PAGE 2 APRIL 1999 LABOR NOTES
‘City Workers for Real Change’
by Cal Winslow ‘ These new revelations followed the
Nearly 100 activists met in New York removal inJanmiry ofanother top New
March 6 to launch ~ new organization, . York union leader, Gus Bevona, who
provisionally called “Contract 2000: lost his $450,000 a year post at SEIU
City Workers for Real Change.” Local 32B-3~.
The organization will iniuate a campaign
to get decent contracts for city DOUBLE ZEROS
workers in the upcoming round of bar- New York municipal workers face a
gaining with the city. The drive is also pattern of bargaining which has
propelled by ongoing revelations of allowed a handful of top leaders to sit
corruption and contract vote fraud at down with the mayor and produce
AFSCME Distriq Council37, the city’s contracts which have been nothing
largest municipal union. short of disastrous. The infamous
The meeting was introduced by the “double zeros” in the last contractstwo
AFSCME rank and file leaders two years offrozen wages-are just the
most responsible for exploding the tip of the iceberg.
scandals m DC37: Ray Markey, presi- Virtually all the city’s union leaders
dent of Lo.cal 1930, and Mark supported Giuliani for reelection or
Rosenthal, president ofLocal983. As a were neutral. The defeat of the legal
truck driver for the Parks Deparunent, aid attorneys’ strike in 1994, the intraRosenthal
exposed the ballot-stuffing duction of workfare workers by the
which led to ratification ofDC37’s cur- tens of thousands, Giuliani’s attacks on
rent contract with the City. Rosenthal immigrant taxi drivers and street venvowed
to “bre~k the patte~n of sell-out dors-all these were possible only with
contracts for City workers. the acquiescence of the union leaders.
· Markey called the meeting “his- They are part and parcel of his law and .
toric.” “Now we can reach out and order campaign against workinfi class
change the labor movement in New New York, which culminated . m the
York City,” he said. · murder of an unarmed immigrant
The DC 37 reformers, organized in African street vendor, who was shot 19
“The Committee for Real Change,” times by city cops.
were joined by the leaders of rank and The tide, however, may be turning.
file movements in nearly all the munic- There are now anti-Giuliani demonipal
unions. strations almost daily.
Tpese included: The New Two confrontations are coming.
Directions Caucus in TWU Local 100, TWU member Eladio Diaz ·reminded
which won .49 percent of the vote in the meeting that the trarisit contract
last year’s local election; the New expires in December. And the state has
Action Caucus, a major force in the already proposed an appalling conUnited
Federation of Teachers, which tract for the 75,000-member Civil
iiJ. the last round organized the Service Employees Association, where
unprecedented rejection of two union an agreement could once; again start
contract proposals; the New Caucus, the sell-out pattern rolling.
PSC/CUNY; municipal workers in In addition to demands for a living
Teamsters Local . 237, members of wage, other issues which unite these
TDU; the Association of Legal Aid workers include:
Attorneys/UAW. · • An end to the workfare proThese
groups were joined by lead- gram-union rights for all working
ers of the Progressive Action people. · . .
· · Caucus/UFf; the Civil Service Bar • Opposition to privatization of
Attorneys; and the Association for public services. :
Union Democracy. • Opposition to the use of part-time
Just two days before the meeting, and temporary workers.
four more DC 37 officials were • Return to full pension rights for
removed from office. They included all city workers.
Albert Diop, former Director Stanley • No more five-year contracts.
Hill’s closest advisor. Diop and three • Open and democratic procedures
associates in Locall549, a clerical local in allliargaining.
where pay averages about $25,000, The meeting decided to launch a
were accused of spending more than “Contract 2000” campaign. A rally to
$2 million of the union’s money with- kick off the campaign is tentatively set
out documentation. . Diop made for May 8. [J
$191,000 last year and hved m a pent- !Cal Winslow teaches at the Center for
house atop the ·Union’s lower Worker Education/City College: He is a mem·
Manhattan headquarters. ber of the New Caucus/PSC/CUNY.J