President Fort's Speach for Legislative Breakfast, April 24, 2014

Greetings Sisters & Brothers:

I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me in this discussion on the most critical issues facing our Local today.

Our meeting today marks the beginning of a series of discussions on the issues facing public sector workers in the City. Top of the list on the agenda is the issue of privatization.  Work that can be done more efficiently and economically by civil servants has been farmed out to private contractors for far too long.  City Hall and the unions must find a way to reverse the practice of farming out and bring the work back to the City’s unionized workforce.

The one-in-three rule which allows managers to selectively exclude some workers from civil service appointments and promotions must be repealed and replaced with a commitment to hire workers based upon their merit and fitness for the position as determined by their score on the relevant civil service exam.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the public sector workers of this city have gone far too long without a contract.  City Hall must sit down with the leaders of labor and commit to a contract that provides those who serve this city with a salary that is fair and allows these workers and their families to enjoy the benefits that this city has to offer.

Again, I thank you for coming today and I look forward to working with you to tackle these important issues. (Please click here for full Booklet)

In Solidarity.
Claude Fort, P.E.
President, Local 375

Unions under attack

Sisters and Brothers

News from AFSCME
"Our union is under a highly coordinated and heavily funded attack by those who believe workers should have no right to collective bargaining or a contract. They are stripping our members of their basic rights in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana. In the Harris v. Quinn case now before the Supreme Court, they seek to effectively outlaw collective bargaining for public employees. It is an unprecedented, relentless effort to steal union members' voices, power and financial security." Those were the words of AFSCME President Lee Saunders in a message to all AFSCME members.

Organizing Campaign
Sisters and Brothers we are asking you to join us in a campaign to get agency fee payers, non-members to sign the union card to become full members before the Supreme Court ruling comes out in June. We as a union and you as public workers have a lot to lose. Losing this case would seriously damage the Union and its ability to defend, protect and fight for you and your benefits could be seriously affected. Let's stand together to fight back. Let's organize to get all agency fee payers become full members. Let's unite for a stronger community, a stronger and larger middle class, a better society and a better life not only for us and our families, but for every worker in this City and every worker in every City in this country, and for every worker everywhere.

Contract

Fighting for our Rights

Grievance Wins
Our Union has won more than one million dollars in grievances and promotions for our members over the past 13 months.  Last week, we won salary increases for two members at DDC in the amount of $9,200.00 plus backpay in the amount of $30,000.00 for each. Thanks to the improved working relationship between the union and Transit management, we won nearly eighty (80) promotions at the NYC Transit in addition to 150 new hires.

Contract
Contract talks have started with the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC). DC 37 will meet with the City representatives within a month to talk about raises and other aspects of the contract. We stand firm  for a decent raise for our members, full retroactive raises for the past four years  and no givebacks.

New Campaign

Dear Sisters and Brothers of Local 375,

Local 375 is in the process of petitioning the New York City Office of Collective Bargaining to add the following Managerial level I titles to our bargaining unit:

Administrative Architect, Level 1
Administrative City Planner
Administrative Construction Project Manager, Level I
Administrative Housing Development Specialist, Level I
Administrative (Buildings), Level 1
Administrative (Electrical), Level 1
Administrative Landmarks Preservationist, Level 1
Administrative Landscape Architect, Level
Administrative Management Auditor, Level 1

Professional Development Hours (PDH) workshops

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Attached please, find for your information (CLICK HERE), a copy of the application and course description for the Professional Development Hours (PDH) workshops to be offered during March 10 - April 28, 2014. This application will be published in the District Council 37 website (www.dc37.net/benefits/education/offerings/engineers.html).

For any further information contact me at 917-750-2739or dmedina@dc37.net .

Contract talks

Dear Sisters and Brothers of Local 375,

435 On Wednesday February 12, 2014, Mayor De Blasio will unveil his preliminary budget for the fiscal year 2014-2015. Three hundred thousand (300,000) City workers without a contract for years are waiting to see what he will put in the budget for collective bargaining. The teachers 'union is asking for $3.4 billion  to cover retroactive payments that include the last 4%, 4% they did not receive when other unions got their raises in 2009.


As the 152 unions without a contract are getting ready for these serious talks, we must take a firm stand that, although we understand the challenge the new mayor is facing, it is not our fault if the City has to spend billions of dollars to settle overdue contracts. We will be realistic in our demands, but we will not compromise on a decent contract with retroactive pay for the past four years and without any givebacks. I will keep you informed as this process develops. Thank you for your patience and continuous support.
In solidarity!
Claude Fort, P.E., President - Local 375

On Monday February 10, 2014, Mayor De Blasio delivered his first
State of the City address. Click here to read his message.

JOSEPH E. COLLINS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP 2014

The scholarship is open to high school seniors whose parent or legal guardian is an active member of the Civil Service Technical Guild, Local 375. To be eligible, the student must be graduating from high school in June of 2014 and planning to enter college or university in the fall.

The Scholarship is awarded on the basis of;
• Academic achievement
• Extra-curricular activities & Leadership
• SAT, ACT, AP & CUNY Test Scores
• Community Services

To apply you may:  
Download the application or Contact the Guild office at: 212-815-1375.
The deadline to receive applications is May 15, 2014

Claude Fort, P.E.        
Local 375 President
Ahmed Shakir, P.E.
Scholarship Committee Administrator
Naze Andreville
Scholarship Committee Chairperson

Now is the Time to Organize

Sisters and Brothers of Local 375,

428 The New Year begins with a great opportunity for our Local.  Now that we have a new Mayor of New York City, Bill De Blasio, a City Council with 21 newly elected members, as well as potentially many new City agency commissioners, we can begin to have our voices heard.

All these new changes bring a great opportunity for Local 375 to promote a better working environment.  Now is the time to deal with issues and reverse many of the inequities of the outgoing City administration.  It is important for Local 375 members to organize and show that our Local is strong and united.

While myself and the Local’s Officers and Chairs are working on an active agenda to promote the Local, I am asking every chapter to form an organizing team.

Members gain strength when they join together to tackle issues at the workplace.  This strength translates into respect from management and this respect of union members by management facilitates and improves cooperation on both sides.   With this improved cooperation, I am optimistic that many ongoing issues will be resolved.

So now is the time to become active and organize.  Talk to your co-workers and let’s work together so that we can stand united to have our voices heard.

It's also the time for a contract. The good news is the City has a $2.4 billion surplus for this fiscal year (2013-2014) and the Independent budget Office (IBO) has predicted a surplus of at least $2 billion for the next fiscal year (2014-2015).

In solidarity,
Claude Fort, President

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