City Workers From Across Unions Met and Mobilized Around Campaign for Fair Pay
From the MORE Caucus
NEW YORK: Over 75 rank and file union members gathered on Thursday (3/7/2014) night to mobilize against efforts to “divide and conquer” the working class by pitting unions against each other for fair contracts.
Those rank and file workers have already garnered over 1,000 signatures on a letter demanding that union leaders prioritize retroactive pay. Furthermore, they urge Mayor de Blasio to stay true to his campaign promise of “ending the tale of two cities,” and ask him to demonstrate his commitment to ending income inequality, starting at the bargaining table.
The forum was organized by the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), the ACS Coalition of Union Members, 99 Pickets and rank and file activists from NYSNA, District Council 37, and the Professional Staff Congress. Members of TWU Local 100, Organization of Staff Analysts, Teamsters Local 237, 1199 SIEU and other city unions were represented in a lively discussion.
“It’s clear that the anger that city workers feel about losing ground for the past five years is starting to find expression,” said Sean Petty, a nurse at the HHC. “The fact is that we’ve given up our free time, we’ve come in during snowstorms, we’ve stayed overnight in hospitals, and we’ve worked overtime to cleanup the city after Superstorm Sandy. That is being repaid with a new mayor who is saying there is not enough money for the raises we deserve. What tonight showed,” he continued, “is that there is a growing unrest among city workers and that we are not going to accept the status quo excuses from the administration. It’s clear to all of us there is enough money to pay for the things that we all need, whether you are a city worker or depend on city services.”
Anthony Lackhan, a member of Local 1549, DC37 said,“Tonight I learned that there are a lot more of us willing to fight for what we’ve earned. I’m excited that I’m not alone and reinvigorated to find brothers and sisters of like mind.”
“Its okay for us to ask for more right now. It’s OK for us to demand a strong middle class. It’s our duty as public sector unions to demand it,” said Marcus McArthur, a city teacher and member of the MORE caucus of the UFT.
“De Blasio campaigned on a tale of two cities. Well, here’s the other city coming forward,” said Lucy Herschel, a member of 1199 SEIU. “I don’t think I’ve ever been at a meeting of this many rank and file union members from different unions before,” she added.
“The thing we all have in common as teachers, as city workers, as nurses, is that we all care about the people we serve, and the people in our community care about our services, so we need to work together and really build locally.” said Rosie Frascella, a teacher and member of the MORE caucus of the UFT.
The Movement of Rank and File Educators is the Social Justice Caucus of the United Federation of Teachers. For MORE information: http://morecaucusnyc.org/about/
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