Shaun D. Francois I
President, District Council 37
“I realized early on that the future of the labor movement is inextricably linked to labor activism, organizing and mentoring activists,” said Francois. He chaired Local 372’s first Next Wave Committee, an AFSCME program that mentored union activists under 40 years of age for leadership roles. Francois is the first Next Waver to be elected an executive officer at DC 37.
Local 372 represents 24,000 School Crossing Guards, Bd. Of Education Food Services drivers, lunchroom aides, loaders and handlers, and kitchen staff, paraprofessionals and SAPIS counselors.
Francois began his civil service career over 25 years ago as Sr. School Lunch Helper. While a teenager, he visited DC 37 and the activism and dedication of the membership impressed him and “ignited in me a desire to belong to a union and to fight for my fellow workers,” he said.
As a young city employee, Francois became very active in the labor movement and a strong voice for the voiceless. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he did not accept any intolerance or injustice at the workplace. He served as chapter chair, shop steward and secretary of Local 372’s Cultural Committee.
Francois is chair of the DC 37 Ethics Committee. He also is a CBTU board member, and serves on the DC 37 Finance Committee, the AFSCME Federal Policy Committee, is an alternate trustee on the New York City Board of Retirement System (BERS), a LCLAA member, a Central Labor Council delegate and more.
President Francois’s keen focus on protecting the rights of workers and eliminating income inequality led him to lead Local 372’s Fight for $15 campaign to increase New York’s minimum hourly wage to $15 for the lowest paid city employees. That fight that was won Dec. 31, 2018 as Mayor de Blasio’s law raised the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.
As president of DC 37’s largest local, Francois won hard-fought salary increases for more than 2,300 School Crossing Guards (some of the lowest paid employees within the union) and created the first ever career path to supervisor, SCG Level 2.
Francois restored and reinstated the local’s Severance Related Fund for retirees’ health benefits, lobbied state and city lawmakers to increase funds for additional SAPIS Counselors, and uses a mobile van to bring union services to members’ worksites at schools throughout the city.
“We are doing more to let members know the union is fighting hard on their behalf,” Francois said. “I pledge to not rest until all Local 372 members have fair, comfortable and equitable jobs. This fight to protect salaries and services is not just for members of my local, but for each DC 37 member to retain the salary, pension and health benefits and job protections they rightly deserve.”