union

A Review of 2016 (Part 2): A Year of Key Victories for DC 37 Members

January 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

Insourcing victory: DC 37 is working with the de Blasio to reduce the city’s employment of consultants and bring work in-house. The city has so far hired several hundred information technology workers. The union expects the city to hire up to 1,000 IT workers in the near future. We won our Fight for $15 campaign: Union members have participated in demonstrations to support food service workers in their struggle for a living wage and union representation. At home, the union backed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s adoption of a $15 minimum wage that covers 50,000 low-wage workers in the city, including a few thousand school workers in Local 372. As bargaining for a new contract concluded, the union convinced the City University of New York to match the pay hikes of the state minimum wage law, which will means its low-wage workers — including thousands of DC 37 members — will be paid $15 an [More...]

A Review of 2016 (Part 1): Building a Dynamic Union

January 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES In 2016, DC 37 advanced its mission to become a more dynamic and grassroots-oriented union.Despite the anti-union era in the country, DC 37 made significant strides by recruiting new activists while strengthening its workplace presence, deepening ties to the community and developing more political clout. “The transformation of our union will take a long time,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “But so far, we have made a lot of progress, and next year we will continue down this path. We are talking about a change in culture at DC 37.” Union activists and elected leaders had a busy year in 2016. Workers at the City University of New York participated in fight-back campaign to win a new contract. Members helped block Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to cut $300 million in state support for the city’s public health-care system and nearly $500 million [More...]

Fight Big Pharma’s Price Gouging

January 6, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The January copay increases of the DC 37 Health & Security Plan’s prescription drug benefit show how we all are victims of the voracious pharmaceutical industry. For years, the plan struggled to maintain the old copays. But with the skyrocketing cost of drugs, the plan’s trustees finally felt they had no choice but to approve the copay hikes. As DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido has pointed out, drug costs will likely continue to rise until the government steps in to control the prices of the unregulated pharmaceutical industry. “The pharmaceutical industry’s track record of corporate greed is reprehensible,” said Willie Chang, administrator of the plan. “We need to do whatever we can as consumers and individual activists to slow down price increases.” Although consumers have little or no control over prices in the absence of a nationwide [More...]

Trump: A Wake-Up Call for Unions

December 25, 2016 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO The election of Donald J. Trump as president distresses us because we fear his policies will allow the decades-long nationwide attack on working people to continue. District Council 37 and its national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, worked tirelessly for Hillary Clinton because we were convinced that she was the candidate who would best support the interests of our members. We were shocked and deeply saddened by her loss on Nov. 8. But rather than allowing her defeat to leave us licking our wounds and turning us into outliers in the political process, we view this setback as a wake-up call. Trump’s election is an indication of our need to step up our own effort to make DC 37 a more dynamic and powerful union. DC 37’s history is to never quit. The disturbing rightward shift in the country shows how important it is to stick [More...]

Laborers Overwhelmingly Approve New Contract

December 21, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Members of Laborers Local 924 voted 261 to 9 in favor a new contract that provides a 5.34 percent pay rate increase and restores benefits taken away by the city after it carried out a 2012 court order for substantial hourly rate increases. The settlement ends a 15-year period in which Laborers worked without a contract. The independent American Arbitration Associated announced the results of the mail-ballot vote on Dec. 19. “The members have spoken with 96 percent of the voters backing the contract,” said Local 924 President Kyle Simmons. “We’re very happy with the outcome. Our members agreed with local leaders, who advised our people that the contract is a good deal.”. The vote marks the end of a 15-year struggle. The prolonged on again, off again contract bargaining was rooted in a disagreement over the comptroller’s finding in 2002 [More...]

DC 37 Works with a Coalition to Push for Universal Free Lunch in Public Schools

November 17, 2016 // 0 Comments

Sign the petition! Call on Mayor de Blaiso to ensure a free healthy lunch for all NYC schoolchildren! By ALFREDO ALVARADO What do schools in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit and Dallas offer their students that New York City does not? The answer: a free hot lunch. In those cities, students and their parents are not required to fill out forms to verify their incomes and eligibility to receive a free lunch. All students are eligible and, more importantly, are free from being singled out by other students for eating a free lunch. To address the issue and make sure every student receives a hot lunch, a coalition of food activists in New York City is advocating for universal free school lunch. “In our school lunchrooms, many students don’t get on line because they are afraid to get caught eating ‘free-free’ as it’s known in our world,” explained Aminata Abdouramane, a Lunch 4 [More...]

Archival Library Named for Deceased DC 37 Research and Negotiations Director

November 15, 2016 // 0 Comments

  By GREGORY N. HEIRES The union has dedicated one of its research libraries to Evelyn Seinfeld, the deceased director of the DC 37 Research and Negotiations Dept., who passed away earlier this year. Coworkers, union leaders, family members and city officials paid tribute to Seinfeld during a ceremony on Nov. 3 that celebrated the naming of the archival library after her. “Today is not about acknowledging a death but rather celebrating the life of a wonderful person,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. Garrido noted that Seinfeld — who worked as a librarian at Brooklyn Public Library before joining the union’s staff — liked to refer to the archival library as “the brains of the operations of the Research and Negotiations Dept.” As a librarian, Seinfeld was particularly interested in preserving the union’s historical documents and records. This motivated [More...]

DC37 and The City College of New York Establish a Program for Union Members

November 14, 2016 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The DC 37 Education Fund has signed an agreement with The City College of New York for the school to offer basic computer courses to DC 37 members. This follows a similar agreement with Medgar Evers College, announced in August, to develop programs and courses to help members prepare for job promotions and certification tests. This latest partnership between the Ed Fund and City University of New York institutions will provide opportunities for members to learn and enhance computer skills, as well as provide training to bolster work skills they need as city workers. The initial program includes classes in introductory computing and such vital program applications as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and for Microsoft PowerPoint. The program will be offered through the university’s Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education. The Center and DC 37 [More...]

DC 37 Volunteers Get Out the Vote on Election Day

November 8, 2016 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO On Election Day, volunteers packed the phone bank room at District Council 37 headquarters where they made calls to members reminding them to get to the polls before they close at 9 p.m. “We started at 9:30 a.m. and will go until around 6 p.m.,” said Savion Gainer, a Political Aide from the DC 37 Political Action and Legislation Dept. Since the early morning on Nov. 8, Gainer was busy helping new volunteers with their scripts and adjusting their headsets. Some volunteers, like Dorothy Lorenzo, voted early so they would not have to rush back home to vote. Lorenzo was in Florida last month and saw a lot of support for Donald Trump around Tampa and Clearwater. “People that are not doing well think he’s going to make them rich,” she said. “What he’s going to do is come after their Social Security and repeal their health care.” Family Assistant and Local [More...]

Leading the Way: A Plan to Address the Challenges Facing DC 37

November 2, 2016 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES District Council 37 leaders have launched an ambitious, multi-year plan to fortify the union by organizing thousands of new members, expanding services, developing a larger presence in the workplace and the community and improving its financial condition. The plan, which is called “Leading the Way: Restructuring DC 37 to address the challenges of the union,” comes as the union is nearly two years into a long-term grassroots program to build up its base of activists and mobilize members. “As we work to make DC 37 a more dynamic union, we need to ensure our fiscal solvency,” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said. “But the budget is just one of the big challenges ahead of us. This is a great opportunity for all of us to shape the future of the union,” he said. Garrido unveiled the detailed plan at the DC 37’s September delegates meeting, after [More...]