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2007 News Releases

October 29, 2007

Donna Silberberg - 212-815-1535
Molly Charboneau
Rudy Orozco - 646-823-5934

District Council 37 Calls on the City Council to "Pass the Residency Bill Now"

Intro. 452 would let 45,000 DC 37 members and thousands of other city workers reside in nearby counties
- the same choice 240,000 city workers now have.

Lillian Roberts, Executive Director of District Council 37, the city's largest public employee union, came to the steps of City Hall today for a news conference urging members of the City Council to pass Intro. 452, a residency bill that would allow city workers to reside in six nearby New York State counties. Among other unions leaders present or indicating support were: Randi Weingarten, President, United Federation of Teachers and Chair of the MLC; Dennis Hughes, President, NYS AFL-CIO; Edward F. Ott, Executive Director, NYC Central Labor Council; John T. Ahern, Local 30, IUOE and the Executive VP of the NYC CLC; Arthur Cheliotes, President, Communications Workers of America, Local 1180; Joseph Colangelo, President, Local 246, SEIU; Robert Croghan, Chair, Organization of Staff Analysts; Thomas Drogan, President, Lieutenants Benevolent Association; Gloria Johnson, President, Civil Service Bar Assocation; Barry Liebowitz, M.D., President, Doctors Council; Harry Nespoli, President, Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association, Local 831.

The residency rule, first put into place 20 years ago, affects 45,000 DC 37 members and thousands of other city workers, many of whom are low-paid, minority workers. Under the rule, they must live in the city or lose their jobs. In contrast, nearly a quarter of a million city workers are not subject to the rule, including police, firefighters, teachers and sanitation workers. Also workers employed by contractors doing work for the city have no residency requirement nor do they pay city taxes if they live in surrounding counties. The bill before the City Council, Intro. 452, would allow city workers to reside in the suburban counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Putnam. They would continue to pay city taxes.

DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts said, "Changing the residency requirement is a matter of fairness and choice. Why should our members be treated differently from 240,000 other city workers? With housing costs continuing to rise, the residency requirement poses a hardship for members in search of affordable housing. They need the same right to look for affordable housing in a larger area that other city workers have. The Mayor agreed as part of our July 2006 union contract agreement to support expanding residency rules. Now the City Council needs to make it happen.

"We want the Council to focus on the severity of the problems caused by the current residency rule," said Ms. Roberts. "It is an impediment to the progress of people trying to do a job, seek promotion, serve the citizens of New York City, and find affordable housing for themselves and their families. It would not lead to an influx of people outside the city taking city jobs or a mass exodus of city workers to the suburbs. The facts show that when residency is lifted there is minimal impact. An obsolete restriction should not be placed on one group of workers while not applying to others. City workers have a right to fairness and choice. Anything less is an injustice. The City Council should remedy that by passing Intro. 452."

The union plans a concerted lobbying, education and mail campaign to get the bill passed.

DC 37 is New York City's largest public employee union, representing 121,000 members and 50,000 retirees.

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