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Volume 43 Number 11 December 2013

Ofcial Publication of Social Service Employees Union Local 371-DC 37 AFSCME, AFL-CIO

NYCHA: Can You Hear Us NOW?

NYCHA wants to privatize community and senior centers, but workers and residents fight back. page 3

Clarence Elie-Rivera

6 7 8 9 BCW Chapter: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor Executive Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor Women's Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor Committee of Concerned Social Workers: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor Black Heritage Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor

s the year comes to a close, we reect. We note the passing of the Man of the Century and a man for all times, former South African President Nelson Mandela. His legacy, life and effect on freedom is indisputable. He showed that humility and forgiveness are qualities that we should strive for. These qualities are not impediments to success but the foundation for greatness. He changed the world. Moving forward, the election of Bill de Blasio brings hope and a new vision. He is not a savior but will be a mayor with a progressive agenda. He vowed to change New York from a Tale of Two Cities to one that cares about all of its people. We say that a progressive agenda has to include strengthening the social safety net, advocating for affordable housing and the preservation of public housing. And without question, it includes settling our contracts with retroactivity and protecting our benets.

Moving Forward in the New Year

10 Latino Heritage Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor 15 Delegate Assembly: 6:30 p.m. 235 West 23rd Street, Advance Realty 16 Black Heritage Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor 22 Political Action Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor 27 Black Heritage Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor 29 Civilians in Law Enforcement: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor 30 Black Heritage Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor

[T]here are threats to and challenges for the labor movement.

As we move forward, there are threats to and challenges for the labor movement. A judge in the 6th District Federal Court ruled that the Michigan Constitutional provision protecting public employee pensions is null and void in bankruptcy proceedings. Thousands of Detroit retirees will either lose their pensions or have them greatly reduced. The implications of this decision are nationwide, including New York. And in Illinois, the legislature voted to reduce pensions and benets. Within our local, we continue the ghtback against layoffs in NYCHA. As negotiations continue to mitigate layoffs, we look forward to a change in a mayoral philosophy that seeks to privatize social and community services to one that recognizes the value of City-provided services. We continue to address the impact of the Medicaid Redesign Teams plan that contracted out the CASA and Lombardi programs. Although CASA was reduced and Lombardi eliminated, not one job has been lost, and no worker has been redeployed or involuntarily transferred. In fact, there are still discussions being held to bring new programs back in-house. We look forward to the future. We continue to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. The agenda is the same: Stop layoffs, strengthen the Union, get a contract and protect our benets and rights. We will ght back any effort to destroy us. We will not be divided by philosophy, gender, ethnicity or ideology. The Union is strongest when we come together for the common cause. The common cause is the Union. Happy Holidays to you and your families. God bless you. God bless the Union.

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 Juan Ortiz V.P. Negotiations & Research Rose Lovaglio-Miller V.P. Organization & Education Armenta Weekes 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

Anthony Wells

The Unionist|December 2013

NYCHA: Not Without a Fight

Last month, the Unionist reported on the Unions massive resistance effort against the New York City Housing Authoritys move to lay off more than 160 community and senior center workers and farm out community and senior centers to non-prot contractors.

hile SSEU Local 371 and its resident and labor allies have yet to achieve total and unconditional victory, there has been progress. The Unions research and negotiations section held several meetings with NYCHA management in order to get members transferred to other titles rather than being laid off, and has so far reduced the at-risk pool to 15. Even one lay off is one too many, said section VP Rose Lovaglio-Miller. But this is a welcome relief to a great majority of the people who were at risk, and it shows that we have avenues to place workers in other jobs rather than putting them on the unemployment rolls.

Big Rally
The coalition ghting the layoffs and the privatization staged a rally outside NYCHAs lower Manhattan headquarters last month. NYCHA center worker Sadie Sanders, a Union Executive Committee member and chapter chair, angrily told
Union President Anthony Wells rallied with workers and residents outside NYCHA's headquarters.

the crowd how NYCHA was shortsighted in its choice to balance its budgets off the backs of workers.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas, she said of the recent layoff notices with biting sarcasm. The Housing Authority doesnt understand, because they dont come out to the eld and see what we do every single day. We work by ourselves most of the time. We do 10 jobs. We get one paycheck and now they want to take our damn paycheck. Well, we are hear to tell them Hell no! Speaking to journalists during the rally, Union President Anthony Wells expressed outrage that NYCHA would try to outsource its community and senior services. Wells said that not only were these vital resources for the residents, but he also noted NYCHA workers do these jobs better and cheaper than outsourced labor. Wells stressed that agencies like NYCHA save costs by reducing the use of costly, inefcient consultants rather than laying off seasoned and dedicated employees. They want to privatize community services and senior centers, Wells
continued on page 8

Photos: Clarence Elie-Rivera

Picketers caught the attention of people passing by.

December 2013|The Unionist

Update on the Lloyd Permaul Case

THE AFSCME jUDIcIAL process is going forward in the case of SSEU Local 371 Vice President of Grievances and Legal Services Lloyd Permaul, who was suspended from his duties by the Executive Committee after he admitted to falsifying City timesheets.

Going Forward
AFSCME Judicial Chair Richard Abelson heard from both President Anthony Wells and the accused in a hearing held Dec. 5 at the Millennium Hotel in lower Manhattan. The Union and President Wells presented charges against the vice president, and the Union presented evidence that in addition to submitted falsied timesheets, Mr. Permaul also failed to acknowledge procedures mandated by

the Executive Committee and committed actions leading to a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Union. The chair will issue a ruling and, if necessary, issue a penalty

that could include removing the vice president from post and expulsion from the Union. Once the ruling and penalty are announced, either party will have the right to appeal

the decision to the full judicial panel. In the interim, Executive Assistant Shirley Gray is overseeing the grievances and legal services section of the Union.

Ensley Scholarship Fundraiser Still Room!

The First Fundraiser For The Charles Ensley Scholarship Will Take Place

Thursday, January 23, 2014

162-45 Crossbay Boulevard Howard Beach, NY 11414

6:00 to 11:00 p.m.

Individual tickets are $125, and a table for 10 is $1,000

For tickets and information contact Deborah Williams at (212)598-7050 or

The Unionist|December 2013


Keeping Our Kids Safe on the Streets

New York City streets are busy places, and with speeding cars, hordes of pedestrians and bikers zipping between the roads and sidewalks, they can be dangerous. Thats why people need to be educated about trafc safety starting at a young age. Luckily, the City has workers like Sheila Grant. Grant, who has worked at the Department of Transportations safety education and outreach program for two decades, goes to different schools all over the City four days out of the week to educate children about pedestrian safety. We target schools where there are fatalities or where someone has been hit by a vehicle, Grant said. In addition to doing trafc safety training, she helps coordinate different educational programs where students identify the safety problems in their communities and work with artists to develop trafc safety awareness signs. As an added bonus, the students get to visit the Citys sign-making shop in Maspeth, Queens. Its such a great experience for the children, Grant said. Grant started her work in education, both in the public and private sector, which is what drew her to this line of work. And she especially likes the fact that she gets to visit different parts of the City and see different communities. Every day is a new experience with different children, but its the same message, she said. Grant noted that over the course of her career, issues of trafc and pedestrian safety have changed and have become more challenging. There are a lot more issues, she said. There is a high volume of trafc now. You have texting and people talking on cell phones. A lot has happened in 20 years. You have more people on bicycles. Grant also hopes to get more involved with SSEU Local 371. She said it wasnt just important for job protections and to have a voice in the workplace, but that festive and social events brought members together and forged new relationships. We have a voice and we can advocate how to make change, she said. Were strong in numbers.

Sheila Grant brings the DOT's safety message to the schools.

Attention Recent SSEU Local 371 Graduates

SSEU Local 371s Social Work Month Celebration will take place on Friday, March 28, 2014 at DC 37 with an evening of music, food, speakers, and recognition of the Unions social workers. This event honors those Union members who have graduated from social work school in the past two years, said Executive Vice President Yolanda Pumarejo, the coordinator of the event and chairperson of the Unions Committee of Concerned Social Workers. We expect to have a great time this year, as always. All Local 371 members, family and friends are invited to attend the celebration, which will begin with a free buffet dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The program will follow, and is expected to end by 9:00 p.m. Attention Recent SSEU Local 371 Graduates: Please ll out the coupon below if you have graduated from social work school in the last two years, June 2012 or 2013, August 2012 or 2013, January 2013 or will graduate in January 2014, so that your name can be listed in the commemorative journal ad. The cutoff date to send in this form is March 14, 2014. Hundreds of Union members who received their MSWs have been honored at this event over the years. The cutoff date to send in your information is March 14, 2014. Please return to Yolanda Pumarejo, CCSW, SSEU Local 371, 817 Broadway, NY, NY 10003. Or you can fax to (212) 777-5528. I received my MSW in q June 2012 q January 2013 q January 2014 q June 2013 q August 2012 q August 2013

School_ ____________________________________________________________

DATE of graduation______________

name________________________________________________________________________________________________________ address___________________________________________________________________________________ city_ ______________________________________________ state_ _______________________________ apt. _ __________ Zip_____________

worK tel._ ________________________________________________ home tel._ __________________________________ s.s. #____________________________________________ civil service title______________________________________

job function_ _____________________________________________________________________________________________

December 2013|The Unionist


Jail Threat Lifted for Bell and Adams

n a dramatic turn of events, two former ACS workers implicated in the tragic death of 4-year-old Marchella Pierce, walked away from the case Dec. 17 without jail time and the virtual assurance of a clean record. Chereece Bell and Damon Adams had been charged with negligent homicide in the case of Pierce, who was starved to death by her mother, a charge SSEU Local 371 believed was politically motivated and baseless. However, the two agreed this month to a plea bargain that drops the top charge, while accepting misdemeanor charges. Bell and Adams will complete 350 and 500 hours, respectively, of community service with at-risk populations (Adams has opted to do his with at-risk youth).

End of a Saga
After the completion of the service, provided they arent convicted of another crime during that time, their criminal records will be wiped clean. Im relieved that this is over, Adams said upon leaving the courtroom. His lawyer, Anthony Grandinetti, said that Adams was a scapegoat of ACS and that the poor guy has been through hell. Attorney Joshua Horowitz, speaking for Bell, said that a major turning point for the case was a report by a Brooklyn grand jury in October stating that ACSs failure to act on recommendations to overhaul its practices resulted in the deaths of 19 children, vindicating the Unions argument that Bell, Adams and countless of other ACS workers had been buried under such a voluminous caseloads that attending

Damon Adams, top, and Chereece Bell, bottom, expressed relief after this month's plea agreement.

to all cases in a timely manner was physically impossible. I think thats the tip of the iceberg, Horowitz said, noting that while reforms have been made many other problems persist in the agency. It was a signicant report. As for the original charge of negligent homicide, a charge that the lawyers worked tire-

lessly to get dropped, he said that it was an abomination, and shouldnt have happened. SSEU Local 371, while not providing direct legal counsel in the case, worked closely with the two former members since they were charged in early 2011. Union members held several rallies, including one outside Bell and Adamss

north Brooklyn ACS ofce and outside the Brooklyn District Attorneys ofce. Rank-and-le members packed the courtroom each time Bell and Adams had a scheduled court appearance. Bell is currently employed at the Unions Welfare Fund. Union President Anthony Wells said after the court appearance, We support the decisions of Chereece Bell and Damon Adams to end this unfair and outrageous prosecution and persecution. They should never have been put in this situation. They now can move forward with their lives. We will continue to support them in any possible way. Horowitz also blasted a sensationalist press for portraying Bell and Adams as criminals during the ordeal, even though our justice system ensures that anyone charged is innocent until proven guilty. Isnt it just a shame? How do you undo it? Horowitz asked. How do you give a person their life back after that?
The Unionist|December 2013

Photos: Michel Friang

2013: A Victorious Year in Review

s the year draws to a close, we have a lot to celebrate, including a lot of victories and highlights that show the power of our mighty, mighty Union. Just to name a few: e saved all at-risk jobs W at CASA. e have avoided any W layoffs in the Lombardi program, with no forced redeployments.  I n August, we saved more than 500 jobs at NYCHA.  T he Sup I Social Service and Social Worker list has been extended to February 2015.  T he Associate Fraud Investigator list has been extended to October 2014 for a second time.

e held a follow-up W Delegate Training in March in lower Manhattan and a wellattended three-day training in upstate New York in October.  T he Union held 120 Delegate elections, up from 64 the previous year.  T he Union campaigned during the political season, which helped bring in a new mayor, comptroller, public advocate, Brooklyn district attorney, and borough presidents for Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as 19 new city council members.

President Anthony Wells said, We believe that with this momentum, we can come out stronger in 2014, to demand

fair wages and a fair contract. We think this is evidence of what happens when the Union stands united. He added, This year has

shown that this Union isnt about making statements or platitudes. Its about getting positive results for our members and the City.


December 2013|The Unionist

Brooke McGowen

Condolences are extended to Jovan Roman, Alternate Delegate based at HRA/FIA Unit, on the death of her father-in-law, who died Nov. 24. Condolences may be sent to Jovan and Mark Roman, 80 Paladino Avenue, #2G, New York, NY 10035. Condolences are extended to Denise Jones, Technical Assistance Specialist, FSS/Ofce of Preventative Technical Assistance at 150 William Street, 2nd Floor, NY, NY 10038, on the death of her grandmother, Gwendolyn Hodge, who died Nov. 6. Condolences can be sent to Denise Jones, 181 Gordon Street, #2F, Staten Island, NY 10304 Condolences are extended to the family of Alma Florido of the Division of Fair Hearing. Condolences may be sent to Alejandra and Omar Otero, 3458 74th St., Jackson Heights, NY 11372.
Social Service Employees Union Local 371 817 Broadway New York, N.Y. 10003

Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY

Computer System Update

his fall the Union was happy to report that the Health and Welfare Fund planned to update its computer systems to allow for members to access their benets online. Heres some more good news: The Unions hardworking web and computer systems team states that it expects for members to be able to access dental and optical benets records online by the end of January. The team is currently going through the system to double and triple check security mechanisms and compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The Union will notify members when the system is online. There will also be a number to call to inquire about these

SWAP- Caseworker at HRA/ HASA Waverly 12 West 14th Street, Manhattan would like to swap with a Caseworker at Amsterdam HASA 400 8th Avenue, Manhattan. If interested, call (212) 620-9427. SWAP- Job Opportunity Specialist at HRA/Homeless Division in the Bronx would like to swap with a Job Opportunity Specialist in Brooklyn or Manhattan location. If interested, call (347) 243-7958. SWAP- Caseworker at the Barbara S. Kleinman Residence in Greenpoint, Brooklyn would like to swap with a Caseworker at 30th Street Assessment Shelter in Manhattan. If interested, call (347) 515-0317. SWAP- Hospital Care Investigator at 234 East 149th Street in the Bronx would like to swap with a Hospital Care Investigator at Jacobi Hospital. If interested, call (718) 790-0157. SWAP- Job Opportunity Specialist at HRA Center #23 2322 Third Avenue, Manhattan would like to swap with a worker at Center #13 at 12 West 14th Street, Manhattan. If interested, call (347) 405-0040


Mandatory Dues Increase

As per the constitution of the American Federation of County, State and Municipal Employees, all SSEU Local 371 members will receive a $0.25 increase in dues per biweekly pay period effective Jan. 1, 2014. The Union thanks members for their understanding.

new computerized benets. And as always, members will still have the option to come into the ofce to inquire about their benets.

NYCHA: Not Without a Fight

continued from page 3

Educational Fund Offers Prep Course

The Educational Fund is offering an online Civil Service Examination Preparation Course for the Child Protective Specialist and the Job Opportunity Specialist. The online course will be available at: The exams will be given at computerized testing and application centers and will be offered from January, 2014 through June, 2014. For additional information, please call the Welfare Fund at (212) 777-9000 x3065.

said. But the whole operation, with no commitment to providing real services directly by NYCHA, is a problem. These workers have been working in NYCHA for a lot of years. They gave their life and blood to this agency. And now, because their philosophy is to get out of the business. Resident and community groups like Community Voices Heard were in attendance at the rally, which was organized by Local 375 of District Council 37, which is also devoted to keeping agency jobs in-house. The coalition was quick to point out that the message wasnt just about keeping the jobs, but for preserving the integrity of

public housing in a city where affordable housing is in dangerously short supply. Eugene Woody, a resident of the Fredrick Douglass Houses and a public housing activist, marched and spoke in solidarity with the workers. He made the salient point that not only do residents rely on workers like SSEU Local 371 members, but that many of those members are also tenants. The Union is remaining hopeful that after January 1 it will be able to negotiate with the new mayor, Bill de Blasio, who has shown more willingness to work with unions and invest in public works like NYCHA.
The Unionist|December 2013