unions

Parks Worker Facing Deportation Released from Detention

August 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS Jose Molina is back on the job restoring Bronx ball fields for the New York City Parks and Recreation Dept. after the Local 983 member was detained almost a month after reporting to Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza. Four years of liberty ended for no apparent reason, his lawyers said, after Molina dropped off his passport July 13 and told his deportation officer of his next court date in May 2018. He was moved to the Varick Street federal detention center for deportation. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido , Local 983 President Joe Puleo, City Council members Carlos Manchaca and Fernando Cabrera, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and other elected officials and immigration advocates called for Molina’s immediate release. Molina was freed on Aug. 8. Molina, a dedicated Associate Parks Service Worker, is glad to clear another legal hurdle in his fight [More...]

Book Review: Beyond the $15 an Hour Movement and the Revival of Labor

July 24, 2017 // 0 Comments

By MOLLY CHARBONEAU How to build genuine trust among labor, faith and community partners to create a powerful movement is the universal message of Jonathan Rosenblum’s new book, “Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists and the Revival of the Labor Movement.” Rosenblum directed a groundbreaking Service Employees International Union campaign for a $15 minimum wage in the Seattle-Tacoma area — the first major initiative in the country to win this demand. Soon after, the Fight for $15 — which began when 100 fast-food workers walked off their jobs in New York City in 2012 — exploded nationwide. “But the campaign was about a lot more than just fair wages,” Rosenblum said. “It was, at its core, a struggle against the maldistribution of power in society.”This vision, echoing the earlier Occupy movement, attracted community and faith partners to the fight. In “Beyond [More...]

“Many are now afraid to sign up for insurance because of President Trump’s agenda against immigrants.”

July 18, 2017 // 0 Comments

Candido “Candy” Ramos, Certified Application Counselor, Local 1549 Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera One of the worst feelings possible is when you are in need of help and those people who could assist you refuse to do so. I have experienced this in my life and it is the reason why I love the job that I have, a career that revolves around helping people with something that they cannot take for granted — their health. Not only is it my job to help people when they need it, but I want to help people when they need it. I want them to never experience the kind of hopelessness I had to when I was on the other side of the table. As a Certified Application Counselor at New York City’s Department of Human Resources and Administration, I spend my days signing people up for medical coverage through either Medicaid or other affordable coverages. People tend to think that health insurance is too [More...]

Local 983 Member Jose Molina Detained by Federal Immigration Authorities

July 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS DC 37 Local 983 member Jose Molina was detained July 13 after going to 26 Federal Plaza to simply drop off his passport and tell his deportation officer of his next court date in May 2018. Instead, after four years at liberty, and for no apparent reason, Molina was re-detained. DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and Local 983 President Joe Puleo, City Council members Carlos Menchaca and Fernando Cabrera, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and other elected leaders and immigration advocates support Molina and are calling for his immediate release. Mr. Molina came to the United States as a lawful permanent resident from Panama when he was an 18-month-old infant — 38 years ago. He grew up in Brooklyn and has a wife and two young children. His story first appeared in the Public Employee Press in May and July-August 2017. A dedicated Associate Parks Service [More...]

A Tax Break for Union Workers

July 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

For once we have a tax break for the middle class instead of the 1 percent. A new state tax break for union dues will save an estimated 500,000 workers up to $35 million a year, or $70 for individuals.  This tax break pales in comparison to the state and federal tax breaks millionaires and billionaires receive. But the tax break helps put a little in our pockets during this new Gilded Age. Perhaps as important, this calls attention to our country’s vast inequality. From the 1920s to the early 1970s, economic inequality rose most of the time in the United States. Since then, the inequality of income and wealth has worsened so much that it is as bad as it was in the 1920s. So the new tax break is a small, but very welcome, step in the right direction. The New York State AFL-CIO pushed for union members to be able to get a tax break on their dues during deliberations over the new $153 [More...]

State Court Workers Win With New Contract

July 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

By GREGORY N. HEIRES State court workers represented by Local 1070 overwhelmingly approved a new contract that provides for 2 percent annual pay increases over three years. Members voted 687-54 in favor of the contract in a mail ballot vote tabulated on May 31. “We worked very hard on this contract, and we’re glad members recognized that in approving our new economic agreement,” said Fausto Sabatino, president of Local 1070 Court, County and Dept. of Probation Employees. “We didn’t have any givebacks. At a time when unions are under attack across the country, we were able to improve our contract, protect our benefits and get fair salary increases.” The contract boosts location pay — the extra compensation members receive for the high living expenses of New York City — and the longevity bonus for years of service. The contract, which runs from April 1, 2016, to March 31, [More...]

Staten Island Parks Worker Aids Storm Stella Victim

July 14, 2017 // 0 Comments

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS The last snow storm of the winter, Stella, barreled down on a shuttered New York City March 15 and claimed the life of a Staten Island man who had been revived by a quick-acting Local 1505 member. The man later died at the hospital, the victim of an apparent heart attack. City Parks Worker Albert Torres was driving a Parks Dept. vehicle to plow a Dongan Hill playground when he saw an elderly woman frantically waving. “I was coming down a side street and she flagged me down,” said Torres, who had been on duty since 5 a.m. The woman pointed to her son who was lying face up on the ground. He was white like a ghost and unconscious, Torres said. Edward Wilkinson, 47, collapsed while shoveling his aged parents’ sidewalk. Trained in CPR, Torres went to help the man. “I checked his pulse and breathing there, was no response,” Torres said. “His mother was [More...]

A Progressive Budget

July 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

By HENRY GARRIDO The new budget is a significant step forward for the city and the union. Our achievements resulted from our strong presence in the budget process. For months, we talked up our agenda — and this effort paid off. I am proud of our campaign and want to thank those of you who participated. We also appreciate the City Council and the de Blasio administration’s support for a progressive budget. The union’s mobilization campaign included news conferences; our annual City Council breakfast; rallies; visits to City Council members and discussions with Mayor Bill de Blasio; the testimony and attendance of local leaders, staff and members at the City Council, and coverage by our own newspaper, social media, and radio and TV shows. We don’t regard our budget activity as merely protecting our jobs. The budget is an expression of our vision of the role of government in [More...]

Union Solidarity with Immigrant Workers

July 12, 2017 // 0 Comments

By LAURIE STALNAKER The AFL-CIO is training union leaders and officials how to help protect undocumented immigrants. This is needed because the workers our unions represent are threatened daily by the possibility of raids and deportations under President Trump’s agenda. Union leaders and members will be trained to learn their rights and organize coalitions with elected officials and community leaders. That may come as a surprise to some people. People saw unions as being hostile to undocumented immigrants. These immigrants would, in past times, be seen as a way to drive wages down and be used by employers as strike-breakers. Does the recent organized labor support of immigrants contradict history? It depends upon which history you are talking about. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, early labor movements consisted of skilled trade unions. These crafts were the original basis [More...]

Why Unions Matter for Everybody

July 10, 2017 // 0 Comments

By ELAINE BERNARD The decline in strength, density and influence of the labor movement must be a concern for all of us — whether we are union members or not. It has led to stagnating and declining wages and benefits of workers, undermining the entire community. So let’s look a little closer at what unions do, for members, for employers and for the entire community. When union workers talk about the benefit of their union, they think of a wide variety of rights, services and benefits that the union offers: job security, salary protection, paid vacation, the promotion of consistent and fair treatment; a voice in scheduling; recognition and a premium for overtime; a say in hiring and promotion; a united voice in dealing with the employer; an impartial process for resolving complaints; protection against unfair treatment; a role in setting and enforcing occupation health and safety [More...]