PEP July – Aug 2018

Saving Our Public Housing

July 13, 2018 // 0 Comments

City and federal investigators raided the warehouse of the New York City Housing Authority on June 13, responding to a complaint filed against the agency for failing to address deteriorating conditions in 178,000 apartments. Since the resignation of former NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye in April, the media has been churning out stories exposing the depth of corruption and mismanagement at the agency. A city investigation discovered that the agency filed false certifications to the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development that apartments were annually inspected for lead paint from 2013 to 2016. The city probe followed an exhaustive federal government investigation into NYCHA beginning in 2015 that uncovered dangerous lead exposure effecting hundreds of residents and children, a cover up of health violations in NYCHA projects, mold overgrowth, pest infestation, broken elevators and inadequate [More...]

Trump and Labor: A Betrayal

July 12, 2018 // 0 Comments

Donald Trump won the presidency portraying himself as a champion of workers. So far, his record as president amounts to a great betrayal. With executive orders, political appointments and policy changes, Trump has actually proved himself to be an enemy of working families. The authoritarian president has taken steps to undermine unions, harm public employees, gut the benefits of low-wage workers and promote trade policies that will raise prices for consumers. Simply put, his actions favor corporations and the rich. Real average earnings have actually dropped since Trump signed the GOP tax giveaway into law. The only way workers have managed to increase their take-home pay is by working a few extra hours per week, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The administration submitted an amicus brief in Janus v. AFSCME case, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on last month. [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...]

Vote “Yes” on the Contract

July 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO After a marathon negotiating session in late June, we concluded talks with the city on a new economic agreement, which provides for fair wage increases worth more than 7 percent and a new paid parental leave benefit. The contract provides for a retroactive 2 percent raise on Sept. 26, 2017, a 2.25 percent increase on Sept. 26, 2018, and an additional 3 percent on Oct. 26, 2019. The contract’s term is from Sept. 26, 2017, to May 26, 2021. I want to let you know how we approached this round of negotiations differently from previous contract talks. We managed to negotiate the contract in less than a year, faster than in earlier negotiations. We won decent and fair salary increases, and yes, we believe the increases will keep up with the cost of living. But the key accomplishments are not merely these raises. We [More...]

Our Union, Our Power

June 29, 2018 // 2 Comments

By MIKE LEE Capping what was perhaps was its most contentious and partisan session in modern history, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to overturn precedent and establish so-called “right-to-work” in the public sector nationwide. The decision in Janus is the latest in a series of outrageous court, legislative and administrative actions pushed by a cabal of anti-union extremists to define the rules of the nation’s economy even more in favor of the 1 percent by trying to weaken the power of unions. At a City Hall press conference after Janus v. AFSCME was announced, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido was defiant. “Our lives will not be determined by a Supreme Court decision,” he said. “It is the desire of working people to stand up and collectively say we are stronger together and that in unity is our power. We shall not be stopped.” Later that afternoon, city unions [More...]

Statin coverage now compliant with Obamacare

June 22, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Low-dose generic statins will be provided for free by members’ health-care plans instead of the DC 37 prescription drug benefit. This change meets a requirement of the Affordable Health Care Act and goes into effect July 1. To fill statin prescriptions, members ages 40 to 75 need to present their health insurance card when filling statin prescriptions at their pharmacy. Under the ACA, low-dose statins are free. Members outside of the 40-75 years age group will continue to be covered by the DC 37 prescription drug benefit. The low-cost statins include atorvastatin (10 mg tablet), fluvastatin ER (20 mg); fluvastatin sodium (20 mg) and fluvastatin sodium (40 mg); lovastatin (20 mg), lovastatin (40 mg) and lovastatin (80 mg); pravastatin sodium (10 mg), pravastatin sodium (20 mg), pravastatin sodium (40 mg) and pravastatin sodium (80 mg); rosuvastatin calcium (5 mg) [More...]

Local Presidents Administer Exam for Parks Dept.’s Arborist Jobs

June 20, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The Dept. of Parks and Recreation tested 10 applicants hoping to join the agency’s “delta force” of expert arborists who maintain and remove damaged and dead trees in the five boroughs. Dept. of Parks Climbers & Pruners Local 1506 President Ibn Mann and Mike Zeno, president of Parks Supervisors Local 1508, administered the exam in Forest Park, Queens earlier this month. In addition to a timed climb up a tree using brute strength, a harness and ropes, applicants took a written test and a practical exam to test their knowledge of knot tying, ability to identify species of trees and operate bucket trucks. Climbers and Pruners jobs are physically taxing, making it a hard-to-recruit title. This year, 10 men applied for five openings. “I was very pleased to see many viable candidates take the climbing test,” Mann said. “I’m confident Parks will [More...]

Rookie of the Year Helps Find Where the Wild Things Are

June 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS For New Yorkers who want to roam the wild, public parks are urban forests teeming with over 600 species of wildlife. Tracking the migratory and breeding patterns of birds, bats and beasts is Community Coordinator Karolina Janik, a self-described computer nerd who works at North Arsenal of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. “I always wanted to work in public service and for my work to have purpose,” said Janik, a Social Services Employees Union Local 371 member, who was raised in Baltimore. “Before I moved here, I never realized how much wildlife exists in New York City.” Janik collects data on red-tailed hawk fledges nesting on a 96th Street fire escape and wild coyotes in Pelham Bay. She finds blue, yellow, and orange warblers that dart skyward and make New York City a stopover on their epic annual migration from South America to the Artic. Marshlands along [More...]

City Honors Fallen EMT Heroine Yadira Arroyo

June 18, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Members of the FDNY stood in honor of their fallen comrade EMT Yadira Arroyo at the street renaming ceremony in her honor on June 15, in the Bronx. Her friends and colleagues joined her family and elected officials for a moving memorial tribute. The Local 2507 member was killed on the job in the Bronx last year. At the Friday morning ceremony, Arroyo’s cousin Sean Acevedo spoke of the loss. “It still hurts. But seeing all of these people here and what she meant to this community means a lot to me,” he said. Acevedo works at Bedford Academy High School and is a member of Board of Education Employees Local 372. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was among those paying tribute to the 14-year veteran of FDNY Station 26. Also in attendance were Donald Nesbit, executive vice president of Local 372, Vincent A. Variale, president of Local 3621 and Oren Barzilay, president of [More...]

Mayor and City Council Adopt 2019 Budget

June 15, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO The union scored several major victories in this years’ city budget process, including getting $16 million for public library operating expenses and $60 million in capital funding sought by DC 37 leaders and members. The New York City Council approved the $89.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2019 in a late vote on June 14. “We’re pleased we got the funding in the budget that we needed in order to continue to provide the kind of service the public deserves,” said John Hyslop, president of Queens Public Library Guild Local 1321. “Our libraries are busier than ever, so those funds are critical.” Union activists waged a grassroots campaign to urge Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council to add the additional $16 million in expense funding to continue six-day service and programs and $60 million for capital funding to repair roofs and install air [More...]