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Official Publication of Social Service Employees Union Local 371-DC 37 AFSCME, AFL-CIO
We Stopped the Layoffs— So Let’s Stop the Cuts!
SSEU LocaL 371 scored a major victory last month. After an electrifying rally on the steps of City Hall May 22 with Union members and social service advocates, Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Ronald Richter told City Council Members that there would be no layoffs in the agency in the proposed budget. “It is a major sign of this Union’s strength that we were able to push these two dozen layoffs off the table,” President Anthony Wells said. He added that the victory was a result of the Union’s outreach to City Council Members, many of whom came out to support the Union and social service
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SSEU Local 371 members rallied at City Hall to show that they opposed cuts to social services. The Union later learned that there would be no layoffs in ACS.
Chapter Elections Results
Jewish Heritage Celebration
Your Rights under the FMLA
13 Women’s Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Office, 12th Floor 19 Alumni Association: 2 p.m. Union Office, 12th Floor 25 General Membership Meeting: 6:30 p.m. Advance Realty Building, 235 West 23rd St., Manhattan 27 Delegate Assembly: 6:30 p.m. Advance Realty Building, 235 West 23rd St., Manhattan 29 Caribbean Heritage Celebration: 5:30 p.m. DC 37, 125 Barclay Street, Manhattan
n behalf of the Officers and Staff of SSEU Local 371, I want to wish everyone a safe and wonderful summer. We encourage everyone who can to take some time off. Whether you go to some hot vacation spot, attend family reunions or just stay home, the time you have accrued you have earned, and it is yours to use as you like. We also extend congratulations to those members and their family members who have graduated. We are sure that the pride you feel is beaming from your hearts to your faces. We continue to encourage and support anyone who seeks a higher education. Historically, the summer provides us with an opportunity to slow down. Generally, business is conducted, but at a reduced pace. However, it is not a time to let our guard down or rest on our laurels. We still face serious challenges and our campaigns are ongoing. We have been successful with stopping the layoffs in ACS. For the first time in the past four years, ACS workers will not have to wait until June 30 to find out if they will be able to put food on their families’ tables. We were able to work with the agency and members of the City Council to prevent the layoffs. However, we still face one layoff in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Once again, we will put our efforts into stopping any layoff. One layoff is one layoff too many.
5 9 Executive Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Office, 12th Floor Latino Heritage Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Office, 12th Floor
11 Women’s Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Office, 12th Floor 17 Alumni Association: 2 p.m. Union Office, 12th Floor 18 Delegate Assembly: 6:30 p.m. Advance Realty Building, 235 West 23rd St., Manhattan 25 Political Action Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Office, 12th Floor Civilians Law Enforcement: 6:30 p.m. Union Office, 15th Floor
We will use this time to strengthen our resolve.
As we go to press, the Assault Bill has not been passed yet. We continue our push to get the Assembly to pass the bill. We are reaching out to the leadership to get them to understand the importance of this bill. We are not seeking to criminalize clients, but ensuring that social service workers go home from work the same way they arrived. Finally, the push to save CASA and the jobs of more than 700 workers is stronger than ever. We have a print and radio media campaign. Our ad has appeared in several small market publications such as the Amsterdam News, El Diario and Caribbean Life. We bought airtime on 1010 WINS and plan to do additional radio spots. Our talks with the agency continue, as we seek to find alternative programs. At the same time we are forming coalitions with community groups and planning a field operation to address Senior Citizen Centers. The summer is upon us and we will recharge our batteries. We will enjoy some time away. However, we will use this time to strengthen our resolve. Let us stay steadfast in our commitment and mission. We will continue our fightback anywhere and everywhere there are challenges. Have a great summer. – Anthony Wells
SSEU LOCAL 371’s Educational Fund will offer an Online Civil Service Examination Preparation Course for the Job Opportunity Specialist exam, #2347. The online course will be available on the Union’s website, http://civil-tt.sseu371. org, from June 11, 2012 through June 30, 2012. Study guides are also available and can be picked up at the Welfare Fund Office located at 817 Broadway, 15th floor beginning June 11, 2012, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Please bring your ID.
Published monthly except for a combined issue in July/ August and a Supplement in January by the Social Service Employees Union Local 371, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO. Subscription Price $2.00 annually. Periodical postage paid at New York, N.Y. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: The Unionist, SSEU Local 371, 817 Broadway, N.Y., N.Y. 10003. USPS# 348990 (212) 677-3900 ISSN# 0041-7092 President Anthony Wells Executive Vice President Yolanda Pumarejo Secretary-Treasurer Joe Nazario V.P. Negotiations & Research Rose Lovaglio-Miller V.P. Organization & Education Ingrid Beaumont V.P. Grievances & Legal Services Lloyd Permaul V.P. Publicity & Community Relations Patricia Chardavoyne V.P. Legislation & Political Action Michelle Akyempong Trustees Vincent Ciccarello Yolanda DeJesus Melva Scarborough Editor Ari Paul Visit us on the web at www.sseu371.org
The Unionist | June 2012
on thE Front LinES
ops get lionized in television dramas and the front pages of tabloid newspapers. But the public never really gets to see the civilian workers who work hard everyday to make sure the New York Police Department runs safely and efficiently. SSEU Local 371 member Kenneth Wallace, a Midtown-based Police Attendant with 25 years on the job, is one of the nearly 100 workers who are dedicated to “safeguarding prisoners.” What that means is that people like Wallace are responsible for an arrested person’s wellbeing from the moment they are brought by police officers into the precinct or booking office to the moment they are released. On top of that, they perform the type of back-end duties that make it possible for the criminal justice system to function smoothly.
Securing the City–Without a Badge or a Gun
“they have tried to fade our title out,” and that Police Attendants are forced to do more with less— there were 300 people in his title a quarter century ago. Now there are about 100, he said, and he is the only one working in his Midtown location.
Police Attendants are still The NYPD relies on Police Attendants like Kenneth Wallace. only given $100 a “We are the forgotten people who work year to clean their uniforms, and they’ve been working with the same uniform for for PD,” Wallace said. the past 25 years. Wallace also takes care of sick people Investing in Police Attendants is to who are arrested. This job duty raises the benefit of the public, Wallace said, an on-the-job health concern, but also in particular because if there are more speaks volumes about how these nonuniformed public servants are responsible back-end workers in precincts and in the for making the criminal justice system as courts, police officers can spend more time on the streets fighting crime. humane as possible. “We want more Police Attendants,” he Wallace wants the NYPD to know how vital this type of work is, noting that said.
Forgotten by PD
Wallace explained how he “does finger prints” and looks after the possessions of arrested people, ensuring that they come back to the person upon release. Police Attendants also do “light clerical work,” he said, which includes filing rosters and other administrative paperwork that supports front-line police work.
Chapter Officer Election Results
The Union is pleased to announce the newly elected chapter officers. BCW: Chairperson Mary Myers, Vice Chairperson Brenda Cunningham, Secretary Brenda Defares, Publicity/ Organization Chair Omogo AwannaWheeler, Grievances Chair Richard Bond, Legislation and Political Action Chair Pasqual Gomez. HRA: Chairperson Sylvia Quinones, Vice Chairperson Eva Allen, Vice Chairperson DYCD Madelyn Morales, Vice Chairperson SBS Leonard Spells, Grievances Chair Sherrin Lockett, Publicity Chair Yvon Alexis and Recorder Karen Hill. SSEU Chapter: Chairperson Anthony Sweeney, Vice Chairperson Juanita Ancrum, Vice Chairperson of
June 2012 | The Unionist
Organization Ralph Garcia, Director of Grievances Geraldine Bryan, Director of Publicity Chukemeka Nwaogwugwu, Secretary Eduardo Sanchez and Officersat-Large Hector Austin, Derrick Carr, Ednita Cheeks, Vanessa Cummings, Rick DeAriaz, Diedre Hayes, Pauline Moore and William Pippen. HHC: Chairperson Eugene Jones, Vice Chairperson Hector Rodriguez, Vice Chairperson of Grievances John Vargas, Vice Chairperson of Organization Sandra Saez, Vice Chairperson of Publicity Harry Sims and Secretary Patricia Ross. Shelters: Chairperson Joe Myrick, First Vice Chairperson Theodor Baker, Second Chairperson Julia Pabon and Secretary Allene Banks. Dept. of Health: Chairperson Bertha
Joyner and Vice Chairperson Rafael Molina. Civilians in Law Enforcement: Chairperson Efrain Quintana, Vice Chairperson Elma Reeves, Recording Secretary Cheryl Williamson and Corresponding Secretary Richard Gross. HPD: Chairperson Debbie Timothy, Vice Chairperson Lenny James, Secretary Diane Handleman and Parliamentarian Fredrick Wiley. Community Service: Chairperson Juan Ortiz, Vice Chairperson Sadie Sanders, Publicity Chairperson Americo Santiago, Secretary Vicky Lamb, Grievance Coordinator Nancy Quinones, Director for Sanitation Jerome Lane, Director for HA Tischa Merritt and Director for DEP Perry Roble.
Jewish Heritage Celebration 2012
Comedy, music, dancing, good food, and a devotion to social justice. Those were the themes of this year’s Jewish Heritage Celebration May 24 at DC 37 headquarters.
The annual celebration, originally launched by SSEU Local 371, serves as a reminder to the role Jews have played in the labor movement and civil service. In giving the evening’s invocation, NYPD Senior Chaplain and Local 299 member Rabbi Dr. Alvin chairs the DC 37 Jewish Heritage Committee. “It has the ideals of social justice and fights for them in a pragmatic way.” In light of that, the evening’s keynote speaker, Mark Weitzman, director of government affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, spoke of his organization’s tireless battles against racial and religious intolerance in the United States and around the world. City Comptroller John Liu also addressed the crowd. The words were clearly inspiring for the audience, but the evening wasn’t all seriousness. Members and their families danced through the tables and chairs to the traditional Yiddish sounds of Howard Leshaw and Company, a band featured on the PBS special, “In the Fiddler’s House.” To top it off, DC 37 members were treated to the edgy comedy of Michele Balan, voted one of the “top 10 comics” by Backstage Magazine and featured on Last Comic Standing. SSEU Local 371 senior advisor Larry Glickson and dedicated member and retiree Diane Silver also addressed the crowd.
Kass spoke about the parable in which a father tells his son that the greatest gift is the gift of vision. “The Union has vision,” he said after an introduction from Dr. Leonard Davidman, who
“Nights like this are the perfect mix of recognizing the Jewish ideal of social justice and having a good time,” said SSEU Local 371 President Anthony Wells. “Those things define our Union, too.”
4 The Unionist | June 2012
Clockwise from left: The Howard Leshaw and Company band let one crowd member join in to sing in Yiddish, Comptroller John Liu, Mark Weitzman, members and their families danced the night away, Michele Balan, Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass and Larry Glickson.
Photos Pages 4-5: Ari Paul
June 2012 | The Unionist
Political Power—We have it, Big time
Union has political power when elected officials can see the unity in a strong rankand-file. That is exactly what happened May 23 at the Union’s last Political Action Committee meeting, when candidates for public office came to address members and explain how they will fight for labor and social services. City Councilman Charles Barron, who is running for Congress, may have made headlines when he got the District Council 37 endorsement at City Hall the next day, but he came to SSEU Local 371 specifically to dedicate his strength to social service workers. This Union is backing Councilman Barron because he has been a tenacious fighter for social services and other City workers, and has resisted the outsourcing of public services.
In addition, the Union’s PAC meeting heard from District Leader Olanike Alabi, who is running for State Assembly, and Mr. Barron’s wife, State Assembly Member Inez Barron, both of whom reasserted their support for New York City’s working men and women.
Dedication Is Key
It is of paramount importance that Union members work to get these kinds of people elected to public office. With dedicated friends like these in Albany and in City Hall, we can do things like pass the Assault Bill, stop funding cuts to social service agencies and preserve rights and benefits for our members. We have a dedicated team working at the Union to reach out to these politicians, but it is the membership
that makes us powerful. When politicians come into our Union office or to the steps of City Hall and shake members’ hands, they will know the faces of the people who they are advocating for. When they see our banners flying high at rallies, they see how powerful and important our members are. So we encourage members to participate in our political outreach. This year we have to concentrate on making sure Washington will be a friendly place for working people. Next year it will be time for us to make a change in City Hall. The Union’s membership knows what challenges are ahead. Together we can change our destiny for the better. We are a mighty Union.
–Michelle Akyempong, Vice President of Political Action
A Loyal Ally
In fact, the day before the PAC meeting, Barron joined SSEU Local 371 members and other activists on the steps of City Hall to say that he would not vote for a budget that cuts funding to vital social services. Just hours after the demonstration, the Union was pleased to learn that the Administration of Children’s Service would not cut two dozen jobs as it had previously announced.
City Council Member Charles Barron spoke to our membership about the importance of social services and fighting outsourcing.
The Unionist | June 2012
Your Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act
ll Union members who meet the qualifications described later in this article have the absolute right under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to 12 weeks of leave in a 12month period for child care or for the serious health condition of the employee or covered family members. These FMLA provisions apply to all full-time and part-time competitive and non-competitive employees, including provisional, temporary and even seasonal employees. It has come to the attention of the Union that certain agencies are claiming that the FMLA does not apply to non-competitive employees. This is wrong. If you are a non-competitive employee who has been denied FMLA leave on the basis of your non-competitive status, contact the Union and we will help you receive the leave to which you are entitled under the law. In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, you must have worked for the City for a total of at least 12 months, and have actually worked 1,250 hours (not counting periods of approved leave) prior to the start of your leave. The 12 months does not have to be consecutive. If you are on payroll for any part of a week, that week counts as a week of employment.
ous health condition, or for your own serious health condition. You may also take this leave in the event of a serious health condition of your domestic partner, if you have one. A serious health condition means an injury, illness impairment or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. It includes inpatient care (overnight stay) in a hospital,
a doctor’s certification of the medical necessity for leave on an intermittent or reduced leave basis. You must try to schedule your leave so as not to unreasonably disrupt the agency’s operations.
FMLA leave is unpaid leave. If you have sick leave, annual leave or compensatory leave balances at the time of your request for FMLA leave, those sick leave, annual leave, and compensatory leave balances must be used during your approved FMLA leave. Time during which you receive sick leave or annual leave payments from your leave balances will be counted against your 12-week FMLA entitlement. Time during which you use your compensatory leave balances will not be counted toward your 12week FMLA entitlement. When you know in advance that you will require an FMLA leave of absence, you are required to submit a request for FMLA leave as soon as possible. If your leave requirement is the result of an unforeseen emergency, you should submit your request for FMLA leave as soon as possible. You may be required to provide medical verification where the leave request is related to illness. The FMLA assures you that your job will be waiting for you when you are ready to return to work following the leave. You should take full advantage of it as necessary. Make sure you have obtained the necessary leave request forms from your agency. If you are denied your request for FMLA leave for any reason not described in this article, be sure to contact the Union so that we can investigate the denial and make sure that it is proper. If you have any questions regarding anything contained in this article, contact the Grievances and Legal Services section of the Union office. –Lloyd Permaul, VP of Grievances and Legal Services
If you meet these eligibility requirements, you are entitled to a total of 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period. You may take leave for the birth of a child, to care for the child, or upon the placement of a child with you for foster care or adoption. (FMLA child care leave rights expire 12 months after the birth or placement of the child.) You may also take the leave for the care of the child when the child has a serious health condition, or to care for your parent or spouse when they have a seri-
hospice or residential medical facility, and also includes any period of incapacity, and any subsequent treatment, related to such inpatient care. The 12-month period in which the 12 weeks of leave entitlement occurs is a “rolling” 12-month period measured backward from the date any FMLA leave is used. Whenever you take an FMLA leave, your leave entitlement is the balance of the 12 weeks that had not been used during the immediate preceding 12 months. FMLA leave taken for your own serious health condition or to care for your covered relative’s serious health condition may be taken on an intermittent basis or reduced leave schedule in cases of medical necessity. This would apply, for example, where chemotherapy treatments may be required on a weekly basis. You will be required to provide
June 2012 | The Unionist
Condolences are extended to former co-worker Jesus Hernandez, of BEV Queens Field Office and the nephew Sidney Hernandez of the Bronx Field Office, on the death of his son, Gabriel Hernandez of the Bronx BEV Field Office, who died May 29. Condolences are extended to Sylvia Hambright, Director of the Burial Claims Unit HRA/FIA in Brooklyn, on the death of her babysitter, Mary R. E. Brown of Danville, Virginia, who died May 29. Condolences can be sent to Sylvia Hambright, 720 East 79th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11236. Condolences are extended to Sheila Aniekwe, Job Opportunity Specialist at the Rockaway Model Job Center, on the death of her brother, Barrister Winkey Echezona, who died May 3. Condolences can be sent to Ms. Sheila Aniekwe, 57-07 Shorefront Parkway, # 910, Auburn, NY 11692. Condolences are extended to Lorraine Hill, Caseworker at HASA Brownsville, 94 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, on the death of his sister, Geraldine Hill, who died May 2. Condolences are extended to Mercedes Wolff, Job Opportunity Specialist I, at Crotona Job Center #46, on the death of her sister, Ms. Addy R. Hagstrom, who died April 15. Condolences can be sent to Ms. Wolff, 8 Magraw Place, #34B, New York, NY 10033. Condolences are extended to Robert Wiggins of DHS at 33 Beaver Street, Room 1512F, New York, NY 10003, on the death of his sister, Sharon Stephenson, who died February 25.
Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY Social Service Employees Union Local 371 817 Broadway New York, N.Y. 10003
Let’s Stop the cuts!
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Get Well Wishes
Get Well Wishes for Senior Fraud Investigator Crystal Griffin, at IREA/BEV 250 Livingston Street, 6th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201, who is at home recovering from a car accident. Get Well Wishes for Fraud Investigator Madeline Coles, at IREA/BEV 250 Livingston Street, 6th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201, who was recently released from the hospital. Get Well Wishes for Associated Fraud Investigator I Richard Albreaut, at IREA/BEV 250 Livingston Street, 6th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201, who is in North Shore Hospital. Get Well Wishes for Associate Fraud Investigator I Lavonia Googe, at IREA/BEV 250 Livingston Street, Brooklyn NY 11201 6th Floor, who is in the hospital. Get Well Cards can be sent to: IREA/BEV 250 Livingston Street, 6th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
advocates to fight back against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s cuts to social services. (Read more about the Union’s political outreach on Page 6.) Even with the threat of layoffs at ACS gone, more needs to be done. The Union is committed to working with City Council Members to reduce the cuts. “These programs serve the most vulnerable,” said Vice President of Political Action Michelle Akyempong. “This is the richest city in the country, the center of financial innovation. So don’t tell families who need jobs, child care and affordable food that there’s no money to support these vital programs.”
SSEU Local 371 has also been active in supporting campaigns to fight cuts in other parts of the budget. President Wells spoke to a thunderous crowd of hundreds of parents and children on Broadway by City Hall Park to protest the Bloomberg administration’s cuts to day-care centers. “We are here in solidarity with parents, children and our sisters and brothers in District Council 1707,” he said. “This is one struggle. We are united.”
In addition, even though the layoffs have been avoided, the ACS frontlines are still understaffed after five years of budget cuts. Wells told The Chief-Leader in an interview that the Union would push forward to restore those jobs. “This is the time to beef up now, because the need for services is high,” he said.
SWAP- SUP I at Long Term Home Health Care Program at 30 Rockwell Place in Brooklyn would like to swap to a Sup I non-field position in Lower Manhattan or Midtown Manhattan. If interested, call (718) 330-2293. SWAP- JOS at (Center 17) 132 West 125th Street in Manhattan would like to swap with JOS at (Center 47) 275 Bergen Street, Brooklyn. If interested, call (917) 306-2030. SWAP- Caseworker at HHC at 3424 Kossuth Avenue in the Bronx would like to swap with Caseworker in Manhattan or Brooklyn. If interested, call (718) 642-7451. SWAP- Community Assistant at 78 Catherine Street would like to swap with Community Assistant at 300 Skillman Avenue, Brooklyn. If interested, call (212) 877-4434. SWAP- AJOS at (Center 67) 45 Hoyt Street, Brooklyn would like to swap with AJOS at (Center 54) 165-08 88th Street, Jamaica, Queens. If interested, contact (347) 995-6127. SWAP- Caseworker at OCSE in Manhattan would like to swap with Field Caseworker in HASA in Brooklyn or any non-field position in Brooklyn or Manhattan. If interested, call (917) 723-0956. SWAP- Caseworker at HASA in Manhattan Homemaking Unit non-field position. Would like to swap with Caseworker in Queens. If interested, contact (212) 620-9817
SSEU LOCAL 371 extends congratulations and warm wishes to Gerald McEntee, our International President, on his retirement. We salute his 32 years of outstanding leadership and of being a powerful voice for workers, as well as his contributions to the growth of the public sector labor movement and an expanded, diversified middle class.
Caribbean Heritage Celebration
SSEU Local 371’s annual Caribbean Heritage Celebration will take place on Friday evening, June 29. This year, our celebration will be a tribute honoring calypso singer Slinger Francisco, also known as the Mighty Sparrow. Also performing will be Natasha Wilson, Raymond Raymo, Karen Fancisco “Phoenix,” Poser and Pan Sonatas. The event begins at 5:00 pm at District Council 37, 125 Barclay Street in lower Manhattan. SSEU Local 371 members, families and friends are welcome to come out to the event, which features good Caribbean food, music, speakers and more. The event is free of charge for all.
8 The Unionist | June 2012
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?