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About Us

Meet your DC 37 Vice Presidents

The DC 37 Executive Board is the governing body of the union when the Delegates Council is not in session. The board includes the unionís top officers (the executive director, president, secretary and treasurer); 25 vice presidents from DC 37 locals; and the head of DC 37 Retirees Association, an ex-officio member who cannot vote.

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Robert D. Ajaye
President
Local 2627
Dilcy Benn
President
Local 1505
Carmen Charles
President
Local 420
Sirra Crippen
President
Local 1507
Michael DeMarco
President
Local 1455
Cuthbert Dickenson
President
Local 374
Juan Fernandez
President
Local 154
Jon Forster
Local 375
Shaun D. Francois I
Local 372
Jonathan Gray
President
Local 1655
Bob Herkommer
President
Local 1501
Dennis Ifill
President
Local 1539
Eric Latson
President
Local 1597
Dishunta Meredith
President
Local 2054
Israel Miranda
President
Local 2507
Eileen Muller
President
Local 1482
Deborah A. Pitts
President
Local 1113
Walthene Primus
President
Local 957
Joseph Puleo
President
Local 983
Alma G. Roper
Executive V.P.
Local 1549
Jackie Rowe-Adams
President
Local 299
Peter Stein
President
Local 508
Jim Tucciarelli
President
Local 1320
Esther (Sandy) Tucker
President
Local 384
 
 
  Anthony Wells
President
Local 371
Rochelle Mangual
President
Retirees Association
 



Robert D. Ajaye
President, Local 2627

Robert D. Ajaye
President, Local 2627

Despite the Bloomberg administration's aggressive policy of contracting out, especially in the information technology arena, President Robert D. Ajaye has fought successfully to bolster the ranks of Electronic Data Processing Personnel Local 2627.

Ajaye is a fierce critic of the city's use of excessively paid, contracted computer workers. He points to the CityTime automated payroll fraud, which resulted in the conviction of several contractors for stealing millions of dollars. Following their arrests, Comptroller John Liu worked out an agreement to have city workers take over the job.

Ajaye joined the city workforce in 1983 as a Program Analyst at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

He is now an Information Technology Sr. Associate.

He was elected 1st vice president of Local 2627 in 2005 and president in 2008.

During his three terms as president, the local has added at least 1,500 members to its ranks. Ajaye chairs the DC 37 Housing Committee.



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Dilcy Benn
President, Local 1505

Dilcy Benn
President, Local 1505

Local 1505 President Dilcy Benn has stood up for workers at every turn.

When the Bloomberg administration threatened to lay off some Local 1505 members and reduce others to seasonal employment, Benn worked with DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts and other union leaders to save the workers' full-time status. She has fought for and won hardship transfers for Local 1505 members who don't officially have transfer rights.

"I protect my members from abuses by management," said Benn, who chaired the DC 37 Parks Policy Committee for four years.

"You have to love this work to do it. You have to care about people." Benn was a shop steward and served for six years as vice president of the local, which represents Attendants, Debris Removers, City Parks Workers and Parks Service Workers.

Benn is a trustee of the union's Education Fund and a member of the Site Inspection Committee.



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Carmen Charles
President, Local 420

Carmen Charles
President, Local 420

Carmen Charles was elected president of Municipal Hospital Employees Local 420 in 2002 when she led a rank-and-file slate to victory.

A former Nurse's Aide at Coler-Goldwater Hospital, Charles became a Medical Surgical Technician in 1987 and volunteered as a shop steward for Local 420. In 1999, she was elected a vice president of the 10,000-member local.

As local president, Charles has negotiated salary upgrades for her members, restored fiscal accountability and stability to the local and fought against contracting out and cuts at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. She encourages members to be more active.

Charles' efforts to rebuild Local 420's tradition of strength and unity has increased attendance at membership meetings, chapter chair and shop steward training sessions and meetings, and elections.

A strong advocate of using education as a tool for empowerment, she is a graduate of Cornell University's Union Leadership Program.



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Sirra Crippen
President, Local 1507

Sirra Crippen
President, Local 1507

Sirra Crippen is the president of Local 1507, which represents Gardeners and Assistant Gardeners in the city Parks and Recreation Dept. She was elected as a DC 37 vice president and Executive Board member in 2007 and is now in her third term on the board.

Crippen instills a pro-union ethos in members and educates them about the important role the union plays in negotiating their wages and securing and protecting their benefits.

"As a union leader, I view my role as promoting public policy that supports working-class people," Crippen said. "The labor movement is the strongest vehicle in our nation fighting for economic and social justice."

Crippen is a trustee of the DC 37 Health and Security Fund and has served on the Credentials Committee since 2009.

In addition to her regular duties as a Gardener, Crippen sometimes teaches horticulture to children in public schools.



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Michael DeMarco
President, Local 1455

Michael DeMarco
President, Local 1455

Michael DeMarco is serving his fourth term on the Executive Board. Since 1998, he has been president of New York City Traffic Employees Local 1455, which represents Traffic Device Maintainers and City Parking Equipment Service Workers in the Dept. of Transportation.

Working with DC 37, DeMarco beat back the Bloomberg administration's attempts to lay off Local 1455 members and privatize street parking meters.

The local's members successfully removed coin-operated meters; they maintain the new computerized muni-meters throughout the city and have kept sign production in-house.

DeMarco chairs the DC 37 Education Fund Trust, the Credentials Committee and the Italian Heritage Committee. He served on the Appeals and Election committees of DC 37's parent union, AFSCME, and represents DC 37 on AFSCME's Transportation Committee.

DeMarco said, "I'm committed to working with DC 37's leadership to protect members' jobs and benefits and to get the best contract for our members."



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Cuthbert Dickenson
President, Local 374

Cuthbert Dickenson
President, Local 374

Cuthbert Dickenson, now in his third term, has served on the DC 37 Executive Board since 2007.

Dickenson began his career in public service in 1984 as an Electrical Maintainer for the New York Public Library.

He joined Quasi-Public Employees Local 374, became an activist and chapter chair and won election as local president in 2002.

To give employees access to opportunities for education and development, Dickenson worked with library management and the DC 37 Education Fund to develop a free trades apprenticeship program for local members employed at Manhattan, Staten Island and Bronx libraries. The successful program trains the workers for career advancement in facilities management and maintenance.

Dickenson chairs the DC 37 Citizenship Committee and is a co-chair and trustee of the NYPL DC 37 Health and Security Trust.

He is a member of the DC 37 Caribbean Heritage Committee and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.



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Juan Fernandez
President, Local 154

Juan Fernandez
President, Local 154

For Juan Fernandez, the union's success-winning a fair contract, protecting city services, electing progressive politicians, and backing immigrant rights-depends in part on cultivating a strong community presence.

Fernandez joined the city workforce in 1987.

He works as an Associate Human Rights Specialist at the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

His work has included training advocates for people with disabilities; researching immigration and hate crimes; and training community activists about discrimination.

During his tenure, Local 154 has added members from the private-sector, including New York Law School workers, Automated Finger Imaging System Operators and contracted linen workers at the Health and Hospitals Corp.

His priorities have included pushing for civil service exams, membership outreach and grieving workplace violations and management abuses. He has served as chair of the DC 37 Professional Committee.



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Jon Forster
Local 375

Jon Forster
Local 375

"We need to mobilize the rank and file," said Jon Forster, Local 375's executive board representative. Forster, a City Planner, vigorously opposes privatization, which Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375 has faced since its founding in 1937.

As a former executive vice president of Local 375, which represents Architects, Engineers and other technical workers, he pushed for environmentally friendly capital projects.

He also worked with DC 37's parent union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees on green issues.

"I believe DC 37 and other unions need to begin to get involved in climate change issues," said Forster, who has served as a Local 375 delegate and New York City Labor Council delegate.

The city's PlaNYC green program and a $20 billion project for Sandy-related work are an opening for public employees for green work, he said.

His proudest achievements at Local 375 include group grievances that resulted in promotions and big back-pay awards for Landscape Architects and Foresters.



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Jonathan Gray
President, Local 1655

Jonathan Gray
President, Local 1655

Jonathan Gray is a Bronx native who graduated from Mount Vernon High School and attended Bronx Community College and Skidmore College.

The president of Metropolitan Transportation Authority Clerical Administrative Employees Local 1655 began his career as a civil servant in 1982 as an Associate Cashier Level 1.

He was active in the union and became a shop steward; in 2004 he was elected vice president of the local and in 2008, Gray was elected president. He is now in his third term as local president.

"Union work is a passion for me," said Gray.

Now in his second term on the DC 37 Executive Board, he served on the union's Laws and Rules Committee.

Gray has also been a member of the union's Pension Committee, the Civil Service Committee, and the Education Fund Committee.

As local president, he has been organizing part-time Customer Service workers and Laboratory Techs 1 and 2, a new title, at the MTA.



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Bob Herkommer
President, Local 1501

Bob Herkommer
President, Local 1501

Wildlife Conservation Society Local 1501 President Bob Herkommer was re-elected to his second term on the DC 37 Executive Board.

He served for six years as president of the local, which represents about 20 titles including Animal Keepers, Electricians, Plumbers and other trades workers, maintenance, cafeteria and security workers and ticket agents at the city's zoos and the aquarium.

Last year Local 1501 absorbed the members of former Local 1665, who work for the city's smaller cultural institutions and museums.

Herkommer was first hired as an Assistant Zoo Keeper at the Bronx Zoo; a year later he was elected shop steward and eventually Local 1501 members elected him as their local president.

Herkommer serves on the DC 37 Finance and Cultural Trust committees.

"I work to make sure our contract is recognized and followed," he said.

"I take seriously my responsibility to protect members' jobs and benefits from managers who would try to violate members' rights."



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Dennis Ifill
President, Local 1359

Dennis Ifill
President, Local 1359

Dennis Ifill, president of Rent Regulation Service Employees Local 1359, brings a very broad perspective to the executive board.

As Rent Examiner 1, he is passionate about housing issues. A native of Guyana, he is a strong supporter of immigrant rights.

As chair of the DC 37 Political Action Committee, he helps shape the union's political agenda

He grew up in Guyana, and he immigrated to the United States in 1984. He has a diploma in accounting from the Guyana Technical Institute, studied labor law at Guyana's Critchlow Labor College and earned a bachelor's degree in math from the University of Guelph in Canada.

Local 1359 includes more than 300 Attorneys, Clerks, Rent Examiners, Rent Inspectors, Stenographers, Accountants and Housing Specialists at the New York State Homes & Community Renewal agency.

About a year ago, the local gained 25 additional members, including two in the new title of Investigator, who work for the new Tenant Protection Unit.



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Eric Latson
President, Local 1597

Eric Latson
President, Local 1597

Eric Latson is president of Custodial Assistants Local 1597, which represents about 2,000 city Custodians, Elevator Operators, Security Aides and Watchpersons.

Latson said he became active in the union movement "after reading the contract led me to become a shop steward."

Twelve years later, Latson became the local's vice president, and in 2006, the members elected him president.

"A lot of our positions are under fire, and our main concern is to protect members' jobs and benefits," Latson said.

"We have to fight for a decent contract that includes a wage increase and retroactive pay. That's the bottom line. It's what members are counting on us to do."





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Dishunta Meredith
President, Local 2054

Dishunta Meredith
President, Local 2054

Dishunta Meredith began her activism with NYC College Assistants Local 2054 in 2008, serving the members as a shop steward, and was elected president of the local in 2010.

She is in her second term on the DC 37 Executive Board.

Local 2054 represents employees in a variety of titles throughout the City University of New York system, which includes the CUNY Graduate Center, senior colleges, two-year technical and community colleges and Hunter College High School.

Born in Alabama, Meredith moved to New York City with her family as a child and attended public schools in Queens, where she now lives.

Meredith has a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master's degree in computer science.





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Israel Miranda
President, Local 2507

Israel Miranda
President, Local 2507

Israel Miranda was elected president of Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics and Inspectors Local 2507 in 2011.

One of his priorities as president has been making sure that his members receive the best training possible.

He is a certified occupational safety instructor trainer, a weapons of mass destruction instructor, Emergency Medical Service instructor and National Fire Academy infection control trainer.

A strong advocate for the medical monitoring of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Miranda worked with former Sen. Hillary Clinton on the issue.

He's also been an active member of the WTC Medical Monitoring Committee since its inception.

He serves with the Public Employees Safety Committee and the New York Detox Workers Advisory Board. Miranda served on Community Board 11, where he represented the residents of East Harlem for nearly a decade.

He is his local's first Latino president and serves on the board of the Fire Dept. Hispanic Society.



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Eileen Muller
President, Local 1482

Eileen Muller
President, Local 1482

Eileen Muller plans to be a voice of unity as the union fights for a new contract under the new administration of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

The president of Brooklyn Public Library Guild Local 1482 expressed her appreciation to DC 37's top leaders and Executive Board for supporting the union's library locals in their campaign for a local law to guarantee a stable funding base for the city's three public library systems.

Muller started out as a clerical worker at Brooklyn Public Library in 1985.

She then studied at the College of New Rochelle, where she earned a liberal arts degree, and later earned her master's degree in library science and technology at the Pratt Institute.

Muller's busy schedule with the union also includes serving as chair of the DC 37 Disability Advisory Committee.

In June, Muller was among 17 women honored as "Women of Distinction" by Courier Life publications for their contributions to the Brooklyn community.



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Deborah A. Pitts
President, Local 1113

Deborah A. Pitts
President, Local 1113

Deborah A. Pitts grew up in Brooklyn in a household of District Council 37 members who were very active in their locals. Both of her parents and her seven brothers and one sister were members of DC 37.

"We were at union meetings with our parents and out on picket lines all the time," recalls the Finance Dept. Local 1113 president of her very early start in union activism.

Pitts is now in her second term as president of the local and her second term on the DC 37 Executive Board.

In her local, Pitts held positions as a delegate and as the local's secretary for two terms and served on the DC 37 Political Action Committee.

She currently chairs the DC 37 Black History Committee, which organizes a series of Black History Month events at the union every February.

She is also active in the AFL-CIO's Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.



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Walthene Primus
President, Local 957

Walthene Primus
President, Local 957

Walthene Primus was born in St. George, S.C., and moved to Brooklyn with her parents when she was 5 years old.

She has been active in the labor movement for more than three decades.

Her career as a civil servant began in 1977 at the New York City Housing Authority.

She served the members of Housing Authority Clerical Employees Local 957 for almost 15 years as a shop steward before being elected president.

Her first term on the DC 37 Executive Board began in 2002.

Primus has been active on several union committees, including the DC 37 Women's Committee, which she chaired, and serves on the Women's Advisory Committee of DC 37's national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

She is especially proud of her local's Scholarship Committee, which awards three scholarships annually to deserving college-bound high school students who are children or grandchildren of local members.



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Joseph Puleo
President, Local 983

Joseph Puleo
President, Local 983

In April 2014, Joseph Puleo was elected unopposed as a DC 37 Vice President to fill a vacancy on the Executive Board created by a retirement. Puleo has been chair of the DC 37 Parks Policy Committee since February 2013. He previously served for many years as a DC 37 Sergeant-at-Arms and a member of the DC 37 Election Committee.

“As a DC 37 vice president, I look forward to working with the rest of the team,” Puleo said. “They have become like family after so many years together in the union.”

Joseph Puleo joined the city workforce 25 years ago as a Sanitation Enforcement Agent, a title represented by Communications Workers of America Local 1182. He became a member of Local 983 in February 1992 when he switched jobs to become an Urban Parks Ranger. He became an Associate Urban Parks Ranger in 2005.

In 1998, Puleo was elected as a Local 983 vice president, and he served five terms before he won the presidency of the local in June 2013. As a vice president, Puleo’s responsibilities included representing the local’s members at the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, as well as Assistant Highway Repairers at the Dept. of Transportation. He also oversaw the local’s political activities.

 



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Alma G. Roper
Executive V.P. Local 1549

Alma G. Roper
Executive V.P. Local 1549

Local 1549 Executive Vice President Alma G. Roper says she wants to be a strong voice of the members on the DC 37 Executive Board.

"My priority is to help all members, while maintaining the council's highest level of integrity and accountability," she said.

Roper began her civil service career in 1989 as a Police Communications Technician.

In 1998, she was promoted to Supervising PCT. As chair of the local's PCT/SPCT Chapter, she played a major role in Local 1549's successful lobbying for a state law that eliminated the age requirement for 911 workers to qualify for a full pension.

Roper is passionately fighting to stop outsourcing at 311; keep Medicaid workers in their jobs in the face of a state takeover; promote civilianization at uniformed agencies and Dept. of Buildings upgrades, and help at 911, where the Police Dept. recently agreed to hiring in order to alleviate abusive overtime.



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Jackie Rowe-Adams
President, Local 299

Jackie Rowe-Adams
President, Local 299

Jackie Rowe-Adams has a long history of activism in labor and in her Harlem community.

A member of Local 299 for more than 25 years, she is a Recreation Manager for the city Parks Dept. at the NYC Morningside Recreation Center in Harlem.

For several years, she chaired DC 37's PEOPLE Committee, the political fundraising arm of DC 37's national union.

As chair she worked to sign up members and local leaders as MVPs who contribute every month throughout the year.

"It's important that we build that support for politicians who support working people," said Adams.

As a community activist in Harlem, she organized parents and residents against the proliferation of guns in her neighborhood.

In 2006, she formed the non-profit Mothers to Stop Another Violent End. The organization provides support to mothers and family members who have lost children to gun violence, organizes rallies and lobbies for stronger gun laws.



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Peter Stein
President, Local 508

Peter Stein
President, Local 508

Peter Stein, a committed unionist for over 40 years, is president of Lifeguard Supervisors Local 508, which he likes to say represents "first responders who patrol New York City's public pools and beaches."

Stein has served on the DC 37 Executive Board for many years.

With help from DC 37, he recouped almost $200,000 in longevity and retroactive pay for the Supervisors in Local 508, and hundreds of Local 461 Lifeguards.

Stein has made political action a priority.

On election days, he volunteers with more than 300 Lifeguards and Supervisors to support the labor-friendly candidates DC 37 endorses.

"Today, political action is labor's essential battleground for economic victories for our members and social justice.

As public employees, we show our strength as a union at the ballot box," he said.



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Jim Tucciarelli
President, Local 1320

Jim Tucciarelli
President, Local 1320

Jim Tucciarelli has served as president of Sewage Treatment Workers and Sr. STWs Local 1320 since 1983.

He has been a vice president and Executive Board member of District Council 37 for 21 years.

Working with DC 37 leaders and using a wage determination process run by the city comptroller, Tucciarelli won a decade-long battle with the local's latest contract, which provides a substantial pay increase for members by bringing them up to compensation rates for similar workers in the private sector.

In the 1970s, Tucciarelli worked closely with Executive Director Lillian Roberts to win civil service opportunities for participants in federal job programs.

He has fought at her side ever since.

Tucciarelli heads the union's Site Inspection Committee and the Pension Committee, co-chairs the DC 37 Health and Security Plan Trust and serves on the Judicial Panel of DC 37's national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.



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Esther (Sandy) Tucker
President, Local 384

Esther (Sandy) Tucker
President, Local 384

Esther (Sandy) Tucker is president of City University of New York and Educational Opportunity Centers Local 384.

A union activist for more than two decades, she started as a shop steward in 1989 and was elected president of the local in 1999.

She is in her fourth term on the DC 37 Executive Board. For five years she chaired the DC 37 PEOPLE Committee, the grassroots political fundraising arm of DC 37's national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Tucker's experience as chair of the PEOPLE Committee reinforced how politics impact the jobs, wages and working conditions of public employees.

Tucker used her union educational benefits to complete her bachelor's and master's degrees in education.

She started working for the City University of New York in 1968 as a provisional employee at City College.

A year later she took a test and began her career as a civil servant.



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Anthony Wells
President, Local 371

Anthony Wells
President, Local 371

Anthony Wells, president of Social Service Employees Union Local 371, views the DC 37 Executive Board as a platform to solidify the union's role as a leading progressive political force in the city.

Wells said the battle with the NYCHA is a case study of how the union should act.

DC 37 has spoken out not only as a defender of NYCHA employees but also as a housing advocate for the poor.

Wells, a graduate of Baruch College, Stony Brook University and New York Law School, was elected president of Local 371 in 2011.

His background includes negotiating, organizing, research and pensions.

He chairs the DC 37 Civil Service Committee, and he is a co-chair of the Municipal Labor Committee.

Wells began his civil service career in 1980 as a Caseworker at the Spofford Juvenile Center in the Bronx.

In 1983, he transferred to the Bureau of Child Welfare. In 1988, he started working as an organizer for Local 371.



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Rochelle Mangual
President,
Retirees Association

 

Rochelle Mangual
President, Retirees Association

Rochelle Mangual joined the board after her election in April as president of the Retirees Association of DC 37, which has more than 25,000 dues-paying members.

She promises to be a forceful advocate for retiree issues on the board.

Her priorities include protecting the health and pensions of current and future retirees.

Before retiring, Mangual was a member of Local 384 as a clerical worker at the City University of New York.

She started out her career at the Bursar's Office at Hunter College. She served many years as a shop steward and local executive board member.

Mangual retired in 1999, joined the Retirees Association in 2001 and served as associate recording secretary and recording secretary before becoming president.

She serves on the union's Pension and Civil Service committees.



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