By MIKE LEE
As District Council 37 expands its power and reach as the largest union in New York City, members demand that leadership protect their rights and benefits, negotiate fair and just contracts, and expand membership through external and internal organizing.
These efforts require the best people — hardworking leaders who can manage multiple responsibilities using innovative approaches to achieve DC 37’s goal of securing and building worker power in the city.
Rose Lovaglio-Miller is an integral part of the executive team developed by DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, who promoted her to Associate Director in February 2022.
“I help oversee the day-to-day running of the union, working with all of the departments,” Lovaglio-Miller said. “One of my priorities is looking for different ways for DC 37 to help and expand our membership, whether it’s through improving benefits or negotiations, or finding other avenues for educational and professional development.”
In her role, she supervises the operations of the Research and Negotiations Department and the Organizing Department. She also works closely with the Health and Security Plan and Education Fund.
“We have to prioritize professional development,” Lovaglio-Miller said. “We must have more opportunities for people to enter the City workforce or be promoted.
“This year, we’re co-hosting hiring halls with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and partnering with CUNY on different developmental programs for our members. We understand the workforce is evolving, with a priority on green jobs, and we’re working with the Ed Fund to help train workers for those opportunities.”
Lovaglio-Miller is a long-time civil servant, beginning her career as a Caseworker and Child Protective Specialist at the City’s Child Welfare Administration, now known as the Administration for Child Services.
In 1999, SSEU Local 371 hired Lovaglio-Miller as a Grievance Representative. Her commitment to excellence and hard work paid off quickly when she became the local’s Associate Director of Negotiations and Research in 2004.
“I was fortunate, but I tell people I grew up in the Local and [then-SSEU Local 371 President Charles Ensley] played a significant role by allowing me to be who I am,” Lovaglio-Miller said.
In 2011, Lovaglio-Miller was appointed Vice President of the local’s Negotiations and Research Department when Anthony Wells was elected President of SSEU Local 371. Her decisive leadership in negotiations with City management and winning favorable outcomes for Local 371 members built her reputation as an effective advocate for union priorities and members’ rights.
In 2015, she became an Assistant Director at the DC 37 Research and Negotiations Department. In her four years there, she fought and won prevailing wage cases and successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements with City’s cultural institutions.
Among her accomplishments, Lovaglio-Miller negotiated the first contract for a private sector unit. She also served as a mentor for the first Lillian Roberts Women’s Leadership Academy, offering guidance to a new generation of female union leaders.
In March 2019, she was promoted to Associate Director of DC 37’s Research and Negotiations Department, and the following September, was appointed Director.
“The one job I wanted was Director of Research at DC 37. One day, I saw Dennis Sullivan (a former Director at Research) in action at a bargaining session, and I wanted that job,” Lovaglio-Miller said.
In her new role joining Associate Director Jahmila Edwards as top advisors to the Executive Director, Lovaglio-Miller is guiding the future direction of DC 37. She played a crucial role in the union’s negotiations with the City of New York on a new citywide collective bargaining contract, along with other executive duties.
As a mother of four children, she acknowledges that setting an example for others will raise everyone to greater achievements. As she says, “First thing you’ll learn about me is that I like to work. I really am a worker.”