than $1 trillion, the plan is allowing Republicans to argue that the federal government needs to impose deep cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These reactionary politicians in Washington, D.C. are dead-set on shredding the country’s safety net. They see this plan as the culmination of a decades-long project to roll back these services. The threat is immediate — and local. For example, here in our city, our public hospitals, already facing deep reductions in federal funding, anticipate additional cuts. Our retirement security is at risk as Republicans target Social Security and Medicare for [More...]

DC 37 Launches Black History Month Celebration

February 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The union kicked off its annual Black History Month celebration on Feb. 1, with a ribbon-cutting and opening night dedicated to the theme of the African-American Experience in the Labor Movement. The union and the BHM committee along with co-sponsor Local 372 celebrated former Executive Director Lillian Roberts’ 90th birthday with special guests former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, New York state AFL-CIO leader Terry Melvin, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., U.S. Congress Member Yvette Clarke, New York state Assembly member Walter Mosley, City Council members Adrienne Adams, Inez Barron, Carlina Rivera, Andy King, Mark Treyger, Jumaane Willams, Debi Rose, Laurie Cumbo, Daneek Miller, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, along with [More...]

A Passionate Activist, Local 374 President Retires

January 20, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Cuthbert Dickenson, a passionate activist for workers’ and immigrants’ rights, retired as president of Quasi-Public Employees Local 374. Dickenson tirelessly represented Local 374 members for five terms. Local 374’s membership includes maintenance, custodial and security workers, Attendant Guards, Instructors, Custodians, Gardeners, Motor Vehicle Operators, Clerical Associates and Secretaries at public botanical gardens; blue-collar workers at the libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island. Dickenson said he was particularly proud of three major accomplishments during his career of servicing the members of Local 374: collaborating with New York Public Library management and the union’s Education Fund to develop a free trades apprenticeship program for Local 374 members who work at New York Public Library. unionizing workers at the Wave Hill public [More...]

DC37 members help reduce NYC traffic deaths

January 17, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The city’s streets are becoming safer as a result of a plan to reduce traffic-related fatalities implemented by Mayor Bill de Blasio four years ago. With a 32 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities, 2017 marked the fourth consecutive year of declining traffic deaths in New York City, a success that counters the national trend and is a testament to the efforts of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign, aided in strong measure by our city Dept. of Transportation workers—members of DC 37. Locals 376, 983, 1157, 1455 and 1506 represent hundreds of DOT employees who work tirelessly to implement and maintain the city’s road infrastructure and are a vital part of Vision Zero’s success. At a recent event marking the progress of the program, the Mayor declared: “Vision Zero is working. The lower speed limit, increased enforcement and safer street designs are all building [More...]

Urban Park Rangers Honored for 9/11 Heroism

January 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Sixteen years after aiding thousands to safety aross the Hudson River during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, three heroic Urban Park Rangers and the Local 983 president received presidential citations at a ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum on Dec. 19. Local 983 President Joe Puleo and PEP Officers Nancy Mercado, Sam Hendricks and Annette Probst worked at Battery Park City and were pivotal in directing thousands to safety on 9/11 in the greatest civilian evacuation in U.S. history.  Sept. 11 survivor and Battery Park City resident Joseph Gibney said, “Hundreds of thousands of lives were saved because people did their jobs.” The FEMA-trained PEP Officers were honored upon completing the Resident Manager Emergency Response Team (RMERT) program, a 15-week advanced emergency response course in high-rise evacuation, search and rescue, and [More...]

Meet Your New DC 37 Executive Board Members

December 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

At their November 28, 2017 meeting, the DC 37 Delegates elected three local presidents to the union’s Executive Board. Judith Arroyo, Local 436 By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Judith Arroyo, the president of the United Federation of Public Nurses and Epidemiologists Local 436 since 2007, was recently elected vice president of the union’s Executive Board in November. Local 436 has more than 1,000 active members who are Public Health Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Pediatric Nurse Associates and Public Health Epidemiologists in the Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYC Health and Hospitals.  They protect the health of New York City and are part of the city’s emergency medical response teams at 9/11 shelters, and for anthrax, small pox, Ebola and Zika virus threats. “Women represent almost half the membership and we need more women to step into leadership roles,” said Arroyo, who is [More...]

South Asian Labor Group Sets Aggressive Political Agenda for 2018 Elections

December 20, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES A South Asian American labor group plans to aggressively build its membership and fight for a Democratic takeover of the U.S. Congress in the midterm elections in 2018. Participants at the Alliance of South Asian American Labor’s 10th annual convention on Dec. 9 celebrated their growing political strength and membership. But they also sharply decried the attack on immigrants, middle-class families and the poor emanating from the White House and U.S. Congress. The group expects to work with coalitions and to take part in voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote efforts in 2018. Speakers highlighted the victories of South Asians in the November election in New Jersey, where ASAAL helped elect Democrat Phil Murphy as governor. Ravi Bhalla won the mayoral in Hoboken, becoming the first Sikh, a South Asian, elected as mayor in New Jersey and one of a few elected [More...]