Sign up For DC 37 News


Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

Union launches media campaign to fight layoffs

From top: Emergency Medical Technician Diana Wilson (Local 2507), 911 Call Center Operator Monique Brown (Local 1549).


While negotiations continue with the de Blasio administration to prevent 22,000 layoffs of essential public workers, DC 37 has launched a public grassroots campaign to convince state lawmakers in Albany to pass legislation to increase revenue and to give New York City vital aid by allowing the city to borrow money, as was done in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

It is crucial for the state to step up and take action to prevent the layoffs. The union is calling on the state legislation to pass bills to:

  • Create an Early Retirement Incentive (ERI) Program allowing members of the city’s three pension systems to retire early without a financial penalty.
  • Grant the City borrowing authority, similar to the one given to the State and the MTA.
  • Include a revenue package that would tax millionaires and ultra-millionaires, and generate enough revenue to prevent deep cuts that will hurt New Yorkers.

A major media campaign is underway. On Sept. 13, the union unveiled a video highlighting the essential workers who make up the frontlines of the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From top: Senior School Lunch Helper Ameche Green (Local 372), Respiratory Therapist Benita Joseph (Local 768), Senior Sewage Treatment Worker Chris Olavarria (Local 1320).

The video, “I Am the Frontline,” features five DC 37 members who worked during the pandemic sharing their experiences while stressing the importance of being an essential worker during a public health crisis—one that has devastated the lives of millions during a now six-month long shutdown of New York City.

One member featured in the video, Local 1549 911 Operator Monique Brown, talked about the intense commitment to serve the public during the pandemic. “We have to be there. There is no day off for us—no quarantining, because New York City depends on us,” she said.

“We have thousands of calls that come in a day,” Brown said. “And when someone is suffering, or going through despair, or they have an emergency, we are the person they want to talk to.”

Respiratory Therapist Benita Joseph, a Local 768 member, said, “When I come to work, knowing that I am helping my community, it makes me feel much better.”

Yet, the stress working during the pandemic was at times challenging. “We just never knew what we were walking into,” said Joseph. “We had to put it together and try our best to help save lives.”

To hear these members’ stories and to get involved, please visit and watch “I Am the Frontline.” The link also includes the opportunity to write a letter to your elected officials to urge their support of these proposals. It is important to do so. Time is short and participating to stop these possible layoffs is imperative to save the jobs of thousands of essential public workers who sacrificed to make the city run during the pandemic.