Public Employee Press
Political Action 2012
City Council breakfast
Union blasts Tier 6, contracting waste and Medicaid cuts
Spreading our political message
By ALFREDO ALVARADO
The union's battles against Mayor Bloomberg's persistent contracting out of city services and jobs and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Tier 6 pension reductions and Medicaid cuts were the hot topics on the agenda at the union's annual City Council breakfast meeting on Feb. 22.
DC 37 Political Action Director Wanda Williams welcomed members and their staff from 49 City Council districts, led by Speaker Christine Quinn, and numerous DC 37 local leaders, who applauded the Council members for overriding Bloomberg's veto of a bill tightening restrictions on contracting out.
Williams laid out the union's priorities, which include fighting to restore health insurance benefits for retired members of Local 2021, who worked at the defunct Off-Track Betting Corp. "We will not rest until we make these members whole," she promised. A letter signed by 39 council members was sent to the governor urging him to restore the benefits of over 1,000 retirees.
City should pay
Executive Director Lillian Roberts pledged that DC 37 would keep fighting for laid-off members. "The people who lost their jobs should be compensated when the money that the mayor wasted on the fraud and overspending of the contracted-out CityTime payroll project is returned," she said. "The only way to stop this waste is to make the city pay for it."
Speaker Quinn said she supports the union's aggressive campaign against the contracting out of city services. "It's unthinkable that the budget for contracting out continues to grow," she said. Quinn pledged to keep the lines of communication with DC 37 open. "We won't always agree on everything, but we'll always have an open dialogue with DC 37," she said.
Local 372 VP Glenn Blacks, Council member Darlene Mealy and Local 154's Juan Fernandez.
In his presentation, DC 37 Associate Director Henry Garrido called the administration's contracting out a "stealth attack against this union."
City Council member James Sanders and Local 957 President Walthene Primus at breakfast.
Senior Assistant Director of Research and Negotiations Moira Dolan closed the meeting with a briefing on the state's Medicaid Redesign Team plan, which threatens 700 Local 371 Caseworker jobs and 1,500 Local 1549 Eligibility Specialist jobs at the Human Resources Administration over the next two years. Under the proposed plan, clients would be moved to managed care and the eligibility process would be automated using a statewide call center to enroll patients. The union has called for modifying the plan to move the assessment function, done by Caseworkers and Supervisors, back to HRA.
"Enrollment and eligibility functions must be done by civil service merit employees, and we will oppose any waiver to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services that would do otherwise," explained Dolan.
After the presentations, many of the local leaders and City Council members remained to discuss legislative proposals face-to-face.
| PEP photos by EJ Dobson and Alfredo Alvarado|
Members of the City Council and local presidents at the annual DC 37 City Council breakfast at union headquarters.