Public Employee Press
Political Action 2006
From pancakes to politics
Annual legislative breakfast draws City Council
members to the unions
DC 37 leaders and City Council members met on city budget
restorations to hospitals, public schools and more.
By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
Pancakes and politics were on the menu March 15 at District Council 37s
annual City Council Legislative Breakfast. DC 37 Executive Director Lillian
Roberts and leaders of two dozen locals and the Retirees Association discussed
the issues the union and the Big Apple face with City Council members,
who are considering the proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning
The federal and state budgets cut Medicare and education funding
and threaten our jobs and the vital services DC 37s 121,000 members
provide for New Yorkers every day, Roberts told legislators. We
want to share our concerns with you and work together in the fight for
city budget restorations.
Priorities on DC 37s agenda are the Campaign for Fiscal Equity funds
for public schools, a moratorium on charter schools, access to child care
for working families, and civilianization of the Police Dept. DC 37 is
leading a coalition of healthcare advocates and community groups in a
campaign to prevent a state commission from cutting hospital beds and
to save the public health safety net by restoring Medicaid funding.
Local leaders and politicians listen attentively as speakers
detail services at risk.
More aid, not cuts
The cuts are a recipe for disaster for the public health care system,
said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. We have to change the
direction of the governors misguided commission or patient care
will suffer. The City Council has created a task force to focus
on the proposed hospital bed cutbacks and the affected communities.
As DC 37 battles the governors attempt to add 150 more charter schools
statewide, the union is urging Council members to sponsor a moratorium
on charter schools in the city, where there are currently 42.
Charter schools have no record of performance value and no accountability.
They take money away from the citys 1.1 million public school children,
said DC 37 Political Director Wanda Williams. The criminalization
of public education should cease and our attention should focus on improving
public education, she said.
PAC Chair Len Allen, Council member John Liu, L. 1455s
Uddin, Councils Speaker Christine Quinn and Rosie Mendez.
DC 37, the mayor and city legislators are pressing Albany
to release court-mandated Campaign for Fiscal Equity funds, which would
add $11 billion to the city school system for buildings, books, labs and
teachers. Additionally, DC 37 proposed that with the City Councils
support, the number of child-care slots available to working families
in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan could expand and include Queens.
Another priority for DC 37 is implementing the arbitration
award, endorsed by the courts, calling for civilianization of the Police
Dept. Not a lot has changed, the Police Department knows all the
tricks to get around this issue, said Local 1549 Chapter Chair Alvin
Although the department has agreed to hire 400 more civilians, Clerical-Administrative
Employees Local 1549 identified 3,500 officer-occupied positions that
could be filled by civilians. Failure to implement civilianization keeps
police officers at desk jobs when we need cops to keep streets safe
so our kids can play, Carter said. Its a public safety
issue, said Williams.
DC 37 is counting on its longstanding relationships with city and
state lawmakers for support to restore much-needed funding, Williams
reminded the assembled officials.