POLITICS

Statement by DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido on the Janus v. AFSCME Decision

June 27, 2018 // 1 Comment

Today’s 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision smashes precedent and overturns the Court’s unanimous 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which upheld the maintaining of a union shop in a public workplace. Make no mistake: Janus v. AFSCME was always a politically-motivated case designed to rig the rules of the economy even more in favor of the privileged and powerful by weakening unions. What our country’s highest court did today was to, in effect, make so-called “right-to-work” the law of the land for public employees. Let’s remember what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said nearly 60 years ago about so-called “right-to-work” laws: “We must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by [More...]

Burning Down the House

June 18, 2018 // 0 Comments

By JEREMY JOHN On April 25, Ben Carson, secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration, pulled the curtain back to what typifies the worst aspects of the regressive views shared by the alt-right extremists now in power since the November 2016 election. His proposed scheme, called the Make Affordable Housing Work Act, deals a brutal blow to decades of efforts by previous administrations — both Republican and Democrat — to create affordable housing and to maintain and expand the social safety net for millions of vulnerable Americans who need a decent place to live. Under the proposal, millions of families living in subsidized public housing will see their rents rise from 30 percent of adjusted income to 35 percent of their higher annual gross income. This subtle distinction makes a powerful difference. By changing the rules on income, the increase in reality is [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...]

The Role of Women in Electoral Politics

May 7, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO A discussion about how women can become more engaged in electoral politics is taking place around the country. That discussion took place also at DC 37 recently with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I and City Council member Carlina Rivera. Activists from Local 372 and Transit Workers Union Local 100 also participated in the April 28 conference presented by the Latino Leadership Institute. Also in attendance was Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, who lives in Florida and survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. On Feb. 14, 17 students from the school were killed. “Those students from Florida, especially the young women, are doing a great job organizing young people,” said Francois, who met the high school activist in Memphis recently during the commemoration of the death of [More...]

Defend Our Jobs and Benefits

May 2, 2018 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO Members of a DC 37 delegation were among the thousands of people who visited Memphis, Tenn., last month to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. We feel a personal connection to the tragedy on April 14, 1968, because the civil rights leader was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers represented by our national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. King described the goals of the civil rights movement and labor movement as intertwined. He recognized that unions built our middle class. “The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress,” King said. “Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and, above all, new wage levels [More...]

Labor Film Festival Opens on Friday

May 1, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The seventh annual Labor Unite! Film Festival opens  in the Tribeca neighborhood in Manhattan on May 4. The opening will feature “The Iron Triangle,” which explores the history of deindustrialization, urban renewal and gentrification in New York City. The evening also includes three other screenings: “Bullies,” a five minute animated film that highlights how the Real Estate Board of New York has harmed New York City, “The Cost of Construction,” a documentary about death on the job, and “Bowery Tenants Fight Back,” a short film about gentrification in Chinatown. The films will be shown at Cinema Village at 22 East 12th St. in Lower Manhattan. The festival opening includes a reception at 6 p.m. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. After the viewings, Joshua Barnett, president of Local 375’s chapter at the New York [More...]

Toward a People’s City Budget

April 27, 2018 // 0 Comments

Budget negotiations continue at City Hall after Albany lawmakers passed a state budget that, perhaps most urgently, protects vital services at New York City Health+Hospitals. The state budget makes the city hospital system eligible for a fairer share of Medicaid reimbursements, thus preventing cuts to the system . DC 37 will be pushing for the New York City Council to provide sustainable funding for safety net hospitals and clinics. Also, the state budget included more funding for substance abuse counselors (SAPIS) to assist in fighting the opioid epidemic. We want the City Council to match the $2 million state contribution for the school counselors. Mayor Bill de Blasio released the city’s $89.06 billion executive budget for fiscal year 2019 on April 26. In recent weeks, the New York City Council held hearing’s on the preliminary budget. While state budget victories [More...]

Four DC 37-Backed Candidates Win in Special Elections

April 26, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Four Democratic Party candidates endorsed by DC 37 won their special elections that took place on April 24. In the Bronx’s 32nd State Senate District election, Assembly member Luis Sepulveda beat Republican Patrick Delices. In the race to represent Westchester County’s 37th Senate District, Assembly member Shelley Mayer defeated Republican Julian Killian. In Queens, Aridia Espinal will now represent the 39th District in the state Assembly. Her seat was vacated by Francisco Moya, who now serves on the City Council. Espinal will serve in Albany until December. Harvey Epstein won a seat in the state Assembly and will represent Manhattan’s 74th District. That seat was also vacant. With the victories of Mayer and Sepulveda, Democrats now have 32 seats in the Senate, but the balance of power in Albany will likely not change. Brooklyn Democrat Sen. Simcha Felder plans [More...]

Cuomo Signs Legislation Strengthening Workers’ Rights

April 13, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Governor Andrew M. Cuomo yesterday signed landmark legislation to strengthen the rights of working men and women in New York state. This new law increases access to and protects union membership in New York’s public-sector workplaces in anticipation of an adverse ruling in the pending Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME. Additionally, the law provides safeguards against the deliberate actions taken by the federal government that continue to undermine the efforts of organized labor across this country. Cuomo described the new law as a response to a long-term campaign by the extreme right to destroy unions. “Too often, and at the hands of this federal administration, we are seeing the labor movement going backwards. In New York it is a different story, and our efforts to protect working men and women are moving labor forward, making the workplace fairer and [More...]

Union Action: PEOPLE Power

April 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Our political system is dominated by corporations, lobbyists and wealthy individuals. As the 2016 election cycle wound down, five individual donors had spent more than $210 million on political contributions while labor, which represent nearly 15 million members, donated $132 million to super PACs and another $35 million on federal elections. Republican casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife alone contributed $52.9 million. The political strength of the labor movement depends a great deal on our “people power. Volunteers take part in the union’s get-out-to vote work, such as phone banking, attending rallies and going door-to-door to encourage members to vote. Across the country members help fortify our political strength by supporting the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ own political action fund — known as PEOPLE. John [More...]