Patrick J. Bahnken, president of Emergency Medical Service Technicians
and Paramedics Local 2507, was named Union Leader of the Year for
2000 by the Council of Jewish Organizations in Civil Service. COJO President Lou
Weiser presented the award Oct. 8.
The plaque cited Bahnken for outstanding
leadership in protecting the rights and benefits of his members and the community
I felt truly honored to have been selected by
COJO for this award, an honor which has also been given to other prominent civil
service leaders, Bahnken said.
Dorothy Epstein now a member of SSEU Local 371
a founder of unionism in the Dept. of Social Services in the 1930s and an organizer
ever since, became an honorary member of SSEU Local 371 on Nov. 15.
the Great Depression, the union she helped create brought substantial representation
of minorities, women and socialists to the 1936 founding convention of AFSCME,
DC 37s parent union. After her union was destroyed by McCarthyism in the
early 1950s, members from its Welfare Dept. unit formed DC 37s Local 371
and others helped build the independent Social Service Employees Union. The two
merged in 1969 as SSEU Local 371. The locals 300 delegates voted unanimously
to honor Ms. Epstein, and President Charles Ensley presented a plaque citing her
as a crusader for seven decades in the fight for labor rights, civil rights
and senior rights.
My heart and my energies have always been
in sync with a militant labor movement, she said.
Ms. Epstein told
the delegates, There is still a lot of work to be done, but with wonderful
people like yourselves and your president, we will win a better day of full social
Local 768 award to Albert Willingham,
shop steward and editor
Willingham, a Local 768 Shop Steward and editor of the locals newsletter,
received the Helen Smith Award for union leadership and exemplary dedication at
the annual Helen Smith Scholarship Dinner Dance on Nov 18.
and DC 37 Secretary Helen Greene said that the award is given every year to a
member who has exhibited the kind of leadership and union dedication that former
President Helen Smith strived for in her years as head of Local 768.
Albert Willingham has not only worked hard for the members all year, but
he has gone beyond the call of duty as Shop Steward as well, Greene said.
Mr. Willingham works at Queens Hospital, where he is a Mental Health Assistant.
Greene said the award was established nine years ago to recognize the important
role the late Ms. Smith had in forming the local.
Labor journalism judges give high rating to PEPs focus on members
DC 37s Public Employee Press won second prize for general excellence
among union newspapers in the annual contest sponsored by the International Labor
Communications Association. PEPs George Cohen won the contests First
Award for photography. DC 37 Administrator Lee Saunders presented the award to
the staff of PEP at the Nov. 28 delegates meeting. They are doing a tremendous
job of keeping our members informed, he said.
PEP was selected
by the contest judges from 1,297 entries by 156 unions. The award was based on
issues published in 1999. The judges wrote: This publication has come alive,
much like the union itself. New activism and commitment really comes through in
these pages. Energizing.
PEP Editor Bill Schleicher said the staff
enjoys putting out a newspaper that focuses on the membership in a union
that focuses on the membership. DC 37 is back and PEP is back and we are proud
to be your newspaper.
Civil Service Technical
Guild celebrates Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights
As part of an ongoing tribute to the diversity of its members, Civil Service
Technical Guild Local 375 celebrated the Indian holiday of Diwali, the Festival
of Lights, on Nov. 15.
Diwali is celebrated in the fall throughout
India as a national festival crossing religious lines, said Local 375 President
Because our local has so many members of Indian heritage,
we wanted to have our own Diwali celebration.
The Local 375 Diwali
event featured a program of folk music presented by members children in
traditional Indian dress, and a delicious buffet of Indian food.
honor goes to TA official
the celebration, the local also honors a prominent individual of Indian descent.
This years honoree was Mysore Nagaraja, the chief engineer and a vice president
at the Transit Authority, where he oversees the TAs $17 billion capital
The Deputy General Counsel of India, R.V. Warjri, also attended
and delivered the universal message of Diwali as the victory of light over
darkness, knowledge over ignorance.
The event was organized by
the Local 375 Diwali Celebration Committee, chaired by Bobby Shah of DEP.