During the final years of the Bloomberg Administration the majority of union contracts in New York City were allowed to expire. Negotiations were virtually non-existent. Eventually most unions gave up any hope obtaining new contracts. Labor leaders held out hope of reaching a fair deal with the incoming administration. The hope was not misplaced. To date, DeBlasio’s administration has been amenable to contract negotiations. Key contracts, such as the Teachers and the Transport Workers have been resolved. This week we talk to principals of two unions that recently resolved their contract disputes, one in the public and one in the private sector.
David Paskin, Associate Director of DC 37 AFSCME Research and Negotiations department, will discuss the challenges of negotiating under Bloomberg (or lack thereof) and how this recently negotiated contract will benefit DC 37 members and New York City as a whole.
George Gresham, the President of 1199 SEIU, one of the largest unions in the state (over 430,000 members), will explain the recent contract negotiations for health-care workers in the voluntary hospitals. Thankfully, intense, down to wire deliberations averted an imminent strike.
From Bloomberg to DeBlasio, Unions Struggle for a Decent Contract
After a series of failed attempts to negotiate a new contract under Mayor Bloomberg, many unions continued working without a contract. But, they have recently have been finally been able to engage in collective bargaining with the new mayor. David Paskin, one of the chief negotiators on the DC 37’s fifty person negotiation team, worked out many of the the intricacies of the new DC 37 contract currently out to over 100,000 members for a ratification vote. Paskin tells us about the stonewalling from the Bloomberg administration. He describes how the new DC 37 proposed contract negotiated with the DeBlasio administration was developed to benefit members while not bankrupting the City.
Contract Negotiations for Healthy Patients and Workers
Whether we like it or not, everyone eventually finds their way into a hospital. At that point we are all concerned about quality of care given by workers in that hospital. George Gresham started out as a clerk in a hospital. After the birth of his first child, he sought to advance in the field of health care. Luckily for him, he received stipends and participated in a training program through from his union SEIU Local 1199 SEIU, and successfully studied to get degree and become an X-Ray Technologist. Many years later, Gresham is now the President of that 430,000 plus member union. Gresham describes the recent contract negotiations and tells us why it was so important to protect the training fund as well as to continue funding 1199’s member health care plan. Gresham is a man who sees the big picture that goes well beyond the union contract. Gresham tells us why 1199 SEIU is an activist union, involved in campaigns for minimum wage increases, access to affordable healthcare and the upcoming People’s Climate March.
1) MTA is provoking LIRR Strike – Outsourcing School Lunches: LIRR contract negotiations suffer from brinkmanship and Anthony Simon President of SMART Long Island tells us how he works to avert any difficulties for any working people
2) LiUNA says Fix Our Bridges! – Bridging the Labor management divide: John Coverdale explains how he helps labor and management reach a mutually beneficial agreement
3) Retirement Challenges for NY – Digital Organizing for Labor: Alex Gleasons from NYC CLC talks about how many workers are being forced to make the hard choices when it comes to retirement
Labor-Lines can be heard Saturday at 1:00 pm in NYC on AM-970 “The Answer” — 6:30 pm in Nassau County on AM -1240 WGBB — Sunday at 7:00 am in Suffolk County on WJVC 96.1 FM “My Country” – and at 8:00 am in Suffolk County on WRCN “LI News Radio” 103.9 FM