PEP Nov Dec 2019

2019: Growing Union Power

December 26, 2019 // 0 Comments

Membership Reaches 150,000 By GREGORY N. HEIRES From the halls of the U.S. Congress to the streets of New York City and workplaces in the five boroughs, DC 37 kept busy in 2019 looking out for the interests of members and retirees. The union’s success in carrying out its mission is becoming ever more important as working families struggle to survive in a political world that is all too often hostile to their well-being. Making History: Unification of DC 37 & DC 1707 DC 37 made history in 2019, which will be remembered as a year our membership skyrocketed. Nearly 25,000 members from the private sector joined the union in September under a unification agreement between District Councils 37 and 1707, both affiliates of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. As a result, DC 37 membership now tops 150,000 — the highest it’s ever been. The benefits of [More...]

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 Hep C Treatment Program Available at NYC Health + Hospitals

December 4, 2019 // 1 Comment

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 members suffering with Hepatitis C are now eligible to participate in a pilot program designed to effectively treat the disease and reduce the exorbitant cost of current prescription medications. The new treatment regimen, devised by NYC Health+Hospitals in collaboration with the DC 37 Health & Security Plan, is available to members and dependents under 65 who are covered by the union’s prescription drug benefit, which is administered by OptumRx. The NYC Health+Hospitals program, which typically lasts between 8-to-24 weeks, is designed to encourage patients to stick with its regimen of medication and other parts of the treatment. Participants are assigned Patient Navigators to guide them through the process. To date, 15 members have signed up for the program. The latest Hepatitis C drugs have a 90% percent cure rate of the illness, but are outrageously [More...]

Union Secretary, New Executive Board Members Elected

December 2, 2019 // 1 Comment

By GREGORY N. HEIRES On Nov. 26 DC 37 delegates elected John Hyslop, the president of Queens Library Guild Local 1321, as the new secretary of the union. At their monthly meeting, the delegates also voted to fill two vacancies on the DC 37 Executive Board. The delegates chose Franklyn “Bubba” Page, the longtime president of Lifeguards Local 461, and Rawle Campbell, president of Metropolitan Museum of Art Local 1503, to serve in those posts, which are reserved for representatives from local unions whose members constitute less than 5 percent of the of the union’s total membership. Hyslop replaces Deborah Pitts, president of Finance Administrative Employees and City Investigators Local 1113, who stepped down earlier this year. Until his election on Tuesday, Hyslop was serving as the union’s secretary on an interim basis. At the delegates meeting, Hyslop – whose professional [More...]

Historic disability rights victory creates hundreds of DOT jobs

November 27, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS In recognition of his fight for the rights of disabled New Yorkers that has led to the installation and maintenance of thousands of curb ramps throughout the city, DC 37 Local 983 recently honored Joseph V. Stulberg, a resident of Henry J. Carter long-term care facility in Harlem. Stulberg inspired the 1994 class action lawsuit against New York City to enforce compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was settled in federal court on July 23, 2019. “We moved to Brooklyn but whenever my son Joe left the house in his wheelchair he was landlocked. He could not leave our block. It was impossible to get his wheelchair off and on the curb,” said Michelle Green, an associate director in the union’s Research and Negotiations Dept. Her husband, attorney Robert Stulberg, led the case for his son and Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (now the United [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...]

Labor Counts! The 2020 Census Begins Soon

November 21, 2019 // 1 Comment

By MIKE LEE Make sure you’re counted. Millions of dollars and adequate political representation are at stake for New York City in the upcoming 2020 Census. “It is not an overstatement to say that the single most important issue that will effect the city’s future for the next 10 years is the Census,” says Julie Menin, the director of NYC Census 2020, a newly-created office to encourage participation by city residents. She notes that in the 2010 Census, New York’s response rate was only 62 percent and more than a million children weren’t counted. That cost the state two congressional seats and much-needed funding for public services. DC 37 is working with labor unions and community groups to ensure that all New Yorkers are counted in the upcoming Census, which will begin next March. As part of that effort, we will be getting the word out to members at upcoming general [More...]

Update Your Beneficiary Form

November 20, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES  Protect your loved ones. Keep your DC 37 Health & Security Plan and DC 37 Annuity Fund Plan beneficiary form up-to-date. Outdated information on the form can delay and even deprive your designee(s), spouse or children of much-needed benefits. A recurring example: A DC 37 member fails to update their beneficiary information after a divorce. The member then remarries and passes years later. The first spouse, whose name is still on the outdated form, receives the member’s death and annuity benefits. The death benefit for active employees is $10,000 and for retirees it is $2,000. Children also lose out on benefits if parents neglect to identify them as beneficiaries. So, it’s clearly a good idea to check to see if you need to update your DC 37 Health & Security Plan and DC 37 Annuity Plan beneficiary form. When should you consider changing your [More...]

Youngest Local President Elected

November 15, 2019 // 1 Comment

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS When members elected Donique Berry president of Local 3778 New York City Police Department Civilian Unit in July, the 23-year-old scientist became the youngest local president in District Council 37. “This is my first job out of college,” Berry said. “All I knew is that having a union means they can’t fire me. Now I realize there is much more.” Local 3778 launched in 2018 to represent 15 science and engineering titles at NYPD. A coworker nominated Berry for secretary and she did not shy away from the challenge to get involved in her union. “I learned it takes patience and dedication,” she said. “My responsibility as secretary was to assure that things get done.” Now the initial one-year president’s term set by the local’s constitution has Berry’s “clock ticking” to make a difference. Her shift was changed to days which allows her to reach [More...]