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PEP May 2007
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Public Employee Press

Organizing victory brings new members

Assistant Clerical Division Director Eddie S. Gates introduces the division’s reps to new Local 1549 members.

The union 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.

“We 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 members—Enrollment 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.

Henryka Kloskwoska

Dilcia Gomez

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 union’s political activities. At the meeting, many MetroPlus workers signed up for PEOPLE, the political action committee of DC 37’s 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 don’t have the right to vote on contracts or choose their officers unless they are union members.

Assistant Clerical Division Director Eddie S. Gates introduced the division’s reps to the new members. The reps handle members’ workplace concerns and grievances, and they played an important role in the union’s 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.

The new members also heard from representatives of the union’s 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.






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