POLITICAL ACTION

School Activists and Elected Officials Push for Extension of Mayoral Control over Schools

June 21, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Teachers and principals helping students cheat on standardized tests in 18 of 33 school districts and incompetent contractors who took two years to install just four windows at PS 55 in Queens were just two of the examples of the corruption and incompetence that plagued the Dept. of Education prior to the schools being put under mayoral control in 2002. Mayoral-control supporters fear the DOE could too easily return to those scandal ridden days if legislators in Albany don’t vote to extend mayoral control on this week. The current legislation giving the mayor control of city schools is set to expire on July 1. Legislators are locking horns over the issue of charter schools. State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan wants lift the cap on charters – a move opposed by de Blasio and other mayoral control supporters, including DC 37. “The future of our children is [More...]

DC 37 Pushes Budget Agenda at City Council Hearing

June 2, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO As the deadline to approve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $84.6 billion proposed budget for 2018 draws closer, four leaders from District Council 37 appeared before the City Council’s Finance Committee to advocate for more funds to expand city services. John Hyslop, president of Queens Library Guild Local 1321, pressed for more funding to modernize the libraries’ dated computers and install additional electrical outlets so customers can recharge their electronic devices and use their laptops. “The public wants better services in their libraries and we want the resources to provide those services,” said Hyslop, at the committee’s hearing on May 25. The network of libraries continues to provide an array of services for New Yorkers from adult literacy classes to programs for children and senior citizens. Our branches are overflowing,” added Hyslop. United [More...]

Union Backs Legislation Requiring Automatic Sign Up for School Pension

May 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO City employees are usually enrolled automatically in the retirement system when they are hired. But that’s not true for many members of Board of Education Employees Local 372. New Local 372 members are required to sign up. But many members who work for the Dept. of Education neglect to enroll and therefore don’t receive pension benefits when they retire. District Council 37 and Local 372 announced their support of legislation, sponsored by New York state Sen. Diane Savino and Assembly member Nick Perry, that would automatically enroll members in the Board of Education Retirement System. “Under the current enrollment process, too many of our members at the Dept. of Education have missed out on the full pension benefits they are entitled to,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I applauded the Albany [More...]

Advocates Call for More Library Funding

May 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Before today’s City Council budget hearing, library advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall this morning to demand more funding for the city’s three public library systems. Union and city leaders, along with the heads of the library systems, joined community activists and library workers to call on the City Council to provide an extra $24 million to fund seven-day library service. Only 15 of the city’s 216 libraries are open seven days a week. They also asked the council to approve an additional $150 million to help the library systems continue to carry out their long-term $1.1 billion capital plan. The funding would be used to address chronic flooding, faulty air conditioners and heating systems, overcrowding, outdated electrical systems, broken elevators and insufficient space. “Our communities need funds for seven day service in this [More...]

Community Activists and DC 37 Push for Universal School Lunch

May 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO “I think we’re missing an opportunity to use available federal funding to make school lunches free,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said when he was on the campaign trail in 2013. As mayor, he’s made universal pre-kindergarten available and is pushing for free day care for 3-year-olds. But he has not yet delivered on a campaign pledge to provide universal free lunch. To remind him of his campaign promise, members of DC 37, the United Federation of Teachers, the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, as well as public school parents, students and other community residents took to the steps of City Hall on Monday. They urged him to include $20 million in the city’s budget for free school lunches for all New York City public school students. Board of Education Employees Local 372 president Shaun D. Francois I recalled helping needy kids when he worked in [More...]

Coalition Demands New York’s Wealthiest Pay Their Fair Share

March 29, 2017 // 0 Comments

At a time when the state faces potential deep cuts in federal funding to vital services by the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress, DC 37 joined a coalition of progressive groups in support of extending and expanding the millionaires tax on New York’s richest 1 percent. Seventeen groups issued the statement on March 29, calling on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to push the state legislature to approve the measure during the last-minute negotiations on the state budget, which by law is due by April 1: “Governor Cuomo is right that the Trump budget and a renewed effort to repeal the ACA would be a disaster for New York’s families, our communities and our state budget. But the Governor is wrong to suggest that our state can’t respond — and he’s wrong to suggest that working and middle class families should cover the cost of huge [More...]

Local 1549 Activists Consider Political Agenda

February 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

By JOE LOPEZ The troublesome political climate of our nation and the imminent threat to labor were the topics of conversation for the 260 activists, staff and politicians who gathered at Union Headquarters on Feb. 4 at the 16th Annual NYC Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549 Advocacy and Political Action Conference. Coordinated by Local 1549 2nd Vice President Ralph Palladino, the conference included guest speakers included Rev. Terrence Melvin, Secretary-Treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO and President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We have a lot of work to do and we are the right people in the right place at the right time to do it,” said a fired-up Rev. Melvin. Referring to Donald Trump as a “monster of a problem,” he said that it was now time to fight and make sure his stay in the White House is [More...]

No To a Constitutional Convention

February 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

On the November 2017 ballot, New York voters will be asked to decide whether to call a convention to rewrite the New York State Constitution. The constitution mandates that this question be put to a vote every 20 years.  If the measure passes, the state must then schedule another vote in 2018 to choose delegates for the convention. This convention would open in Albany on April 2, 2019, and proposed changes to the state Constitution would likely be put before the voters in November 2019. If this sounds like a long and cumbersome process, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This is also a wasteful process that would give big business interests and anti-worker interests the opportunity to attack public services and the retirement security of the men and women who provide them. A convention would cost taxpayers more than $300 million. That is a ridiculous price to pay to give special [More...]

DC37 Endorses Mayor Bill de Blasio for Re-Election

January 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE An enthusiastic crowd gathered at union headquarters on Jan. 26 to support New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for a second term. Lauding the mayor, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said, “Mayor de Blasio has achieved major accomplishments benefiting the city’s working men and women.” Garrido praised de Blasio for implementing pre-K, promoting meaningful solutions to the affordable housing crisis and wrapping up virtually all of the outstanding contracts of the unionized municipal workforce. “His commitment to reducing economic inequality in our city deserves our continued support,” Garrido said. “We shall engage and mobilize our sizable membership to see to his re-election this November.” In January, it took only one day for the union and the city to negotiate an extension of the 2010-17 economic agreement, a testament to the de Blasio administration’s [More...]

Activists Send Trump a Message at Women’s March on Washington

January 25, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Answering a groundswell call to action, DC 37 activists joined hundreds of thousands of pink-hatted protesters at the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. The march was the largest ever in the United States, drawing over 500,000 people in Washington and 3.3 million around the country. Hundreds of thousands gathered in Manhattan and in 500 cities from Boston to Honolulu, and on all seven continents. “This historic Women’s March advances human rights for all and dignity and equality for women, minorities and immigrants,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “We are vigilant and we are watching Trump and his cabinet to ensure that our freedoms, rights and protections are not eroded or violated.” Women came from across the nation to the capital and sister rallies were held in Paris, France, [More...]