June 8, 2011
By Lillian Roberts, Executive Director District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
As we start economic bargaining amid the worst attacks in my lifetime on public services and the workers who deliver them, I want to rock City Hall with DC 37's biggest demonstration ever.
I am encouraged by the tremendous human rights fightback in Wisconsin, where right wing Republican Gov. Scott Walker rammed through a law canceling public employees' basic right to negotiate on their pay, benefits and working conditions.The undemocratic move angered Wisconsinites, and a drive led by unionists and Democrats has now collected enough signatures to recall six of Walker's supporters in the State Senate. If the Democrats win even three of the new elections, Walker will lose control of the legislature and labor and the community will celebrate a huge victory for human rights. On June 14, we will stand up for our own rights and our economic needs, fight back against the fiscal assault on our public schools and public health care, and raise our voices against the drive to crush public employees' rights from coast to coast. I am calling on our members to rally at City Hall June 14 like our jobs, our pay and our benefits depend on making a powerful statement because they do. I am asking you to protest like our basic democratic rights are at stake because the right wing effort to destroy union rights is a cancer that will spread unless we stop it.
At City Hall June 14 we will stand up for our families and our communities. Bring your co workers, your families, your neighbors and everyone you can from every community and religious organization you are part of. They will be proud to march with us against the city's immoral effort to sell off our public health care system, cripple public education and shred the public services that prevent child abuse and keep rats from running wild in New York City.
We will stand in solidarity to protect the libraries where so many immigrants learn English, where so many of the unemployed use free computers to search for jobs, and where so many children especially the city's record 43,000 homeless children do their homework. We will speak out for the public parks and pools the only free recreation available for working families.
Mayor: raises for consultants, zeroes for workers
Mayor Bloomberg claims he has no money for pay increases, but if he can give cost of living adjustments to overpriced outside consultants, he can sure agree to reasonable pay increases for the workers who keep this city running.
In the latest contracting out scandal, Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News revealed that Dept. of Education consultant Future Technology Associates bills city taxpayers millions of dollars for computer programmers who work from Turkey and India through a firm secretly and illegally owned by FTA executives. Despite the terrible unemployment here in New York, these jobs are exported to people abroad who pay no city taxes and get double the pay of city employees who do the same work.
If the mayor can squander our money this way after throwing away three quarters of a billion dollars on the CityTime payroll project, if he can fail to collect business taxes that are owed to the city, then he can afford to cancel the layoffs and service cuts, stop the attacks on our benefits and get real about raises for dedicated, honest workers.
Our giant fightback rally June 14 will shout NO to the mayor's continuing effort to contract out our jobs, freeze our pay, cut our benefits and wipe out public services for the communities we live in.
We will be speaking for the public interest when we say save our schools, health care, libraries and all the public services people have a right to in this wealthy city. We will be marching for ourselves and for all the working people of our city and our country when we say save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I hope to see every member of every local of District Council 37 at City Hall June 14 as we make a mighty stand for economic justice.