unions

The Mission of Public Service: People Over Profits

May 15, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES Many DC 37 members joined the city’s workforce after spending years in the private sector. Those interviewed by the Public Employee Press say they are now happier with their work, because it comes with union representation, good benefits, and job security. Helping city residents instills a motivation absent in the private sector, where work was about helping their bosses make a profit. The members say their enthusiasm for the private sector wasn’t as great because they received fewer benefits and they could be fired at the whim of a boss. “It’s really nice to help the public — and the community as a whole,” said Dental Assistant Lisa Blackett. A dental hygienist and Local 768 shop steward, Blackett has worked at Harlem Hospital for nearly 10 years. “A lot of the people without insurance come here and are happy to find they can get affordable dental [More...]

DC 37 Launches Women’s Leadership Academy

May 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS District Council 37 is preparing women for future leadership roles through a six-month training program that begins in June. Local leaders, officers and activists are invited to apply to the union’s Women’s Leadership Academy. The application deadline is May 31. To encourage diversity, DC 37 seeks applicants from every experiential, racial and socio-economic background for the Women’s Leadership Academy. The course begins with a conference call orientation in June. The program requires participants to complete an interim project and attend a final session in January 2019. Participants will learn to: develop high-level presentation and communication skills, develop strategic planning skills for internal organizing, create a personal five-year plan, establish a mentoring relationship with a seasoned leader, build capacity in their own local or chapter. DC 37 [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...]

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...]

Please Attend DC 37 Town Halls Scheduled for May

April 19, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The union is under attack. Our collective future is at stake. As the nation waits for the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Janus v. AFSCME District Council 31, DC 37 and you — the members — have many questions about the future of your union after the ruling by the court, which could go against us. The Janus case aims to undercut unions by reducing the vital funds used to negotiate with management for raises and benefits, handle grievances and fight for workplace rights. In reality, Janus is a carefully crafted assault on our freedoms to organize and to bargain fairly with our employers for wages and benefits. But DC 37 is fighting back. We are educating and organizing, explaining our future, and answering your questions as the clock ticks down to the court’s decision. Please attend a DC 37 Town Hall Please join DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and local [More...]

The Unfulfilled Dream

April 17, 2018 // 0 Comments

A half century after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination is an appropriate time to reflect upon the accomplishments of his movement. Undeniably, the struggle led by King resulted in vital civil rights and voting rights gains for blacks, along with protections against housing and job discrimination. But the economic advancement of minorities and the poor that King advocated never came about. And since his death, our country has veered toward plutocracy and authoritarianism that provides little reason for hope. At the end of his life, King was leading the Poor People’s Campaign. His criticism of the economic divide and opposition to the Vietnam War clearly shook the country’s levers of power. Today, King has a saint-like aura. But back then, his popularity was far from universal. “A man of peace, he died violently,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote in a New York Times op-ed [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...]

Members Lead Cleanup After Four Nor’easters Hit NYC

April 12, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Thunder snow, bomb cyclones and blizzards — three massive snowstorms struck New York and the eastern seaboard within a 10-day span, and a fourth storm struck during the month of March. DC 37 members in several locals responded with Climbers and Pruners of Local 1506 and their Parks Supervisors in Local 1508 leading the city’s emergency cleanup. The Nor’easters dumped heavy snow mixed with thunder and lighting, rain, and slush with powerful 40- to 90-mile-per-hour winds that nearly paralyzed a half dozen states. The city is seeing an uptick in widespread, severe storms that are attributed to climate change. Riley, the first Nor’easter, pulled down older trees — and powerlines — in Southeast Queens. The Dept. of Parks and Recreation disbursed its tree-cutting Delta Force of Climbers and Pruners in a race against time to remove fallen trees and debris [More...]

Public Employees Aren’t “Leeches”

April 9, 2018 // 0 Comments

By RALPH PALLADINO As public employees, we have targets on our backs. Right-wingers like President Trump say we are taking from the “job creators,” meaning the 1 percent. They say we have no value and the people receiving the benefits we work hard to provide are freeloaders interested in getting what they describe as “free stuff.” Fifteen years ago, while attending a union conference in a Washington, D.C., hotel, I wandered into a room where a “think tank” was coming up with ways to destroy unions — especially public employee unions. I picked up a document describing those who work in public service as “leeches.” Public employees work mainly in life-saving programs such as Food Stamps in SNAP and Medicaid, both of which are in the Human Resources Administration. We also work in public hospitals in NYC Health+Hospitals. The vast majority of people receiving those [More...]