Public Employee Press
Organizing victory brings
Assistant Clerical Division
Director Eddie S. Gates introduces the divisions reps to new Local 1549
rolled out the red carpet for its newest members April 4. Workers from MetroPlus
attended an orientation meeting that evening to learn more about union benefits
and services and to hear a call to become union activists.
were delighted to encourage our new members to become active in the union and
to underscore our commitment to protecting their rights and providing services,
said Renee Gainer, assistant director of the Clerical-Administrative Division.
Gainer coordinated the organizing campaign that led the workers to join DC 37.
The new membersEnrollment Sales Representatives and Assistant ESRs
from the MetroPlus health maintenance organization at the Health and Hospitals
Corp. are members of Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549. Earlier
this year, MetroPlus workers chose DC 37 over the Organization of Staff Analysts
in February by a 149-to-64 vote. Henryka Kloskwoska amd Dilcia Gomez were among
the dozens who showed up April 4 to learn about their new union.
Local 1549 President
Eddie Rodriguez spoke about how aggressively the local defends the rights of its
nearly 18,000 members. He said the local plans to form a new chapter for the MetroPlus
workers so they will have their own elected representatives and shop stewards.
Local 1549 2nd Vice President Ralph Palladino, who was active in the organizing
drive, discussed the unions political activities. At the meeting, many MetroPlus
workers signed up for PEOPLE, the political action committee of DC 37s parent
union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
They also joined DC 37 by signing green membership cards. While most municipal
workers by law enjoy basic union protections and services, they dont have
the right to vote on contracts or choose their officers unless they are union
Assistant Clerical Division Director Eddie S. Gates introduced
the divisions reps to the new members. The reps handle members workplace
concerns and grievances, and they played an important role in the unions
two-year effort to organize the MetroPlus workers. Key support also came from
the staff of other DC 37 divisions and departments and from AFSCME.
new members also heard from representatives of the unions Health and Security
Plan, and its education, research, political action, safety and health, and legal
departments, as well as the executive office.
The orientation followed
up on our basic message during the organizing drive, which was to let the MetroPlus
folks know that DC 37 will always be there for them, said Clerical Division
Director Ronnie Harris.