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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

Seven DC 37 leaders ranked among city and state’s “Labor Power 100”

City and State published its annual Labor Power 100 covering the most influential labor leaders in New York City.

Due of the COVID-19 pandemic, which placed the city’s largest public worker union at the forefront fighting city budget cuts, seven of the union’s leaders were cited in the list.

Ranked third, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido was honored for his role in the response to the pandemic. While much of New York was in lockdown, DC 37 members continued to work daily. Garrido led the union’s response in providing PPE to DC 37 members during the shortages in the early phase of the pandemic.

Coming in at #42 on the list is Anthony Wells, President of SSEU Local 371. Wells, along with Garrido, is involved with the Municipal Labor Committee’s negotiations with Mayor Bill de Blasio in working on a solution to prevent the layoffs of 22,000 workers.

Listed at #43, Municipal Hospital Employees Union Local 420 President Carmen Charles got her members access to PPE in the pandemic. She also pushed for death benefits for families of public workers who died of COVID-19.

Shaun D. Francois I, DC 37 and Local 372 President was listed at #49. Although schools were closed, about 8,000 Local 372 school lunch workers stayed on the job, providing grab-and-go meals to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers during the crisis.

At #57 and #58 respectively, presidents of the first responder locals were honored. Oren Barzilay, President of Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY Local 2507, and Vincent Variale, Uniformed EMS Officers Local 3621 President, were at the forefront of the crisis with their members handling a record amount of 911 calls. Barzilay warns of delayed responses to emergencies with 400 emergency medical responder positions endangered during the city’s budget shortfall, while Variale wants New York City to increase pay and benefits to address high turnover among the emergency medical service workers.

Eddie Rodriguez, President of Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549, made the list at #85. With members at nearly every city agency, Rodriguez is also fighting against potential layoffs of essential city workers.