unions

Building Political Power

December 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO We played an important role in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election and the defeat of the constitutional convention ballot question, achievements that capped a busy year. Before sharing some of my concerns about our future challenges, I wish to discuss our political mobilization in some depth because in many ways it captures the spirit of change we want to inculcate at DC 37. We worked almost a year on “con con.” We began by providing you with background information on the proposal, which threatened our pensions and right to bargain collectively. In the summer, we shifted into high gear as volunteer activists from the organizing and the political action departments visited members and retirees in their homes to inform them about the ballot question. On Election Day, an army of activists also made home visits. The home visits mark a difference in how our union [More...]

Union Celebrates the Jewish Festival of Lights

December 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

  By MIKE LEE DC 37 celebrated the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, at a packed ceremony in union headquarters on Dec. 13. Led by Psychologists Local 1189 President Dr. Leonard Davidman, chair of the DC 37 Jewish Heritage Committee, along with other union leaders and activists, the annual event marked an occasion to celebrate defiant resistance, while acknowledging hopeful signs in an uncertain future. At the event, DC 37 Associate Director Oliver Gray spoke of the recent victory in the U.S. Senate special election in Alabama, stressing its importance in the upcoming struggles for labor. “The event this year is special because of what happened in Alabama. A lot of people got together and made the decision that the bad guys are not going to win,” Gray said. “This means that all of us working together can get the job done here,” Gray said. “The bad [More...]

“I Hope Members Grasp a Fuller Picture of What a Union Does for Them and the Community.”

December 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

Patricia Peterson, retired Senior Police Administrative Aide, Local 1549 By DIANE S. WILLIAMS After 38 years with, the New York Police Department, I retired in February 2017. I was a Senior Police Administrative Aide in the 33rd precinct in Washington Heights since 1994 where I was responsible for crime analysis, reviewing complaints and classifying them as homicides, shootings, break-ins, noting any trends detectives and commanding officers should know about. A friend invited me to my first union meeting in 1988. I had questions I wanted answered, so I went. I became a Local 1549 shop steward and, later, a delegate. I shared information with my coworkers because not everyone can attend every union meeting. This year I was invited to become a Volunteer Member Organizer. It gives me purpose to visit worksites and talk to members about the importance of belonging to a union. I share my [More...]

Union Helps 40 Urban Park Rangers Prepare for Promotional Exam

December 8, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Forty Urban Park Rangers enrolled in a course offered through the union’s Education Fund to prepare for a promotional exam to become Associate Urban Park Rangers. The six-session course began in late November; the test is Dec. 12. “If UPRs pass with a score of 70 or higher, they can be promoted to Associate Urban Park Ranger and earn as much as $64,000 to start,” said Local 983 President Joe Puleo. AUPRs and UPRs are Peace Officers who educate park patrons and keep city parklands and beaches safe. The starting salaries for AUPRs pay almost $17,000 more than the $47,125 base salary UPRs earn annually, Puleo said. The rate of pay typically increase when the union finalizes its negotiations with the city for a new contract. Salaries also increase when recurring pay increases and other enhancements negotiated by the local union are adopted. Retired Local 983 [More...]

Want to Get Back to Normal? Strong Unions are Key

December 7, 2017 // 0 Comments

By LEE SAUNDERS Daily flirtations with nuclear war. Suspending freedom of the press. Fifty-nine people executed during a country music concert. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists marching openly in the streets. American citizens begging for their government’s help after a storm wiped their hopes and dreams off the map, only to then be threatened with revocation of that aid because Wall Street wants its money. Foreign powers sabotage our elections; our leaders sabotage our health care because of an ill-conceived campaign promise. Saying “This isn’t normal” has become clichéd, but finding solutions to get us back to normal isn’t yet commonplace. We don’t have to look too far to find those solutions. They are right beneath our feet. At their best, labor unions provide the stability that allows democracy to flourish. When working people organize, they can call out corruption and [More...]

South Asian Labor Group Holds Its Annual Convention on Dec. 9

December 5, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The Alliance of South Asian American Labor will hold its 10th annual convention on Dec. 9. The theme for ASAAL’s convention is, “South Asians in America, We are Stronger Together!” The convention, which will take place from 3 to 9 p.m. at DC 37 headquarters at 125 Barclay St. in Manhattan, will have panels on the 2018 midterm elections, challenges facing the South Asian community and organizing the youth. Several guest will speak at the dinner. The invited guests include state senators, and members from the Assembly, U.S. Congress members and labor leaders from around the country. Honorees include Terrence Melvin, president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and secretary-treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO, DC 37 President Eddie Rodriquez of Local 1549 and Local 375 member and DC 37 Executive Board member Ahmed Shakir, who is the national treasurer [More...]

EMS Workers Save Four New Yorkers Exposed to Deadly Gas

December 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO Four New Yorkers were saved from deadly noxious fumes by two quick-thinking Emergency Medical Technicians. Local 2507 members Frantzi Honore and Zache Cox, who work out of FDNY Station 54 in Springfield Gardens, Queens, were responding to an emergency call in Jamaica at 192nd St. When they arrived at the home on Friday evening Nov. 24, they noticed the carbon monoxide detector in the home was registering deadly levels of gas. Carbon monoxide is undetectable by human senses and is referred to as “the silent killer.” Honore and Cox quickly evacuated four people from the Queens home. “A tragedy and potential disaster was avoided by the quick reactions of these two EMS Technicians,” said Oren Barzilay, president of Uniformed EMTs and Paramedics Local 2507. “All of our members receive great training from the Fire Dept. to help us in our job of protecting and [More...]

Union Fights State Workers’ Compensation Changes

December 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE The union is taking part in an all-out effort to fight proposed changes to the workers’ compensation system in New York — changes that affect all workers injured on the job. The NYS Workers Compensation Board has proposed medical treatment guidelines and regulations that would eliminate monetary awards for dozens of arm and leg injuries, while also denying workers the right to have an independent medical examination. The change would also deny benefits and care to workers injured on the job who fail to answer all the questions posed by an employer’s medical examiner. Workers’ compensation, which has been on the books in New York for a century, is threatened by right-wing business interests, such as the Business Council, that pressured the state Workers’ Compensation Board to issue proposed changes to longstanding regulations earlier this year. The board’s action [More...]

Union and City Start Contract Talks

November 27, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES DC 37 started bargaining talks with the city for a new economic agreement on Nov. 14 with both sides expressing hope to wrap up negotiations quickly. “I can’t overemphasize that we need a contract now,” DC 37 Executive Henry Garrido told Labor Commissioner Robert W. Linn at the opening bargaining session. “Our members deserve a raise as soon as possible.” Union wants a three-year contract. The union’s 13 demands include a three-year agreement with a fair wage increase. “We are looking to improve our standard of living,” David Paskin, DC 37’s director of research and negotiations said, commenting on the union’s overarching concern in these negotiations. Paskin noted that members feel under a lot of financial pressure because of high rents, rising food and transportation expenses, and skyrocketing drug prices. Members are also anxious about their [More...]

Leading the Way: The Transformation of a Union

November 16, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES The union has embarked upon an ambitious, multi-year program to improve services, amplify the voice of members, expand organizing, engage activists, and reach out to the communities where our members live. With this effort, the union seeks to lead the way for the city’s labor movement, even as unions around the country are being targeted by deep-pocketed, right-wing, anti-government groups. These groups and their corporate and political allies have devoted decades to silencing the voices of working families. So far, their work has been successful: In the 1970s, nearly 35 percent of workers belonged to unions. That number has since plummeted to 10.4 percent this year. After decades of attacks, unions now only represent 6.4 percent of private-sector workers.Today, the network is turning its sights on public employees and their unions. A new model of unionism “We [More...]