District Council 37
NEWS & EVENTS Info:
(212) 815-7555
HOME    |   ABOUT    |   JOIN    |   NEWS    |   BENEFITS    |   SERVICES    |   CONTRACTS    |   POLITICS    |   CONTACT US    |   SEARCH   |   + MENU
Newsroom
News Releases
  Press Coverage
  News Photos
  Public Employee Press
   

PEP Feb 2011
Table of Contents
    Archives
 
  La Voz
Latinoamericana
  Radio Show
  TV Show
  DC 37 White Papers
     
 

Public Employee Press

Organizing VICTORY!


ORGANIZERS: Ramon Marrero, Nicole Laing and Ana Nowlan, standing, with Secretary Tavia Hartley and Director Mario Dartayet-Rodriguez of the DC 37 Organizing Dept. Other key participants in the Customer Information Representative organizing drive included union reps Melroy Slowe, Eddie Douglass, and Paul Joachim, as well as Clerical-Administrative Division Dir. Ronnie Harris, White Collar Division Dir. Mike Riggio, Local 957 Shop Steward Teresa Jackson and Jim Cullen of DC 37's national union.

By GREGORY N. HEIRES

Looking forward to greater job security with union representation during a period of high unemployment, a group of clerical workers voted overwhelmingly Jan. 4 to join DC 37.

The Customer Information Representatives supported DC 37 over another union by a 22-10 vote in a mail-ballot election that the Office of Collective Bargaining counted. DC 37 competed to represent the workers in a runoff vote after none of the three unions in a previous election got a majority.

"We are happy to have these new members as part of our union family," said Eddie Rodriguez, president of Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549, which will represent the workers at city agencies. Local 957 will represent the CIRs at the Housing Authority.

A strong voice in the workplace

"We appreciate the faith the workers have put in the union, and they can count on us to help provide them with a strong voice in the workplace," Local 957 President Walthene Primus said. All told, 50 CIRs work in city agencies and the Housing Authority.

Dolly King, now retired, was one of the key activists in the union's organizing drive. She'd been a member of Local 1549 before becoming a CIR, a nonunion title created a couple of years ago, at the Transportation Dept.

"I believe in unions very strongly," said King, 70. She said she was always happy with the support she received from DC 37 when she was a clerical worker in Local 1549 - and she shared her strong feelings with her coworkers.

"This is an important victory in a period when public-sector unions like DC 37 are enduring some losses," said Mario Dartayet-Rodriguez, director of the DC 37 Organizing Dept. "We look forward to building on the momentum of the CIR win."

"When we see the opportunity to bring the benefits of the union to new members, we are going to organize aggressively," said Eddie Rodriguez. "Workers like the Customer Information Representatives are part of our future."

A hostile manager

"Particularly for the younger people, job security is a big issue," said Local 1549 Recording Secretary Carmen Flores, who worked on the drive along with 2nd Vice President Ralph Palladino.

The organizing campaign was carried out over several months. It involved home visits, work site visits and distributing literature about the benefits of union representation.

Organizers Nicole Laing, Ramon Marrero and Ana Nowlan said the CIRs were very receptive to the union's outreach. In particular, they said the workers were attracted to the union's benefits package and the clout DC 37 offered during tough economic times. Predictably, management sometimes put up roadblocks.

Marrero recalled the time a manager prevented him and White Collar Rep Paul Joachim from holding a lunch meeting at a Housing Authority site.

"As soon as we walked out of the building, workers ran out and said, 'They treated you like they treat us. They don't have respect for us. They yell at us.' "

Rodriguez attributed the strong vote for DC 37 in part to the hard work of the union's organizers and local leaders, field staff in the White Collar and Clerical divisions, union lawyers and PEP graphic artists.


"I have been involved with DC 37 for more than 13 years. I greatly appreciate all they have done for me. I love this union."

— Dolly King

Customer Information Representative


"DC 37 is the best option for protecting our livelihood. DC 37 is a strong union that can handle grievances, achieve salary increases and protect workers. It is also important to have strong health benefits."

— Robert Ebanks

Customer Information Representative


"Strength is in the union for job security, health benefits and protection of rights as a worker. If anything happens I can turn to my union."

— Maggie Maldonado

Customer Information Representative


"I am voting DC 37 because of their strong presence and their great benefits."

— Francisca Perez

Customer Information Representative


 
© District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO | 125 Barclay Street, New York, NY 10007 | Privacy Policy | Sitemap