PEP Mar Apr 2019

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...]

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

March 24, 2019 // 1 Comment

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to Memphis, Tennessee, in the spring of 1968 to make good on a promise to workers. Earlier that year, two Memphis sanitation workers, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, had sought shelter from a torrential rain in the back of a garbage truck. When the vehicle’s compressor malfunctioned, they were crushed to death. Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb and the city offered cold comfort — no compensation or death benefit for the families. At the time, Memphis’ 1,300 black sanitation workers earned 65 cents an hour with no benefits, overtime, or rights. The indignities heaped on them led to their membership in AFSCME Local 1733 and a strike for wages, human dignity, and union recognition. The workers carried signs that read, “I AM A MAN.” Their cause was a microcosm of the struggles Dr. King’s upcoming Poor People’s Campaign embraced. “If [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...]

EMS Locals Demand Action on Assaults on First Responders

March 22, 2019 // 0 Comments

As DC 37’s Emergency Medical Services unions continue to push City Hall to remedy the pay gap between their members and other first responders, union leaders are raising concerns about the growing number of assaults on the rank-and-file. According to NYC Fire Department statistics, the number of physical assaults on EMS workers increased by nearly 50 percent between 2015 and 2018. Testifying before a City Council hearing in February, Uniformed EMTs and Paramedics Local 2507 President Oren Barzilay warned that official data could understate the scope of the problem. “Many of our members don’t report assaults because of a lack of action by the Fire Department, the Police Department, and the District Attorneys,” he said. “It builds on a tradition of inaction.” New Yorkers were shocked and saddened in March 2017 when EMT Yadira Arroyo was killed by an assailant in the Bronx. [More...]

Shocked but not surprised: Trump budget is more pain for working families

March 22, 2019 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO I have said it before in this space: Budgets are not just numbers, dollars & cents. When presidents/governors/mayors present a budget, they are telling you what they value, who they value. What their priorities are – and what they are not. Donald Trump the candidate thundered on during the campaign about how he was going to make life better for millions of American families left behind by economic inequality and stagnant wages. To date, Donald Trump’s signature accomplishment is his so-called tax “reform.” As a candidate, Trump claimed his tax plan was going to help working families and target the rich. But the tax bill that President Trump signed into law “spread tax gains unevenly across income brackets, with high earners enjoying the biggest windfalls,” according to National Public Radio. Under his tax plan, rich real estate investors — including [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...]

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...]

Union Mourns Its Latino Culture Pioneer

February 14, 2019 // 2 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS DC 37, family and friends are shocked and saddened at the sudden death of Alfredo Alvarado, who died on February 9. He retired last August after 17 years as an associate editor at the union’s award-winning newspaper, the Public Employee Press. A media trailblazer, before joining DC 37 Alfredo founded and published Latino NY magazine and hosted the first Latin music radio show in the New York City market on WBAI. His groundbreaking radio show, and later Latino NY,  documented the birth and growth of salsa and Latin music and culture. Alfredo interviewed and befriended many music greats—Tito Puente, Rueben Blades, Celia Cruz, Ray Barretto, David Sanchez, Cachao, Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Valentin and other artists while carving a space for inclusion of Puerto Rican culture in New York City’s highly competitive media and entertainment fields. “Alfredo was a [More...]