AFSCME DC 1707 UNITES WITH AFSCME DC 37 HISTORY MADE! POWER GAINED FOR NYC WORKERS!
Updated On: Jul 17, 2019
DC 37's Executive Director Henry Garrido and DC 1707's Executive Director Kim Medina
Last month, District Council 1707 Executive Director Kim Medina and District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido announced the historic unification of their unions into one powerful AFSCME union for New York metropolitan workers. The unification was approved by AFSCME’s International Executive Board at its quarterly meeting in June.
"This is a win-win," said Medina, DC 1707 Executive Director. “While change is never easy, especially for a union with such a strong history as ours, I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do for 1707’s hard working members. In joining forces with our brothers and sisters at AFSCME DC 37, we will have more resources and more power to push to new heights our fight for dignity and respect for New York City’s non-profit care providers. We will now not be 22,000 strong - but one of the largest unions in New York City” added Medina.
Medina will head a new Non-Profit Private Sector Division of DC 37. All six 1707 local unions (95, 107, 205, 215, 253, and 389) will become affiliated with District Council 37 on or about September 1, 2019. Each local union's structure, membership, leadership and treasury will remain unchanged.
The unification was announced to members in a June 13 letter from national union president Lee Saunders. "AFSCME was built on the core principle that workers do better when we focus on our collective interests and put unity ahead of any one individual. I am confident that unifying District Council 1707 and District Council 37 — two great unions in their own right — will build even greater power and result in more victories for you and all workers in New York City,” said Saunders.
DC 1707 Executive Board members and Executive Director Medina met with DC 37 leadership at DC 37 headquarters, where they received a warm and enthusiastic welcome from Executive Director Henry Garrido. "The work DC 1707 members do is vital to strong families and a strong city. Together with your brothers and sisters from DC 37, and with the continued leadership of Sister Medina, you will have an even stronger voice to win the pay, benefits — and the dignity you deserve,” said Garrido.
In late June and early July, DC 1707 leadership convened a series of town hall meetings -- in each borough, plus Westchester County, New Jersey and Long Island — to explain the unification and answer members’ questions. The town halls were facilitated by retired AFSCME leader and native New Yorker Eliot Seide. Seide shared the benefits of unification that his council experienced in Minnesota when it unified with two other AFSCME affiliates in that state.
Representing AFSCME President Lee Saunders at the town halls was Executive Assistant to the President, Nicole Pollard. In addition to discussing the details of the 1707 and 37 unification, she explained that with the rise of attacks on workers in the past decade, the national union has prioritized unification of affiliates where there is an opportunity to increase members' power. Since 2015 the International Executive Board has approved seven unifications of AFSCME councils.
NJ AFSCME Council 63 President Ron McLellan also spoke at some of the town halls, sharing how successful unification has been in New Jersey, where four AFSCME affiliates become one.