The People United: Building a Union-Community Movement


Are you interested in working with other union members to make a difference in your community? The newly relaunched DC 37 Community Alliance is an opportunity get involved in pushing the issues that matter to your neighborhood.

The DC 37 Political Action Department recently led the effort to relaunch the initiative, which went dormant because of the pandemic. In the past, the Department hosted meetings throughout the city, sharing information about political events and union campaigns while creating vital relationships with members that became central to building DC 37’s political muscle.

“We saw in the enthusiastic participation of DC 37 members during the contract campaign an opportunity to build a targeted approach in neighborhoods with the strongest union density,” said Odetty Tineo, DC 37 Political Action Director. “In these meetings is where we find leaders able to boost our future ground efforts.”

As a member-led group of union activists, the DC 37 Community Alliance addresses local concerns and improves conditions in neighborhoods across New York City. The meetings allow union members to discuss the issues and challenges affecting fellow members and their families.

After an initial meeting on March 30, the Community Alliance held online meetings covering all five of the city’s boroughs in early May. Heavily promoted through the union’s social media channels, the meetings were well attended, with members speaking out on various community concerns.

As the program moves forward, the union expects open dialogue on community issues such as education, crime, and housing, along with promotion of the PEOPLE program, and political and legislative updates.

The focus of the DC 37 Community Alliance is to arm potential activists with the tools and skills to advocate for their community on behalf of the union. The meetings also allow the DC 37 Political Action team to boost participation from newly recruited members and allies into phone banking, leafletting, lobbying, and letter-writing campaigns in support of union-endorsed candidates and issues.

SSEU Local 371 member Mike Yon, a DRIE Ombudsperson (Community Coordinator) for the Department of Finance, felt empowered by his participation.

“To improve our community, we must first help one another,” Yon said. “The coalition provides a platform for us to share knowledge and offer encouragement to keep moving forward. I thank DC 37 for establishing a secure space for us to converse. By collaborating in this meeting, we can work toward a more robust future for our members and the community.”

As PEPtalk goes to press, more DC 37 Community Alliance meetings are being planned, and soon will take place in-person.

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