PEP Sept Oct 2019

Jim Tucciarelli, Union Leader and Activist, Retires

September 25, 2019 // 0 Comments

Jim Tucciarelli, a DC 37 leader for more than three decades and a staunch advocate for fellow responders who worked at Ground Zero in the aftermath of 9/11, has retired. Tucciarelli, longtime president of Sewage Treatment and Senior Sewage Treatment Workers Local 1320, was a member of the DC 37 Executive Board and sat on the Judicial Panel of DC 37’s national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). He fought tirelessly to protect jobs, and improve the lives of, sewage treatment workers whose dedicated service keeps New York’s communities safe, clean, and healthy. Local 1320’s members operate the Department of Environmental Protection’s 14 wastewater treatment plants and collection facilities. Throughout the years, Tucciarelli played a key role in organizing political and legislative campaigns in New York and around the country. In a 2016 [More...]

Local 420’s $500,000 Win

September 20, 2019 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS In June, DC 37 stopped management from assigning 29 Local 420 members out-of-title duties and resolved a group grievance against North Central Bronx Hospital for nearly $500,000. “These members were clearly performing duties of the higher paid Behavioral Health Associate title. We are glad NYC H+H recognized the need to resolve this grievance after the first day of hearings,” said union lawyer Terri Nilliasca. One of the 29, Patient Care Technician Tyrone Wayne, said he was performing out-of-title duties from the time he was hired in 2001. Wayne said he restrained and medicated patients and de-escalated fights between patients. One day a patient attacked him. Wayne sustained injuries to his neck and shoulder that may require surgery. With limited crisis intervention training, Wayne and Patient Care Associates were assigned to control patients — the duties of [More...]

Building Worker Power

September 18, 2019 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO As Labor Day approached this summer, a well-known polling organization, Gallup, released its annual, national survey on public attitude toward unions. The findings were remarkable: Sixty-four percent of Americans approve of labor unions, one of the highest approval ratings in the past 50 years — much higher than Trump’s or Congress’. Young people overwhelmingly support unions. In fact, the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to have a positive view of unions. Sixty-seven percent of people between ages 18 and 34 approved of unions. Across all party lines — Democrat, Republican, independent — union approval has increased by 16 to 17 points. This survey comes on the heels of a 2018 study that found a growing number of Americans want to join a union: Nearly half of non-unionized workers said they would join a union if given the opportunity to do so. [More...]

UNION STRONG, UNION PROUD: Labor Day Parade 2019

September 9, 2019 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Thousands of union members and supporters marched up Fifth Avenue Sept. 7 to show the world that they are working together to build worker power in New York York City. Throughout the day, midtown Manhattan thundered with the sounds of labor unity and activism. DC 37 members filled 48th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. for more than two hours before marching behind a banner that declared, “Never Quit!” Bolstered by the recent, historic unification of DC 1707’s private sector workers and DC 37’s public employees, members chanted, danced and celebrated worker pride. Led by Executive Director Henry Garrido, DC 37 marched as a single mass, a defiant force showing its enhanced power. In what has become a tradition in recent years, members took the opportunity to boo loudly as they passed Trump Tower. More than a dozen elected officials stopped by in solidarity to pay [More...]

Stronger Together: DC 37, 1707 Unite

September 9, 2019 // 1 Comment

Private Sector Members Add to Union Power By GREGORY N. HEIRES and SARA HAAS New York labor history is being made this fall as District Council 1707, which represents 20,000 private-sector members, joins forces with District Council 37, the city’s largest public employees union. As a result, the six unions that made up DC 1707 — Locals 95, 107, 205, 215, 253, and 389 — will comprise a new, private-sector division  within DC 37, bringing DC 37’s total membership to 150,000. Each local union’s structure and leadership remain unchanged. “We are delighted to welcome these hardworking members, who provide vital services in the private sector to the city’s largest union of public employees,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “This unification signals a new era in the fight for workers’ rights in New York.” “In unifying with our brothers and sisters at DC [More...]

Summer School and Sisterhood

September 4, 2019 // 1 Comment

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Women comprise more than half of DC 37’s membership. And one of our union’s highest priorities is to support the ascent of women within the ranks of leadership and activism. Toward that end, a contingent of DC 37 women attended a week-long boot camp,  hosted and coordinated by the City University of New York School of Labor and Urban Studies, at Hofstra University,  , where they honed their union-building skills. “It really motivated me to continue encouraging as many people as possible to get involved in the labor movement,” said Dept. of Education Employees Local 372 member Trina Prior. The DC 37 activists who attended are all graduates of the Women’s Leadership Academy, a program initiated by our national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).  At DC 37, the program is named in honor of former Executive [More...]

HVAC Workers at Met Win Huge Pay Hike

August 29, 2019 // 1 Comment

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS After more than a year of negotiations, Local 1503 resolved long-standing wage and retention issues, resulting in an unprecedented 63 percent pay hike for licensed heating and ventilation workers at three New York City museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Met Breuer and the Met Cloisters. “We were very straight forward with management,” Local 1503 President Rawle Campbell said. “The solution is simple: Pay workers their worth and retention and other problems will go away,” Union negotiators convinced Met managers to raise the starting pay for licensed HVAC assistant maintainers to $35 from $22 an hour. The annual salary for new hires is now $72,800, up from $45,760. Seven senior HVAC engineers will earn about $81,000.  A 22 percent wage hike increases HVAC Supervisors’ earnings to $86,000 a year. News of the wage boosts drew cheers at a [More...]

Paid Family Leave: A Dad’s Joyful Bonding

August 26, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Research Scientist Michael D. Zboray is among the more than 1,000 union members who are taking advantage of the new paid family leave benefit that went into effect at the beginning of the year. Zboray combined his vacation and sick days with his family leave time after the birth of his daughter, Polina, in January. “My wife Anna and I decided it was very important for me to take advantage of the benefit,” said Zboray, a member of New York City Police Department Civilian Unit Local 3778. “Having a baby, of course, changes your life. If someone were to ask me about the benefit, I would absolutely recommend it.” He has now returned to work and is taking days off periodically for the rest of the year. Zboray said he enjoys the flexibility of the plan, which allows you use the leave in one bloc or spread it out over the course of a year. The union won paid family [More...]

TA Worker Rescues Man Stuck on Subway Tracks

August 19, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Patrick Burke, an administrative project manager at New York City Transit, stopped by the Yankee Stadium station of the D subway line to do a routine check on construction. Such visits are a regular part of his job, which includes evaluating whether contractors are meeting city regulations. “Nothing was going on, so I was heading back to my work site,” said Burke, 59, a licensed engineer with more than 30 years on the job. But as he proceeded to make his way out of the station, Burke spotted someone –apparently intoxicated or high—sprawled out on the train tracks. Alarmed, Burke raced toward the man as he called for him to get up, fearing a subway train would be soon arriving at the station. But this didn’t turn into an easy rescue. “I got under his arms and was yanking him up on the platform,” Burke said. “But he started wrestling with me.” Burke [More...]

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Worker Wins Wage Hike and Back Pay

August 14, 2019 // 0 Comments

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...]