Union Organizing: a Civil Right

March 23, 2018 // 0 Comments

Now that the arguments were made — on both sides — in the Janus v. AFSCME case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 26, the waiting game for the ruling by the court begins. However, we want to make clear that our rights shall not be dictated by a majority of nine in a single legal case. Importantly, our right to organize, collectively bargain with our employers, and stand together as a solid bloc, is a civil right, one that cannot be denied or taken from us. A quote from the American Civil Liberties Union’s on its own stand on collective bargaining says it best: “Unions facilitate and enhance the ability of their members to exercise core civil liberties, such as the First Amendment rights of association, speech and petition.” The U.S. Constitution protects the right to association for individuals with common interests to unite and form organizations to fight — and [More...]

Brooklyn Museum Agrees to Drop Its Plan to Seek Concessions from Workers

March 22, 2018 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES After intense pressure from the union, the Brooklyn Museum agreed to end a two-year effort to win concessions from its unionized staff. The agreement includes a one-time bonus for workers at 25 years of service and a no-layoff clause. The museum pledged not to carry out job cuts until the end of the year or when concluding talks on a new collective bargaining pact — whichever is earlier. “I am happy we managed to stop the talk of layoffs and the museum’s use of part-timers,” said Wilson Souffrant, president of Brooklyn Museum Local 1502. “But this is only the beginning as we move ahead to bargaining on our contract.” In 2016, during tense discussions with the museum about what it described as a budget crisis, Local 1502 agreed to a one-week unpaid furlough for its members, as well as two buyouts. Then in May 2017 the museum asked for more. But members [More...]

Ready to Fight Back? Your Union Leads the Way

March 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

By MIKE LEE More than 100 DC 37 activists and leaders recently participated in Local Union Leadership Academy training sessions at union headquarters to sharpen skills needed to solve problems in the workplace and to engage and empower members. Among those in attendance were representatives from Locals 154, 768, 957, 1251, 1113, 1321 and 1655. The Leadership Academy is part of an ambitious, on-going effort to fortify our union at a time when a Supreme Court case threatens the freedom of American public sector workers. Stressing the importance of preparing leaders and key members for intensive work ahead, Grievance Rep Natasha Isma said, “This training is essential. It is your role as an activist to explain our history, and our benefits. You must share that—teach that. This is your call to action, and your efforts will make a difference for our members.” DC 37 Executive Director [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...]

Under Attack, Working People Across the Country Rise Up for Freedom

February 27, 2018 // 1 Comment

Working people across the country are demanding an end to our nation’s rigged economy as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today in Janus v. AFSCME, a case funded by wealthy special interests to attack workers and their unions. Hundreds of working people spoke out in front of the nation’s highest court with pride and passion about the value of unions to public service workers. Many of those making their voices heard were minorities, who would be especially hard hit if the court rules against working people. “If the Supreme Court’s decision is based on merit, on facts and on the law, there’s no doubt they will rule in favor of working people,” said AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders. “In the face of ruthless, dishonest attacks against their freedom to come together in strong unions, working people are drawing the line. We stand united in fighting a rigged system that [More...]

DC 37 Leaders Meet With New City Council Committee Chairs

February 21, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO DC 37 has hosted a number of meetings with new City Council leaders throughout the month of February to discuss issues of importance to union members and all New York working families. “It’s a great opportunity to express some of our concerns to the men and women of the City Council and to continue or, in some cases, start a dialogue with them,” said Local 768 President Fitz Reid, who attended the first session on Feb. 7 with Local 436 President Judith Arroyo and Mark Levine, the new chair of the City Council’s Health Committee. “It’s important to have an ongoing dialogue with DC 37,” said Levine. “We have to listen to our municipal workers.” In addition to the session with Levine, union leaders met with: Carlina Rivera, chair of the Hospitals Committee Alicka Samuel, chair of the Public Housing Committee Mark Treyger, chair of the Education [More...]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: A Labor Leader

February 12, 2018 // 0 Comments

By LEE SAUNDERS The photograph is iconic. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., only 39 years old but the nation’s most prominent civil rights leader, lay fatally wounded on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. His lieutenants stood over his body, pointing frantically across the parking lot in the direction of the shooter. Dr. King was in Memphis to support the city’s sanitation workers — members of the union I’m proud to serve as president, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — who were striking in protest of poverty wages and dangerous, degrading working conditions. Their fight for dignity and respect was expressed with a simple, compelling slogan: “I Am a Man.” In his final campaign and throughout his life as an activist, Dr. King highlighted the struggle of all working people to get a fair shake. He’s best known, of course, for his civil [More...]

DC 37 Launches Black History Month Celebration

February 5, 2018 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The union kicked off its annual Black History Month celebration on Feb. 1, with a ribbon-cutting and opening night dedicated to the theme of the African-American Experience in the Labor Movement. The union and the BHM committee along with co-sponsor Local 372 celebrated former Executive Director Lillian Roberts’ 90th birthday with special guests former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, New York state AFL-CIO leader Terry Melvin, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., U.S. Congress Member Yvette Clarke, New York state Assembly member Walter Mosley, City Council members Adrienne Adams, Inez Barron, Carlina Rivera, Andy King, Mark Treyger, Jumaane Willams, Debi Rose, Laurie Cumbo, Daneek Miller, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, along with [More...]

Fight For Your Union! Join Us in Downtown Manhattan on Feb. 24

February 2, 2018 // 0 Comments

Join the Working People’s Day of Action, on Sat., Feb. 24, in New York City, at Foley Square, 111 Worth St., in downtown Manhattan. The rally starts at 11 a.m., ending at 1 p.m. On Feb. 24, join thousands of working people and our allies and stand up for our freedom to come together in strong unions and fight. Fight for equitable pay. Fight for affordable health care, quality schools, vibrant communities and a secure future for all of us. Demand an end to a system that’s rigged against working people. Corporate elites, extremists and corrupt politicians who do their bidding have rigged the rules of our economy and our democracy against us. Now, wealthy special interests want to further rig the system in a U.S. Supreme Court case called Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which attempts to divide working people and limit our power in numbers because unions give workers a powerful voice in [More...]

Unions Launch Solidarity Campaign

January 25, 2018 // 0 Comments

By ALFREDO ALVARADO As labor unions come under increasing attacks from a right-wing network and the Donald Trump administration, union leaders gathered in New York to announce their plans for an aggressive national solidarity campaign. The I AM 2018 campaign was announced during a breakfast meeting at the headquarters of the United Federation of Teachers. Corey Johnson, the newly elected Speaker of the City Council, was among the invited guests. “What Donald Trump has done is awoken a sleeping giant,” said Johnson, whose father was a member of the Teamsters. “Now is the time to organize like never before, and if we do, 2018 can be better a year.” DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, and Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, are part of the leadership of [More...]