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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

2020 Census campaign kicks into gear

Census 2020 representative Nichole Yearwood.

Help with the count! DC 37 has joined other labor unions and community groups to help get a fair and honest count for the 2020 U.S. Census.

The effort, led by the New York City Central Labor Council, ensures that all union members and their families are counted in the upcoming census that starts April 1.

DC 37 is making sure everyone knows how to respond and the importance of Census 2020. Initial intake online began March 12. Everything is going to be done only online and by phone for the first couple weeks, Erica Vargas, assistant director in the union’s Political Action Department explained. On April 1, the option to complete the census by paper begins. Starting March 20, a daily census tracker at will let the public track the response rate.

“We are part of the Labor Complete Count Committee, and have joined other committees throughout the city. An accurate count is very important to us. That’s why we are engaging our members at general membership meetings, worksites, and during lunchtime meetings, talking about the importance of being counted. We are helping the Census Bureau every way we can right now,” Vargas said.

A major part of the committee’s effort includes attending community coalition meetings to discuss the importance of the census, and why a complete count is needed.

“A key concern is how we talk to members about Census 2020, tying it to key issues that make it relatable for them and their families. Members need to know how it can affect their jobs, and how they provide and receive services,” Vargas said.

As part of the effort, the union is leading a big push at NYCHA developments. Vargas said the city provided information on NYCHA developments with the lowest census return rates that will help DC 37 focus on undercounted areas.

With cooperation from the agency, the Labor Complete Count Committee works with local presidents and the city’s census committee to push initiatives that will raise the response rate for a more accurate count. They also assist the Department of Education in training Local 372 Parent Coordinators because children are among the most undercounted, especially those under the age of five.

The city’s libraries also are training volunteers to help direct visitors to complete the form at census kiosks set up in library branches.

When members talk to people about the census, they stress the importance of filling out the forms. An accurate census count will give New York its fair share of allocated funds from the federal budget, which will provide additional funding for needed social services, schools, and infrastructure.

Also, an accurate count maintains and builds political power. Since 1990, the state lost seven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. An accurate census count will help strengthen the interests of New Yorkers by potentially increasing Congressional representation.

To get involved in the effort, please come to a DC 37 Community Association meeting. For more information, please call the DC 37 Political Action Dept. at 212.815.1550.

The deadline is July 31 to complete a census form online at, by phone at 1.844.330.2020, or by mail.