sseu local 371

Saving Our Public Housing

July 13, 2018 // 0 Comments

City and federal investigators raided the warehouse of the New York City Housing Authority on June 13, responding to a complaint filed against the agency for failing to address deteriorating conditions in 178,000 apartments. Since the resignation of former NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye in April, the media has been churning out stories exposing the depth of corruption and mismanagement at the agency. A city investigation discovered that the agency filed false certifications to the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development that apartments were annually inspected for lead paint from 2013 to 2016. The city probe followed an exhaustive federal government investigation into NYCHA beginning in 2015 that uncovered dangerous lead exposure effecting hundreds of residents and children, a cover up of health violations in NYCHA projects, mold overgrowth, pest infestation, broken elevators and inadequate [More...]

Rookie of the Year Helps Find Where the Wild Things Are

June 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS For New Yorkers who want to roam the wild, public parks are urban forests teeming with over 600 species of wildlife. Tracking the migratory and breeding patterns of birds, bats and beasts is Community Coordinator Karolina Janik, a self-described computer nerd who works at North Arsenal of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. “I always wanted to work in public service and for my work to have purpose,” said Janik, a Social Services Employees Union Local 371 member, who was raised in Baltimore. “Before I moved here, I never realized how much wildlife exists in New York City.” Janik collects data on red-tailed hawk fledges nesting on a 96th Street fire escape and wild coyotes in Pelham Bay. She finds blue, yellow, and orange warblers that dart skyward and make New York City a stopover on their epic annual migration from South America to the Artic. Marshlands along [More...]

Union Celebrates Jewish Heritage

May 8, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE Summer came early, so it was of no surprise that the party was hot during the Jewish Heritage celebration at DC 37 headquarters. The event celebrated the anniversary of the founding of Israel — known in Hebrew as Yom Ha’atzmaut — proclaimed in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948. After an invocation by Rabbi Michael S. Miller, executive vice president of the Jewish Community Council of New York, Dr. Leonard Davidman, president of Psychologists Local 1189 and chair of the DC 37 Jewish Heritage Committee introduced DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. In his remarks, Garrido stressed the importance of thoughts coinciding with action. Citing the recent commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Memphis Sanitation Workers strike and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who went to Memphis to support the strikers, Garrido said, “In his legacy, it was clear that [More...]

Labor’s Black History Makers

March 7, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Black History Month began with a ribbon-cutting and opening night dedicated to “The African-American Experience in the Labor Movement.” “We chose to honor our First Lady of Labor, Lillian Roberts, who has devoted more than 60 years to the labor movement. No other person alive today embodies our theme this year as Lillian Roberts does,” said Deborah Pitts, the Black History Committee chair who is the union’s secretary and president of Local 1113. “As an organizer and union leader, Lillian broke through glass ceilings and brick walls to build our mighty union, empowering women and including working families’ needs in labor’s fight for dignity and fair wages.” Throughout February locals honored extraordinary labor leaders, past and present, including Ms. Roberts, retired American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employeees Secretary-Treasurer [More...]

Union Member Is Vindicated in Court

March 31, 2017 // 0 Comments

After more than two painful years of facing criminal charges for doing his job, Juvenile Counselor Rafael Pasols, an SSEU Local 371 member,  was found not guilty on all charges of improperly restraining a 17-year-old resident at the Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx. Pasols, a Juvenile Counselor with a clean 15-year disciplinary record, was prosecuted over an incident on Nov. 8, 2014, when he restrained an out-of-control seventeen-year-old Horizon Juvenile Center resident. Just before, the resident had hit Pasols on the face with a telephone and said he was about to “snuff” [beat] him. Pasols was never disciplined by the Administration for Children’s Services. He continued to serve as a Juvenile Counselor as the case proceeded. But, on orders from the Justice Center in Albany, the Bronx prosecutor attempted to portray the restraint as an illegal chokehold. The [More...]

Union Speaks Out Against Scapegoating of Child Protective Workers

November 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE SSEU Local 371 is pushing back on the scapegoating of Child Protective Services workers surrounding the tragic case of a 6-year-old boy whose death at home was ruled a homicide. Union leaders and social services workers spoke out on behalf of the Child Protective Services workers at a City Council hearing at City Hall on Oct. 31. The testimony before the council’s Committee on General Welfare followed an often contentious grilling of city Administration for Children’s Services officials by committee members, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Public Advocate Letitia James. The hearings focused on accountability and reforms in the aftermath of the death of Zymere Perkins. Perkins, 6 years old, was found dead in his home in September. The New York City Medical Examiner’s office ruled his death resulted from child abuse. Several CPS workers, supervisors [More...]

Gold Medal Parents: Union Family Values Spur Olympic Glory

October 12, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE During the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Dalilah Muhammad, a long-time resident of Rochdale, Queens, became the first American woman to win the 400-meter hurdles in a dramatic race, held during a driving rainstorm at Olympic Stadium. Muhammad led from the first hurdle and finished for the gold medal at 53.1 seconds. Her victory came on the heels of a series of championship victories, several after coming back from an injury last year. Her determination to achieve this track and field accomplishment acts as an inspiration for anyone with a wish and a goal in mind. Upon her return home, Dalilah was honored in a parade in Southeast Queens. On Sept. 12, at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, Dalilah was recognized along with three other Olympians from the borough. In her speech thanking Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and other dignitaries for the award, Dalilah [More...]

“If you are working for just a paycheck, you are going to get burned out.”

October 1, 2016 // 0 Comments

Jill Campbell, Child Protective Specialist, Social Services Employees Union Local 371 Photo: Mike Lee I work for the Administration for Childrens’ Services. I am a Child Protective Specialist in Brooklyn. I have been with the agency for eight years. My job is to ensure that the children of New York City are safe on a daily basis. I do investigations on child abuse and neglect cases. I wake up in the morning. I say my prayers and I ask God to give me the strength to help me with whatever task is put in my hands that day. This is what drives me to what I do on a daily basis. Currently I am part of the FAR unit, which stands for Family Assessment Response and is a new initiative by the agency. This is a new type of engagement with families. While we still assess safety each day, it is the way we work with the families that is different. Before going out, we call them for an appointment [More...]

DC 37 Executive Director and Local 371 President Elected to Serve on National Union’s Board

August 3, 2016 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The District Council 37 delegate body unanimously elected DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Social Service Employees Union Local 371 President Anthony Wells international vice presidents of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at the 42nd AFSCME Convention last month. AFSCME international vice presidents (IVPs) determine the union’s agenda,  policies and procedures, and they weigh in on major national issues, such as privatization, fair taxes, health care and pensions affecting 1.6 million members and retirees that AFSCME represents in more than 3,400 local unions and 58 councils and affiliates in 46 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. “I am deeply appreciative of the tremendous confidence the DC 37 delegates have placed in me and the unity they have shown. Now let’s go and get work done!” said Garrido. Union [More...]

Union, City Agree on Funding for Senior Centers

July 15, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE After negotiations with the de Blasio administration, the union won an agreement with the city to maintain 15 New York City Housing Authority senior centers funded by the city. The City Council included funding for the centers in the city’s new budget, which was approved on June 8. Mayor Bill de Blasio recommended the funding in his executive budget. Since last year, SSEU Local 371 has led the fight to keep the centers at NYCHA. The city proposed that NYCHA shift the responsibility of maintaining to the Dept. for the Aging, which runs more than 100 senior centers in NYCHA housing complexes. Last year, DC 37 and SSEU Local 371 leaders blocked a city plan to close or privatize 57 community and senior centers at the authority. Instead, the Housing Authority shifted 41 centers to the Dept. of the Aging and the Dept. of Youth and Community Development. Because the City Council [More...]