98 Percent Vote ‘Yes’ on Contract


DC 37 officials monitor the vote count on Aug. 14 at the American Arbitration Associate’s office in Lower Manhattan. AAA handled the mail-ballot process. From left, General Counsel Robin Roach, Associate Director Oliver Gray, Audio Visual & Scheduling Technician Alejandro Flores, Senior Assistant General Counsel Erica Gray-Nelson and Barbara Ingram-Edmonds, director of field operations. Photo: Clarence Elie-Rivera


DC 37 members voted overwhelmingly for a contract that provides for a total wage increase of 7.42 percent and preserves their premium-free health-care coverage with no givebacks.

Members voted 31,133 in favor and 743 against the contract, an approval rating of 97.6 percent.

The mail-ballot vote was tabulated on Aug. 14 at the American Arbitration Association’s office in downtown Manhattan.

“Our members have spoken loudly and clearly in favor of a new 44-month economic agreement, which provides for a total pay hike of 7.42 percent, substantial funding for benefits, a new paid family leave plan, and a continuation of premium-free health insurance until at least 2021,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “The 98 percent yes vote was a powerful display of union solidarity.”

The contract includes a new paid family leave benefit, which a growing number of American workers want their employer to provide. In 2016, only 14 percent of U.S. workers had access to an employer-provided paid family leave.

The benefit will be linked to the state public employees’ family leave plan. It will be implemented in January.

The term of the contract runs from Sept. 26, 2017 to May 25, 2021.

The new 44-month contract includes three pay raises:

  • a 2 percent raise on the first day of the contract, Sept. 26, 2017
  • a 2.25 percent increase on Sept. 26, 2018 and
  • a 3 percent hike on Oct. 26, 2019.

The raises will exceed the rate of inflation, according past and projected rates. When compounded, the total pay increase amounts to 7.42.

The preservation of the premium-free health care coverage was possible because municipal unions and the city reached a multi-million dollar health agreement as DC 37 negotiated the new contract.

In 2017, the typical premium contribution was $1,213 for individuals and $5,714 for families, according to Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Ninety-two percent of union workers have job-related health coverage compared to 68 percent of non-union workers.

The agreement between the city and the Municipal Labor Committee — which represents public employees on health-care matters
— aims to save $1.1 billion while preserving premium-free health-care coverage. The deal calls for $200 million of savings in fiscal year 2019, $300 million in 2020, and $600 million in 2021.

In the last round of bargaining, the city and unions negotiated a similar agreement so New York City public employees would continue receive coverage without a premium contribution.

The new pact affects about 100,000 DC 37 members. It sets the framework for those members who are not directly covered by economic agreement, which include Emergency Medical Services workers, Fire Protection Inspectors, Urban Park Rangers, Traffic Enforcement Agents Level III and Level IV, members of Local 1359 and Local 1931, as well as workers at the City University of New York, prevailing-rate titles, the School Construction Authority, the Unified Court System, New York Law School, Grand Central Partnership, The Children’s Village and Sodexo.

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