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PEP May 2006
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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 37’s 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 July 1.

“The federal and state budgets cut Medicare and education funding and threaten our jobs and the vital services DC 37’s 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 37’s 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 governor’s 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 governor’s 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 city’s 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. 1455’s Mike DeMarco.

Treas. Maf Uddin, Council’s 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 Council’s 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 Carter.

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. “It’s 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.

 

 


 

 

 
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