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Local 1549 conference addresses union challenges

Local 1549 members learned about personal finances, workers’ compensation, home purchasing, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle at an “awareness training” on Oct. 14.

Local 1549 members attended a training conference on Oct. 14 that featured a call to arms from DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and speakers on personal issues, including health and household finances.

In addition, DC 37 staffers informed the Local 1549 activists about the many benefits provided by the DC 37 Health & Security Plan, including home purchase help, the union’s prescription drug plan, as well as pension and disability advice.

Local 1549 President Eddie Rodriguez, who is also president of DC 37, welcomed the workers to the conference. The training reflects the local’s desire to help members deal with personal issues, as well as to inform them about critical issues faced by the union.

Rodriguez also introduced Garrido, who spoke at length about local, state and federal challenges facing the union.

Funds secured for NYC Health+Hospitals

Garrido spoke the day after he and New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the financial crisis at NYC Health+Hospitals.

Garrido described how he and Cilento convinced the governor to free up millions of federal funds for Health + Hospitals that he was holding up because of the budget uncertainty in Washington, D.C.

Eddie Rodriguez
Local 1549 and DC 37 president.
NYC H+H administrators anticipate that the federal government will make deep cuts in its assistance as the Trump administration aims to reduce services.

Garrido reported that the union expects to start bargaining on a new economic agreement soon. Pay increases and health care are among the union’s priorities, Garrido said.

Garrido also spoke about the nationwide attack on unions in the courts and state legislatures. While not playing down the threat, Garrido said the attack has stirred up the labor movement.

“There is a lot of fear out there, but there is also a new sense of energy across the country,” Garrido said. “I am very proud that we are a part of that.”

At the Saturday conference, speakers covered such topics health care, workers’ compensation, personal finances, settling tax disputes with the IRS, and the union’s home purchasing program.