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  Public Employee Press

PEP Feb 2014 Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

Are you paying dues without being a member?
Protect your rights and benefits
Join District Council 37 now

Make sure the union has your correct information

District Council 37 is launching a campaign to update its membership records and help those paying an agency fee to become full members.

The union wants to verify its background data on members and retirees as it carries out a major project to digitize its records.

Many of the more than 100,000 addresses the union has on file may be inaccurate, partly because of incorrect information from employers. In some cases, current job titles, work locations, phone numbers and email addresses are lacking.

"We are very concerned that many members are slipping through the cracks," said DC 37 Associate Director Henry Garrido. "It is important for people to update their information so we can provide the services they are entitled to. Our union offers one of the best benefit packages in the country. But you can't take full advantage of it if we don't have your correct information."

To update your information and to confirm your membership in the union, please fill out and return the coupon below. We urge you to do this even if you think the union has your latest information. If you have any questions, including concerns about your privacy, please call Membership Records at 212-815-1570.

The DC 37 Health & Security Plan is also updating and digitizing its records. The plan needs your correct information to guarantee your coverage for the union's Prescription Drug Benefit and the optical, podiatry, legal services, personal services and dental benefits. You should call the DC 37 Health & Security Inquiry Unit at 212-815-1234 to make sure your information is on file for your benefits.

Join DC 37

By signing the coupon, you will be indicating that you want to be a union member. Under the state's agency shop labor law, public employees do not have to join the union to receive union-provided benefits and services. But all workers the union represents must help pay the cost of winning those benefits and services.

"Some workers, who are known as 'agency shop fee payers,' choose not to sign up for the union because they aren't in favor of unions for personal, political or even religious reasons," DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts said. "We understand those feelings. But as trade unionists committed to defending all workers and their benefits, we believe everyone who is eligible to join should join. There are many important reasons to join the union in addition to the services it provides."

Why you should sign the union card

DC 37's ability to protect the rights of the workers it represents ultimately depends upon its grassroots support. The more workers who take the affirmative step of demonstrating their support by signing up, the stronger the union is at the bargaining table and in the workplace. Joining the union entitles members to be active participants in shaping the direction of the union and determining its agenda in the workplace and in politics. By signing the membership card, you exercise your democratic right as a trade unionist.

"The way I see it is that it just makes sense to be a member," Garrido said. "If you don't sign up, you're in effect disenfranchising yourself."

Here are some of the benefits of taking that extra step to join the union:

  • Pocketbook Power: Being a member entitles you to vote on the economic agreements of the union. The contract sets your pay rate, affects your benefits and establishes your workplace protections. Ultimately, your contract determines the standard of living for you and your family.
  • Union Democracy: As a union member, you are entitled to vote for the officers and, often, the shop stewards of your local. You have the right to choose people you trust to represent you in the workplace and at the bargaining table. As a member, you have the right to run for a leadership position yourself.
  • Political Power: As a member, you have the right to shape the union's political agenda. This is crucial, because as public employees, we are directly affected by the political process that determines the city and state budgets and we can help elect candidates who support the quality public services we provide. Each year, DC 37 approves a legislative agenda, which typically covers pensions, health care, housing, civil service and similar issues.
  • Union Power: By joining DC 37, you are sending out a message that you support the union movement, which played a crucial role in building up the U.S. middle class and winning civil rights laws, Social Security, paid holidays and the eight-hour workday, safety protections, sick days, Medicare and unemployment benefits. You are telling your employer you support the union's fight to protect you at the bargaining table and in the workplace.

Strengthen yourself. Strengthen the union. Join DC 37.

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