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Public Employee Press

A healthy budget

Treasurer, District Council 37

After four years of deficits, DC 37’s financial condition has significantly improved.

Three principal factors that helped us return to solid financial ground are:

  • a growth in membership ($786, 517 more in revenue),
  • a decrease in the DC 37 subsidy for union locals ($691,438), and
  • an increase in DC 37’s portion of the national union’s “pass-along,” or the amount of dues that council retains ($525,493).

DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and I set the budget priorities.

We then worked closely with Controller Roger DePradine and the staff to come up with a preliminary budget. After intense deliberations, the DC 37 Budget Committee approved the final budget in January.

Our 2017 budget is $46,734,128, an increase of $144,297, or less than 1 percent, over last year’s budget. Our capital budget is $822,317.

Let me share some highlights of the 2017 budget and explain a little bit more how the deficit is being contained.

We have bounced back from the layoffs and contracting out that occurred during the Bloomberg administration (2001-13), when we lost over 10,000 members.

Our most recent membership growth includes about 1,000 information technology workers, who were hired as a result of an insourcing agreement between the union and the city.

A few hundred workers formerly misclassified as managers are now members of our union. We also now represent many workers who used to be in the city’s workfare program. And the New York Police Dept. has hired a few hundred more dispatchers as it carries out civilianization, the process of returning Police Officers to their regular beats and replacing them with civilian employees.

Leading the Way

DC 37’s “Leading the Way” initiative has resulted in savings in the day-to-day operations at union headquarters:

  • We have reorganized and consolidated departments and insourced cleaning and maintenance services,
  • Through a buyout program, the union offered staff last year, we saved $1.5 million in ongoing personnel expenses.

Our annual personnel costs have in the past accounted for up to 91 percent of the union’s budget. This year, we have reduced personnel costs to less than 85 percent of the budget and will continue to bring them down further in the future.

Additional revenue has helped improve our bottom line by $1.8 million. The union is using most of those additional funds to cover personnel health and pension expenses. If you eliminate the projected retirement health and pension costs of the union’s staff from the budget, we would have a surplus.

Our capital budget will help the Information Technology Dept. continue its four-year plan to eliminate its mainframe-based operations and shift to PC-based work. The capital budget also covers such expenses as furniture purchases and equipment upgrades.

We created a contingency plan in case there is a major revenue loss resulting from a possible adverse ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Right-wing interests have filed lawsuits to allow agency-fee payers to stop paying dues although they receive union services and representation.

With the Republican takeover in Washington, D.C., we are concerned about deep cuts in federal funding to cities and states.

But I am confident we can withstand this nationwide attack on unions.

Our “Leading the Way” campaign calls for organizing 10,000 more members by 2020 and is encouraging more members to become active in the union. I urge you to get involved with DC 37 and make our union a more powerful political force with a solid financial foundation.