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Volume 44 Number 1 January 2014

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

No Layoffs at NYCHA

Union Saves All Jobs

With a rank-and-le led campaign, the Union fought back against a move to lay off 150 public housing workers. Heres how we did it.

See story on page 4.

23 Charles Ensley Scholarship Dinner: 6:00 p.m. 163-45 Cross Bay Blvd., Queens. Russos on the Bay (Tickets required) 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

A New Year, Started Off Right

5 7 Executive Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor Black Heritage Celebration: 5:30 p.m. DC 37, 125 Barclay St.

11 Caribbean Heritage Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor 12 Women's Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor 19 Delegate Assembly: 6:30 p.m. 235 West 23 St., Advance Realty 20 HPD Chapter: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor 25 Shelter Chapter: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor 26 Political Action Committee: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor Civilians in Law Enforcement: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor

27 Committee of Concerned Social Workers: 6:30 p.m. Union Ofce, 12th Floor

appy New Year to everyone and their families. I pray that 2014 offers good health to all. The year began with a new Mayor, Bill de Blasio, who has a new vision and provides new hope. His vision of a progressive agenda that will end the Tale of Two Cities includes a better education system, improved public and affordable housing and strengthening the safety net. He has said he will negotiate with municipal unions, none of which have a contract. Mayor de Blasio started the year with a bang. Thirteen NYCHA workers were facing layoffs on Jan. 5. We mounted a campaign months ago to stop the privatization of NYCHA community and senior centers. Simultaneously, we entered into negotiations to prevent layoffs. The result was the saving of jobs. We lobbied, publicized and demonstrated. We were in coalition with our sister DC 37 locals, other unions and community groups. We told everyone, including the new mayoral administration, of the outrageous and unnecessary plan. Three days before the scheduled termination, the layoffs were off the table. Our efforts had been successful in that no worker was laid off. It is a step toward ending the Tale of Two Cities.

We lobbied, publicized and demonstrated.

The CASA Fight

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

In the Human Resources Administration, CASA and Lombardi were privatized. More than 900 workers in HRA were at risk of being laid off. Through two and a half years of lobbying, publicizing and negotiating, not one worker was laid off. There are excess workers because of the elimination of Lombardi and downsizing of CASA. Those workers will be redeployed to other positions in HRA. Once again the Union suffered no layoffs. There are still challenges ahead, such as negotiating a new contract that meets our needs including retroactivity. We have to protect our benets and pensions. We have to reverse the scourge of the outsourcing of our jobs. We have to remain steadfast in our mission to improve the lives of working people, both in the workplace and the community. Leadership is not about positions or slogans. It is being responsible to the members you serve. It is about having an agenda for the benet of the members and not oneself. Leadership is taking on the challenges, having a plan and obtaining results. The year started off with 13 NYCHA workers knowing that they will be able to put food on their families tables. It showed that we are strong because we are united. We have dignity and respect because we demand it, not just with words but with our actions. God bless you and God bless the Union. Anthony Wells

The Unionist|January 2014

Accessing Member Benets Online

The SSEU Local 371 Welfare Fund is launching an all-new online membership benets system. While it is still a work in process, we are working around the clock in order to incorporate a highly effective, convenient, and easy to use online benets processing system. This system allows members, spouses, and dependents over 19 to access general information, dental and optical benets.

he effort to preserve jobs for CASA and Lombardi workers has proven to be fruitful at the dawn of 2014, as ongoing talks between SSEU Local 371 and HRA have resulted in securing new posts for excess workers. As members know, workers in the CASA and Lombardi programs are dealing with the states plan to outsource elderly homecare to private companies, and the Union continues to be successful in ensuring that this doesnt result in layoffs.

Negotiations Get Results in CASA/Lombardi Campaign

the table before that occurs, said Union Vice President of Negotiations and Research Rose Lovaglio-Miller. President Anthony Wells said, The present administration continues the commitment that layoffs will be avoided. The redeployment process is that volunteers will be solicited before any involuntary redeployments. Unfortunately, the state has privatized the CASA and Lombardi programs. However, SSEU Local 371 has been successful in securing enough assignments for all excess workers. Wells stressed that the Union will continue to engage in talks with HRA as well as the state to ensure employment for everyone in these two programs. The Union is also looking forward to seeing new programs in HRA. The Union is looking to the vision of the new mayor in terms of strengthening the social safety net and increasing social services.

No Forced Transfers
The Union has learned that the Caseworkers in homecare received voluntary transfer recruitment yers. There are 33 positions from which members can choose to receive a voluntary reassignment to HASA or Adult Protective Services. There are no involuntary transfers at this time, the agency will have to come to

To access the site, go to the Unions homepage,, and click the purple square at the top right that says, Access Member Benets, or just click the benets tab at the top. Once there, click your status (member, spouse, or dependent) and follow the onscreen instructions to proceed with login/ registration process to access the benets. If you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail us at welfarefund@

Sign Up for Delegate Training:

Saturday, March 1, from 9 am to 5 pm at DC 37 Headquarters
All delegates are welcome, but training will be focused for newer delegates. Fax this coupon to Armenta Weekes at (212) 477-4863. Coupons must be received by February 21, 2014 Name _______________________________________ Last four digits of SS#______________ Address______________________________________________________ Apt#___________ City _________________________________ State ___________ Zip Code________________ Phone (WK)_____________________________________

15-Day Election Notice

Ofcial 15-day notice is hereby given for the nomination and election of two (2) members of the ELECTION COMMITTEE to be elected by the Delegate Assembly for the General Ofcers Election. The nomination and election of these two (2) members of the election committee will be held at the Delegate Assembly Meeting on Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 6:30 p.m. at Advance Realty, 235 West 23 Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, Manhattan.
January 2014|The Unionist

Home_________________________________ Cell___________ ________________________ Work Address_______________________________________ Agency____________________ How long have you been a delegate/alternate?_________________________________________ Do you need delegate materials? _________________________________________________ __ Emergency Contact Information Name ______________________________________________________________________ Phone # _______________________________________ Relationship ___________________________________________ _______________________

All Jobs Saved at

t all started last summer. The last move of the outgoing administration in terms of public housing was to move social services, especially community and senior centers, into the hands of outside contractors. Not only was this an affront to the residents who rely on those services, but it posed a terrifying prospect for SSEU Local 371: More than 150 workers would lose their jobs by early January. The race against time began. The race ended in a victory for the Union on Jan. 2, the second day of Bill de Blasios mayoralty, when New York City Housing Authority ofcials informed Union President Anthony Wells after hours of negotiations that the 13 remaining layoffs were off the table. All the jobs were saved. It was a joyous occasion for several reasons, in part because it meant that no SSEU Local 371 member at NYCHA would have to start the new year without a way to put food on their table. It was also an early indication that the new administration at City Hall, which intervened in the case of the layoffs, has a much more progressive attitude toward public housing and social services and is much more willing than the previous mayor to negotiate with the community and organized labor.

A Multi-Pronged Fight Back Effort Res

What It Means
But the struggle to save these jobs and the Unions ultimate success are testaments to why SSEU Local 371 is called the Mighty, Mighty Union, and the ordeal shows how the Union can win campaigns in the future. When the threat of layoffs came down last year, the Union immediately began to reach out to community groups in public housing, making it clear that SSEU Local 371 wasnt just looking out for its jobs, but to preserve the integrity of public housing in general. The message was clear: These centers, which provide things like afterschool programs and services for seniors, are vital parts of the community. The Union
Clarence Elie-Rivera

The Union picketed outside NYCHA headquarters with residents and other workers.

joined these groups and other unions like Teamsters Local 237 in a rally outside City Hall telling everyone in all ve boroughs that this coalition would not stand for even one layoff.

Lobbying Efforts
At the same time, the Union began its intense political organizing. We met with City Council Members who were concerned about the loss of senior and community centers in their districts, said Michelle Akyempong, vice president of political action. They were hearing from us and from their constituents that this aggression by the administration could not stand. President Wells also testied before City Council, where he noted how Union workers do the job better and more efciently than outside contractors. The seasoned workforce treated the public housing community not just as a workplace, but as their own community, he noted. With a resident population larger

Community centers like this one in lower Manhattan provide essential services.

than the cities of Oakland and Cleveland, NYCHA was simply too large and too important to have its social services outsourced, Wells stressed. At the hearing lawmakers lambasted the administration for balancing the budget on the backs of children and the elderly, the demographics that most depend on these centers at NYCHA. It was a public endorsement of the Unions cause. Our Unions effort to make new alliances went on. We gave interviews to various media organizations, said President Wells. We put advertisements in the community and ethnic press in order to make it known that we were on the frontlines ghting for the 99 percent when it came to public housing. Behind the scenes, the Union continued to have ongoing talks with NYCHA throughout the year. These talks proved fruitful. By the end of 2013, the Union was able to get the agency to move the vast majority of the at-risk workers into
The Unionist|January 2014

Ari Paul

sults in a Union Victory

layoff was considered an injury to the entire membership, said Juan Ortiz, the Unions secretary-treasurer, who previously worked as a NYCHA community center director in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Not to mention, as a NYCHA worker, this issue was particularly close to my heart. So we were ghting for every last worker. SSEU Local 371 also made it clear to NYCHA that the Union was ready to initiate a lawsuit against the authority if any layoffs occurred, in part because the Union had already successfully lobbied for NYCHA funding to keep these workers employed. I think the potential legal challenge was a big motivating factor, Ortiz said. The administration and the authority didnt want to have to deal with that. They knew we were ready and willing to take on that ght if we had to. And so on Jan. 2, with de Blasio in ofce for less than 48 hours, President Wells engaged in hours of talks with NYCHA. By the end of the day, he was happy to report that all 13 jobs were saved. Sadie Sanders, the NYCHA Chapter Chair and Executive Committee Member, was elated by the news, and noted that victory came about because of a strong working relationship between the rank-and-le and the Unions ofcers and staff. I knew that the president was right there with us, she said. He kept us informed. Someone was always with us. We had the support of our Union and that made a big difference. The membership was there. It was everyone working together as a team.


Reaching Out
Similarly, Amerigo Santiago, a delegate based at NYCHA, recalled of the campaign, There was a moment where I was diligently contacting folks, via text, email, or phone, and those who I didnt have a number for I would get from someone who did. We used any and all methods to get members involved. The campaign worked well because of the amount of energy we put in. And the Union has had vicContinued on page 6

Amerigo Santiago: 'We used any and all methods to get members involved.'

other titles, ensuring that they would be working in 2014.

Finding New Posts

Because we pushed so hard, NYCHA worked to move people into other jobs for which they were qualied or could be trained to do, said Rose Lovaglio-Miller, vice president of negotiations and research, whose team worked tirelessly on this issue. NYCHA understood that our top priority was to make it that no worker would go without a paycheck.
January 2014|The Unionist

At the same time, the Union continued to rally, including participating in a massive demonstration with the Civil Service Technical Guild in November outside NYCHAs lower Manhattan headquarters All had gone well on that front up until New Years Day. While the Union was able to get most of the at-risk workers transferred into other titles, 13 workers were still facing termination. By years end it was inspiring that we were able to save so many people, but even one

Ari Paul

Vincent Brafton: 'Folks are mobilized now.'


Ari Paul

All Jobs Saved at NYCHA!

Continued from page 5

tories since the announcement. For example, Hope McGuire was based at a community center in upper Manhattan, and out of fear of being laid off she was transferred to a Caretaker position, which is maintenance work and represented by another union. But the work proved too difcult. She had to clean four courtyards and three buildings, with some of the compactors infested with bugs and rodents. She came to SSEU Local 371, which was successful in getting her transferred into a social service position in NYCHA. I feel much better, she said. This is way better than being a Caretaker. President Wells said, What this struggle proved is that when this Union unites to get the job done we come back

with positive results. Our formula is using all the resources available to us to mitigate and stop layoffs. That means political organizing, rallying, lobbying, media outreach and direct negotiations. No single strategy is going to result in victory. Every struggle requires a multipronged approach. And this Union is ready and willing to do that in any agency, any borough, whether it is ve workers or 500 workers at risk.

Improving Public Housing

This victory also opens up another opportunity in the Unions effort to preserve and improve public housing in New York City. Mayor de Blasio right off the bat has shown a willingness to hear from workers

and residents about how to make policy. Folks are mobilized now, said Vincent Brafton, a NYCHA veteran. "Anything that comes up in the future, we will be there to have our voices heard. Indeed, there is already some more optimism on the horizon, as Mayor de Blasio has indicated that he will end the practice of NYCHA paying $70 million a year for policing, a service private landlords enjoy at no extra charge. The Union has long argued that ending this forced payment would free up much needed funds for resident services. We really look forward to working with the new administration on this issue, President Wells said. All parties have started off on the right foot. So were going to continue this discussion.

ONCE AGAIN, SSEU Local 371 members showed how much they care about their clients with holiday parties last month, using their own time, energy and some of their own money. Social service workers in various agencies in all ve boroughs hold these types of parties each year. Social service workers, often with the help of the Union, organize holiday parties for the families they serve, complete with food, entertainment and Santa Claus handing out gifts for the children. Child Protective Specialist Pamela Stanton of the Staten Island eld ofce said that these types of parties were good for families who might not be able to have holiday parties of their own. They also help strengthen the bonds between social service workers and the communities they serve. We can show that the Administration for Childrens Services isnt just a stigmatized agency, she said. Were about bringing families together. Were here for them.

Workers all over the City planned and organized parties with the help of the Unio


The Unionist|January 2014

The Heritage Celebrations Are Back

SSEU LOCAL 371 has always believed that honoring our different cultures and heritages is what binds us. It also believes that celebrating and having social events are important for a unions membership. Sadly, because of the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy had on District Council 37s headquarters, where these annual celebrations take place, we were not able to have these events in 2013. But we are happy to announce that since the building is up and running again, we can reignite this tradition. First up is the Black Heritage Celebration, Friday, Feb. 7 at District Council 37. This years keynote speaker is Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, a rising star in the Democratic Party who is a ery advocate for workers rights, feminism and civil rights. The Unions Black Heritage Committee has been working hard to prepare for this event, which is sure to be not just a learning experience but a great time for members and their families. As always, there will be dinner, music and dancing at this years event.

Ohio State Senator Nina Turner is this year's keynote speaker for the Black Heritage Celebration.

More Events
The membership should expect to hear more about these events. The Committee of Concerned Social Workers is planning its event for March (see notice at right), and the Latino and Caribbean Heritage Committees are organizing just as theyve done in years past. It was difcult to go without having these events that bind the Union together, President Wells said. But that was how Hurricane Sandy affected us, as that storm had affected so many New Yorkers. He added, We look forward to having all these events throughout the year and seeing our members. Hopefully, this type of unifying activity can make the Union even stronger that it already is. Thats a good goal to have. Members who are interested in planning for these upcoming events should check the calendar in the Unionist as well as the website ( to nd out when the heritage committees are meeting. We always want the rank-and-le to be a central part of things like this, Wells said. Thats what were about. Thats who we are.
January 2014|The Unionist

Attention Recent SSEU Local 371 Graduates

SSEU Local 371s Celebration of Social Work Month 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 year, 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. Hundreds of Union members who received their MSWs have been honored at this event over the years. Please return to Yolanda Pumarejo, CCSW, SSEU Local 371, 817 Broadway, NY, NY 10003 I received my MSW in  q June 2012 q June 2013 q August 2012 q January 2013 q January 2014

q August 2013


NAME______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ADDRESS____________________________________________________________________________________ CITY__________________________________________________________ STATE_________________ APT. ________


WORK TEL.__________________________________________ HOME TEL._________________________________________ S.S. #__________________________________________________ CIVIL SERVICE TITLE______________________________ JOB FUNCTION____________________________________________________________________________________________

Condolences are extended to the family and friends of Thelma M. Outlaw, retiree who retired after 35 years of service with the City and formerly a Child Protective Specialist Sup II, who died Dec. 13. Condolences may be sent to Beverly Brown, 13620 Landers Drive, Hudson, Florida 34667. Condolences are extended to the family and friends of retiree Dorothy J. Kaplan, who was a social worker at Administration of Children Services, who died Dec. 11.
Social Service Employees Union Local 371 817 Broadway New York, N.Y. 10003

Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY

SWAP- Caseworker in HRA/Adult Protective Services at 250 Livingston Street in Brooklyn would like to swap with OCSE or any other Caseworker titles in Brooklyn. If interested, call (718) 642-6411. 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, please call (718) 302-7355 or (347) 515-0371.


CPS, JOS Workers to File Lawsuit Over Pre-Shift and Post-Shift Overtime
hild Protective Services and Job Opportunity Specialists are planning to le a lawsuit in federal court to recover compensation for pre-shift and postshift overtime work they were suffered or permitted to work. Federal law prohibits employers from permitting employees to work and not pay them for it. One common approach that employers will use to try and deny employees overtime rights is to create unrealistic restrictions on overtime, such as limiting overtime from being performed before your scheduled work time, or by saying that only a maximum of two hours overtime a day will be authorized. Employees who come to work early to prepare for their day, who work during lunch, and those who work more than two hours of overtime simply go without being paid. When questioned, employers argue that they wont pay because the performed overtime goes against workplace rules. That argument is legally invalid. Any time you spend working for your employer must be paid for regardless of whether it violates an employers arbitrary rule. Your employer must also pay you for overtime work in a timely manner. If it is not paid for, or not paid timely (within 4 weeks) the employer is violating federal law, and this is exactly what the federal lawsuit on behalf of JOS and CPS workers is all about. In the lawsuit for JOS and CPS workers, we will seek back overtime and an equal amount as liquidated damages as well as attorneys fees and costs. The lawsuit is at no

2014 Holiday Schedule

Below is the list of City holidays. New Years Day ............ Wednesday, Jan. 1 MLKs Birthday ................ Monday, Jan. 20 Lincolns Birthday ....... Wednesday, Feb. 12 Washingtons Birthday ....... Monday, Feb. 17 Memorial Day .................. Monday, May 26 Independence Day ................ Friday, July 4 Labor Day ......................... Monday, Sept. 1 Columbus Day....................Monday, Oct. 13 Election day ....................... Tuesday, Nov. 4 Veterans Day .................. Tuesday, Nov. 11 Thanksgiving Day .......... Thursday, Nov. 27 Christmas Day ............... Thursday, Dec. 25 In lieu of Lincolns Birthday, employees subject to the holiday provisions of the Citywide Agreement of the Leave Regulations for Management Employees receive one oating holiday to be used during Calendar Year 2014, provided that the employee was in active pay status prior to Feb. 12, 2014, HRA Executive Director Rachel Levine said in a memo sent last month. She added, Based on the 2002 MEA with the exception of Unions that opted out of this provision, civilian employees newly hired on or after July 1, 2004 are not eligible for the Floating Holiday, beginning in Calendar Year 2005. 8

cost, win or lose, to participating employees. Persons who have worked as a CPS or JOS employee since February 1, 2011 are eligible to participate. IMPORTANT! To participate in the lawsuit, a CPS or JOS employee MUST COMPLETE A CONSENT RETAINER FORM AND RETURN IT TO THE LAW FIRM HANDLING THE CASE. The consent form appears on the unions website or you can obtain one from your delegate. If you do not complete a consent/retainer form and return it to the law rm, you will not be included in the lawsuit. It is not a class action.

Other Titles
EMPLOYEES IN OTHER JOB TITLES may have overtime claims of this type too. Our lawyers are currently investigating these claims and we need your help. Do you perform any work, such as preparing for your work day before the ofcial start time of your shift? Not getting your entire lunch period? Working after the time for which you are authorized to receive and not being paid overtime for it? Do you come in early or stay beyond the time you are being paid for? Work in the eld or from home and dont get paid for that time? Answer or receive emails, texts, phone calls outside your regular hours? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should contact the organizer at your facility and arrange for a meeting with the lawyers handling the overtime case.
The Unionist|January 2014