POLITICS

Union, Advocates Fight Against Cuts to Library Budgets

May 21, 2019 // 0 Comments

Facing possible cuts in the city budget, DC 37 leaders of locals representing public library employees took to the steps of City Hall May 21 with the heads of the city’s three library systems, elected officials and advocates to warn of a dramatic impact should funding to the library systems be reduced– including loss of weekend service, reduced programming and delayed revitalization projects. “Our public libraries are lifelines for NYC neighborhoods – and cutting their budgets would jeopardize hours and days of service. We urge City Hall to find a way to keep what amounts to less than half of 1 percent of the city’s overall budget,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “Libraries are the great equalizers in our society, and the most-equipped vehicle to a fairer and stronger City,” said Queens Public Library President Dennis M. Walcott, “We need increased [More...]

Local 1549 Conference: A Call to Action

January 31, 2019 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES About 200 shop stewards, activists and union leaders attended Local 1549’s annual conference on advocacy and political action on Jan. 26. Each year, the local holds the conference reviews its political and legislative priorities. Its purpose is to educate shop stewards and chapter chairs about key and critical issues, giving them background information to share with their coworkers. But beyond spelling out the local’s agenda, the conference serves as a call to action. Local leaders and panelists reinforce to conferees the importance of getting involved in politics and community issues—in addition to being the voice of the union in their workplaces. “We have to protect each other,” said Local 1549 President Eddie Rodriguez. Local 1549’s 2019 agenda includes: The 911 surcharge. Winning back jobs taken over by the state to the Human Resources [More...]

AFSCME Members Join Federal Workers in Rally to End Government Shutdown

January 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders and Janice Fridie (District Council 20). Photo Credit: Lorenzo Soto. AFSCME members today joined furloughed federal workers in Washington, D.C., to call for an end to the government shutdown. Altogether, thousands of people marched from the headquarters of the AFL-CIO in downtown D.C. to the White House, demanding that 800,000 federal workers return to their jobs and receive their paychecks. “This shutdown is hurting our families and our communities,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “Public health is jeopardized. Consumer protection is compromised. Many national parks are overrun with garbage. Food assistance for low-income families is at risk.” Saunders was one of two dozen speakers outside the AFL-CIO who urged President Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) to reopen the government. AFSCME represents about 3,000 federal workers. Janice [More...]

Health-Care of 350,000 Immigrants at Risk Under Trump’s Proposed Policy Changes

December 6, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 is working with a coalition of health-care advocates to try to stop the Trump administration from implementing a new policy that would cut more than $360 million in federal assistance for treating immigrant patients at NYC Health+Hospitals. President Donald Trump’s plan to slash federal assistance to immigrants deemed a fiscal burden to the state could affect as many as 350,000 immigrants who rely on NYC H+H for health-care coverage. The new policy would consider any immigrant deemed to be dependent on government assistance as a “public charge,” and ineligible for benefits. Today, only legal immigrants who use long-term care or welfare cash are considered burdens to the state. Expanding the meaning of “public charge” would jeopardize the government assistance of as many as 6.5 million American children nationwide, according to an Urban Institute [More...]

The Midterm Elections and Us

November 20, 2018 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO The midterm elections have shown that unions are a vital electoral force in our country and the United States is undergoing a political realignment that we hope will significantly improve the lives of working people. The recapturing of the U.S. House of Representatives by Democrats creates an important check on the excesses of the Trump administration. This allows us to push back against GOP lawmakers’ plan to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security; adopt trade agreements harmful to workers; dismantle Obamacare; repeal regulations, including worker protections, and pass more tax cuts to benefit corporations and the 1 percent. As we look ahead to President Trump’s campaign for a second term in 2020, we can expect a rocky road ahead. Many feel we face political warfare rather than compromise and constructive dialog over public policy. While it appears the [More...]

The Referendum on Trump

October 13, 2018 // 0 Comments

The mid-term elections on Nov. 6 are a referendum on President Trump. We say: “Vote no!” No to Trump’s policies that favor the wealthy and throw crumbs to the working class and poor. No to his lack of empathy, whether it’s for hurricane victims, sexually abused women or powerless immigrant children. No to the political lackeys who encourage his worst instincts and his bigoted attitudes. If extremists maintain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, Trump will ram through an anti-worker agenda that will cause pain and suffering for years to come. We cannot allow that. During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to protect Medicare and Social Security. But Republicans are already saying that the skyrocketing debt caused by the lowering of taxes — most notably in favor of the rich — will force the government to reduce spending on both. Consider the [More...]

Local 1549 Shop Stewards Help Energize the Union

October 11, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES More than 200 shop stewards in Local 1549 are fired up about carrying the union message to the workplace after they spent the Columbus Day weekend at a training conference. The stewards had a full agenda at the gathering, whose theme was “Rise Up & Stay Strong Shop Steward.” They learned about communicating effectively with their coworkers, organizing members to strengthen the union, dealing with workplace conflict, and getting involved in politics. “The conference provided members with a wonderful opportunity to strengthen their skills in communicating with their coworkers and defending them in the workplace,” Local 1549 President Eddie Rodriguez said. “By gathering everyone in one place, the conference encouraged our stewards to interact and trade stories about what they do at work to be the voice of the union.” “We have this [More...]

Help the Union Get Out the Vote

September 6, 2018 // 0 Comments

When hardworking public employees and union members ask how the politics of this country got to where they are now, much of the answer can be found in the midterm elections of 2010. That’s when the progressive agenda of President Barack Obama was critically wounded by insufficient turnout and the extreme right-wing took over Congress and statehouses across the country. This time around, we have the opportunity to thwart Trump’s agenda of nurturing the ultra-wealthy and decimating public services, Medicare and Social Security. It begins with the Democratic Primary on Thursday, September 13. Please note the date. Customarily, we go to the polls on the second Tuesday of September, but out of respect for the memory of those who perished on 9/11, it has been changed. The union urges you to support the Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James for New York State [More...]

Members Outraged by Radical Right’s Anti-Union Campaign

September 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 members are angry that, in the wake of a politically charged U.S. Supreme Court attack on unions, wannabe union-busters are trying to dupe New York City public employees into giving up their rights. Janus v. AFSCME capped a decades-long effort by a nationwide anti-labor network to cripple public employee unions, cut government services and support anti-worker state legislators and governors throughout the country. A group calling itself NewChoice NY — which is supported by the Koch brothers and other ultra-rich labor foes — recently sent out an email blast to a total of 500,000 New York public employees — including DC 37 members — at their workplaces, trying to cajole public employees to leave their union. DC 37 also received reports of home visits by right-wing network representatives. “They try to sound as if they’re just doing workers a favor by [More...]

March to Fight Climate Change and Support Jobs, Justice

September 4, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 environmental activists are gearing up for a march on Thursday to protest against climate change and speak up for green jobs. Hundreds are expected to show up to “Rise for Climate Jobs & Justice,” occurring in advance of the four-day Global Action Summit in California later this month. The summit will bring together leaders and activists from around the world to accelerate action to put the brake on dangerous climate change and fulfill the Paris Agreement on the environment. “The Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice will begin at 6.pm. on Thursday, Sept. 6 in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. It will move north from the park. One of the march’s aims is to demand that New York elected officials step up the political pressure  to avert a climate catastrophe. Its principal demands of the demonstrators will be to call for: a just [More...]