June 14, 2011
By Abigail Mitchell
Santos Crespo hopes to be again elected president of local 372 DC 37, and continue his fight against cutbacks, layoffs, and Mayor Bloomberg.
Crespo came to the 372 as a shop steward in the early 70’s after leaving the Navy. He slowly rose in the ranks in the union, first as a chapter chairperson then as a union grievance representative and vice president. Crespo also took on a special project in the late nineties to organize public workers in Puerto Rico.
“We cannot continue to survive in that manner.” Crespo said he hopes to gain the support of the City Council in the coming months. “The mayor does not have final say, and we are going to hold them accountable. They control the budget and they have the responsibility to uphold their obligations to the city of New York,” Crespo said. “If they do their jobs, then when election time comes around we’ll do ours.”
Crespo and his staff have been negotiating with city officials since March over their new contract. According to Crespo, the contract proposed by the city will force workers to pay more into their pension and health care fund with little or no increase in salary. Crespo said he hopes to sit down with the Mayor to discuss these issues and impress upon him the importance of a “fair, realistic contract” for union members.
“My members are the support services of the Board of Education. They’re the ones that get the kids ready. My school crossing guards make sure they get to school safe. My cafeteria workers help the kids eat healthy. My school administrators make sure the school day runs smoothly so teachers can do their jobs,” Crespo said. “They are serving this city and its children, and yet these services have been continually diminished.”