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Public Employee Press


Four decades on the front lines

Danny Ambrosini
Blue Collar Division Assistant Director Danny Ambrosini retired after over four decades on the front lines of the labor movement.

He was a Local 924 vice president, a grievance rep and a council rep before becoming the assistant division director in 1993.

He was hired in 1961 as a Local 924 City Laborer.

He served in the Viet Nam War and upon returning home, the Dept. of Social Services (now HRA) hired him off a preferred list as a City Laborer. At night, Ambrosini attended Hunter College under the Dept. of Veterans Affairs’ GI Bill and was inducted into the National Honor Society.

Ambrosini recalls participating in a pivotal event in the union’s ongoing fight for equity.

“Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and the speaker of the state Senate, Warren Anderson, provoked a strike when they tried to block the pension improvements the union had negotiated,” he said.

“Union leaders of that time called a strike, knowing it violated the Taylor law,” Ambrosini said, referring to the labor relations statute governing the public sector, which prohibits strikes. For the job action, Ambrosini was docked two days’ pay (which the union covered). The city placed him on probation for one year.

“That strike in ’71 was such a radical move. It shut down the city,” said Ambrosini, “But we were fighting to protect the most valuable benefit we as union members have – our pensions.”

“The union worked so hard to reach historic agreements with the city that protect members’ pensions,” said Ambrosini. “Eventually DC 37 won full city reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums.”

In 1985, Local 924 members elected Ambrosini vice president. He served as a grievance rep for the local and in 1990 he became a council rep. Ambrosini was part of the union’s newly formed Quality of Work Life program which negotiated flex time, a compressed workweek, employee recognition programs and more to build members’ morale.

To improve labor relations Ambrosini cultivated solid relationships with city commissioners and managers at various agencies, including the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, the Dept. of Education, CUNY, and the departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection, which employ thousands of DC 37 members in 19 Blue Collar locals.

Ambrosini said, “It feels good to have played a role in improving the lives of so many members and their families.”