Editor’s Note: On Wednesday, December 2, at 2 p.m. LaborPress and Emblem Health will be sponsoring a special “Safeguarding Our City” webinar with Carmen Charles, president of the New York City Municipal Hospitals Employees Union, Local 420, DC37, AFSCME; Dr. Frank Proscia, president of the Doctors Council SEIU and Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, president of NYSNA – the New York State Nurses Association. Click here to register for the event.
New York, NY — Carmen Charles is President of the New York City Municipal Hospitals Employees Union, Local 420, DC37, AFSCME. The union represents healthcare workers in NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H), the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). She negotiates on behalf of her members across the city’s 5 boroughs who work in 11 acute hospitals, 5 long-term care facilities, 500+ network of clinics, Riker’s Island and the city morgues.
Charles is a graduate of the Cornell University’s Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations’ Leadership Program. She is currently serving her 6th term as President of AFSCME Local 420, as well as Vice President and Executive Board member of District Council 37. As a DC37 Vice President, she chairs the Council’s Women’s Committee and Caribbean Heritage Committee.
In addition, before becoming president, she served as the 2nd Vice President of the local, as Vice Chapter Chair (Coler Hospital Chapter) and Shop steward (Coler Hospital). Also, prior to working as in the public hospital system, she worked as a bank secretary. However, before coming to the US, she worked briefly in the Guyana public service (Ministry of Agriculture). Her current citywide title is Medical/Surgical Technician, but she started at Coler Hospital as a Nurse’s Aide.
Over the past 17 years as President of Local 420 AFSCME, she has successfully lobbied the City of New York to keep public hospitals open, negotiated wage increases, job upgrades, improved working conditions and other benefits for her members. She has done all this while keeping members’ dues low and the Local fiscally responsible. In addition to being recognized for her labor activism, Ms. Charles has received on multiple occasions, such prestigious awards as the NAACP “Freedom Leadership Award”, “The Ernest De Maio Labor Award” and both the “Spirit of Excellence” and the “Beacon of Hope” awards in recognition of her visionary leadership and commitment to serving healthcare workers. She has received multiple commendations/citations from the City of New York, as well as from both the New York State and US Senates.