District Council 1707, AFL-CIO


      30-Year Veteran Promises New Direction for the Union 

Kim Medina was sworn-in as the first Latino woman to become Executive Director for District Council 1707, AFSCME. She stirred the audience of delegate assembly members and rank and filers with a promise of a new direction for the union. The swearing-in was done on May 16, 2017.

Medina pledged to take members needs and concerns in consideration with all of her moves. She was joined by the new Council President Linda McPherson and Council Treasurer Larry Barton.



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Union and Head Start Sponsoring Board Council Reach a New Tentative Agreement


         Four-Year Agreement Will Resolve Vexing Issues in Shops

                            AAA Mail Ballot Sent Out for Ratification

Head Start Employees Local 95 reached a tentative agreement with the New York City Head Start Sponsoring Board Council for a four-year agreement that goes back retroactively to February 1, 2015. The agreement ends January 31, 2019.

The agreement will be in effect once members ratify the contract. The local has agreed that the ratification vote will be certified by the American Arbitration Association at the end of the month.

Already some members have said that employers have begun to pay the 1.8 percent wage increase retroactive from February 1, 2016.

“Members should carefully look at their pay stubs,” said Local 95 President Carolyn Cox. “It is possible that mistakes could be made in calculating the increase. It is better that members catch these mistakes now.”

“I have high praise for the Local 95 Negotiations Committee,” said Executive Director Victoria Mitchell who participated directly in the negotiations. “They worked hard, putting in long hours to insure the best contract possible for Head Start members.”

Cox concurred. Surveys were sent to members in 2016 and members responded with issues that were pressing to them both economic and non-economic.

Funds Set Aside to Bolster Health Fund, Longevity and Fringe Benefits

The contract includes a commitment from the employer of record, the Head Start Sponsoring Board Council, that the additional funding from the federal government must be applied to fringe benefits, longevity increases and health benefits.

It is important to note that Head Start is a federal government program which has determined the City of New York, like other large cities sponsoring the program, invests fifteen percent of the operational funding of the program. The majority of funding for Head Start comes from the federal government through agreement from Congress and the Executive Branch.

Despite detractions from anti-child, anti-family legislators and others, Head Start has been repeatedly praised as the nation’s most comprehensive program giving children a decisive “Head Start” in life and learning.

DC 1707 AFSCME Legal Counsel Harvey S. Mars noted that funding was set aside to bolster health benefits, longevity increases and other issues. Wage reopeners will be negotiated in the second and third years of the contract.

“This agreement is also significant because it also ends the misuse of employees forced to work out-of-title and guarantees that only bargaining unit members will perform bargaining unit work,” stated Mars.

Significant Gains in Work Rules

The memorandum of agreement also limits the use of temporary employees and also allows the Union to negotiate with employers over the creation of new bargaining unit jobs.

In light of the fight back against the Trump Administration and the Congress attempting to push back federal guarantees established during the 1930’s under President Roosevelt’s New Deal and in the 1960’s under President Johnson’s Great Society, the contract now supports members to be able to use payroll deductions to contribute to the AFSCME PEOPLE program, the political fund raising arm of the International Union.

“This addition is significant,” said Political Director G.L. Tyler. “When the union’s right to exist; Medicaid; Medicare; Obamacare; Social Security and other laws are under attack, member contributions to the PEOPLE campaign will help us win significant victories and maintain many of the programs under attack.”



District Council 1707 is proud to announce that we are going to continue our summer camp scholarship program! 

LIMITED scholarships - Act soon!

Deadline: June 2nd, 2017!

For more information, please contact the Education Department or click here.

Telephone: 212 -219-0022 

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After many months of negotiations, Rockland County ARC in Congers, NY reached an agreement with the Union unit’s negotiations committee. The contentious negotiations were reached after the employer agreed to stop many imposed practices which employees considered anti-labor and demeaning.

“We had a fight that helped to galvanize the membership,” said Executive Director Victoria Mitchell who led the negotiations. “These members were relieved when the union broke a cycle of agency practices that had very little to do with their work. Their jobs are demanding and they did not need to the burden of bad practices impeding their productivity and their enthusiasm for their jobs.”

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New York City Announces 3-K for All Initiative!

 New Program will Increase Union Membership In Increments

3-Year Olds Will Be Added to the UPK program by
the Fall, 2017 in Brownsville and the South Bronx!

Against the backdrop of the Trump administration lowering education standards and decreasing funding for public education while increasing military spending by billions, New York City has just announced increasing U Pre K by adding 3- year olds for free, full-day, early childhood education.

The addition of 3-year olds will give children in what are considered educationally-deficient communities an additional year of education and additional jobs for Local 95 and 205 members who currently have U Pre-K in their shops.

As the program expands incrementally by 2020, more than 1,800 children will be added to the U Pre-K rolls. Current Head Start and day care shops who do not have U Pre K should be receiving children over time. Some six additional districts will be added by 2020.

Some 11,000 children are being served by the City through Early Learn and other programs. The 3-K program is a part of the Mayor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda. This ambitious program also aims to have 80 percent of students’ graduate high school on time with some 66 percent of students being college ready. The City announced that these goals will be met by 2026 at a cost of $177 million.

“We have fought to earn the right to represent these members and we appreciate the City of New York expansion of this program to 3-year olds,” said Executive Director Victoria Mitchell. This opportunity will initially give our children in Brooklyn and the Bronx the ability to be competitive in an ever-changing global market by increasing their education by an additional year.”

U Pre-K Plans in CBOs’ Will be Sorted Out During Discussions With the Union

In early discussions with Mayor Bill De Blasio and staff of the Department of Education and the Administration of Children’s Services, the City’s plans are not fully formulated.  The City also announced that the U Pre K program and Early Learn programs serving children from six weeks through three-year olds will be transferred from the Administration for Children’s Services to the Department of Education.

Educational Courses at District Council 1707

District Council 1707 offers a variety of Educational courses. We offer courses at centers or agencies as well as in our union headquarters. Executive Director Victoria Mitchell welcomed a couple of agencies from Local 205 to the union hall this past week. E.D Mitchell commended these union members on taking advantage of the various courses that the union offers which are required by New York State for educators. To find out more on classes or workshops held at the union, click on the education tab on the left! 

Head Start Local 95 and the NYC Head Start Sponsoring Board Council jointly sponsored a Retirement Forum at the union auditorium rendering sound economic advice to a large crowd of members desiring up-to-date information about their pension rights and what the future of Social Security may be in the next twenty years.

Executive Director Victoria Mitchell thanked the both Local 95 President Carolyn Cox and Pension fund Board member Cynthia Cummings for organizing the meeting. She remarked that the union pension plan is strong and that their interest and participation will make the plan stronger despite the increasing attacks on wages and benefits by the Trump Administration and the Republican Party.


District Council 1707 is proud to announce our upcoming Shop Stewards Training! This national certification shop steward training program is scheduled for two (2) sessions (7 hours each).  

The dates are:

Saturday, April 8, 2017 AND Saturday, April 22, 2017 

 9:00am to 4:00pm.

In order to become a certified shop steward, attendance at all sessions is required. 

Please register online within our Education Department or call 212-219-0022 for more information. 

The training will take place at 420 West 45th Street, New York, NY 10036. 

Hope to see you there! 

DC 1707 Political Action Committee Meeting

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


420 West 45th Street
(Between 9th & 10th Avenues)
Convenient to the A, C, E, N, R, #1,2 and 3 Trains

PAC Hotline 646-527-6647

Lorraine Guest
Political Action Committee Chairperson
All Members are Welcome
Refreshments will be Served


Local 215 Former FEGS members Settlement Checks

 As you may be aware, Local 215, District Council 1707, CSAEU, AFSCME, AFL-CIO (the "Union"), through its outside lawyers, has for the past several months been engaged in discussions with FEGS and the Creditors’ Committee about a settlement of the members’ severance and WARN Act claims. On November 23, 2016, FEGS, with the support of the Creditors’ Committee, filed a Motion to approve a proposed Settlement Agreement with the Union regarding the WARN and Severance claims as well as the claim of the National Labor Relations Board for back pay. The settlement amounts (“Settlement Amounts”) to be paid to the Union Employees are set forth in Exhibits appended to the Motion. All Union Employees have received a copy of the Motion and Exhibits via US Mail. The Motion and the Settlement Agreement were approved by the Bankruptcy Court.

On Friday, February 17, 2017, settlement checks paying applicable members for the WARN and Severance claims were mailed. Members whose checks were returned to sender should contact Mr. Cheoliver Sprosta (212) 219.0022 at the Union. Questions regarding the Motion, the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Amounts or any other related matters must be directed to Larry Cary, Esq., of Cary Kane, LLP, counsel to the Union. Mr. Cary’s address and phone are as follows: 1350 Broadway, Suite 1400, New York, NY 10018; Phone: (212) 868-6300

Local 215 Former FEGS members!

 As you may be aware, Local 215, District Council 1707, CSAEU, AFSCME, AFL-CIO (the "Union"), through its outside lawyers, has for the past several months been engaged in discussions with FEGS and the Creditors’ Committee about a settlement of the members’ severance and WARN Act claims. On November 23, 2016, FEGS, with the support of the Creditors’ Committee, filed a Motion to approve a proposed Settlement Agreement with the Union regarding the WARN and Severance claims as well as the claim of the National Labor Relations Board for back pay. The settlement amounts (“Settlement Amounts”) to be paid to the Union Employees are set forth in Exhibits appended to the Motion. All Union Employees will receive a copy of the Motion and Exhibits via US Mail. The Motion and the Settlement Agreement are subject to Bankruptcy Court approval. The hearing on the Motion is scheduled to be heard by the Bankruptcy Court on December 12, 2016. Any questions regarding the Motion, the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Settlement Amounts or any other related matters must be directed to Larry Cary, Esq., of Cary Kane, LLP, counsel to the Union. Mr. Cary’s address and phone are as follows: 1350 Broadway, Suite 1400, New York, NY 10018; Phone: (212) 868-6300.



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  The first weeks of the Trump administration confirm that AFSCME representatives, members and immigrant communities need to prepare for ramped up and targeted immigration enforcement. The administration's early actions include an illegal executive order banning certain migrants, refugees and even U.S. residents from entering the country, and raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain and deport immigrants. The Trump administration's irresponsible actions are causing chaos, creating panis, tearing families apart and traumatizing our children. Read to read more on how to protect yourself and be aware CLICK HERE!


For information in Spanish, click read more. 


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Victoria Mitchell Reelected To the AFSCME International Executive Board

 Why the International Executive Board Is Important To All Members...

During the 42nd AFSCME International Convention President Lee Saunders was reelected by acclimation by the convention delegates. His leadership during this period of member frustration and attacks by every anti-labor force is the nation has been instrumental to the union’s growth and stability.

Secretary Treasurer Laura Reyes also considered a steady hand was reelected, as well, by over 900,000 votes. She has proven herself during her short tenure. And not far behind were the 35 International Vice Presidents from across the nation who help Saunders and Reyes steer the union through turmoil and progress. They have helped guide the International Union on a steady course through increasingly uncharted waters.

Of the 35 seats up for reelection there were eight contested elections including the CSEA District with three seats contested and the New York State District, with one seat, where Victoria Mitchell was challenged, but won handedly. The New York District encompasses Councils 35, 66 and 82 in upstate New York – headquartered respectively in Syracuse, Buffalo and Albany.

“The International Vice Presidents help run this union,” said Mitchell proudly. “We are not a static body. We engage the problems that test this union and we respond to the needs of our members. We fight to keep our union stable in these demanding times.”

“I am proud to be a part of this body. I am proud to represent my members in this most difficult period. Some of the issues we face at the International Board meeting may seem too mundane to some, but they are actually the layers of leadership and ideas that are discussed in an effort to make our union better and stonger,” she said.

A Rank and File Member for More than 30 Years

“Our union is a democratic union that actually is run from the bottom up. I was a rank and file member for more than 30 years. I represent the values and struggles of our members. I am helping our union resist the forces from the right which are trying to take away our rights and privileges,” she said.

AFSCME has 3,400 locals and 58 councils and affiliates, including DC 1707, in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each local runs its affairs including electing its officers and designing its structure.

The International Union coordinates the union’s activities on important issues and provides resources to councils and local unions to assist in organizing, collective bargaining, providing educational benefits and other essentials to members.

“By being on the board, I help guide the fundamental actions of the International Union,” said Mitchell. “Our discussions can be heated but it is done with a good faith understanding that we all want to help our members and the union to grow.”

“We stand guard to insure that our members’ trust is not misplaced,” she said. “It works. The success of the AFSCME Strong program is a testament to the leadership of Saunders and Reyes backed by the International Vice Presidents.”

Brothers and Sisters,

The Governor has received legislation awaiting his signature containing the power to dramatically improve the working conditions for thousands of our members. This bill, S5130, the Workplace Violence Prevention bill, will afford our Direct Care, Home Care, Child Care, and Social Workers the same protection under the law as their direct counterparts in the Public sector.
  Read more >>>

Congress is continuing to debate not only the funding priorities for the Fiscal Year 2016, but also whether or not to raise the caps on the spending before December 11th. This decision will inevitably impact the amounts of funds available for these programs including early learning. It is critical to have as many state and local groups as possible sign the letter and circulate it as well. We Care, we Count! Read more >>>

The 2016 NYC Labor Day Parade!

March With District Council 1707! 
Bring Your Coworkers, Family & Friends!

Saturday, September 10, 2016
Assembly Time is 9 AM on 44th Street
Between 6th & 7th Avenue

For more information or to RSVP call the
DC 1707 PAC Hotline at 646-527-6647 or Fax to 646-981-6346

(*Be sure to indicate tee shirt sizes of your coworkers & family.
Children sizes are available*).

Protecting Home Care Workers Requires Community, Legal and Political Support


By Manuela Butler
President of Home Care Employees Local 389, DC 1707, AFSCME

In recent years laws have been passed to protect city bus drivers, traffic enforcement personnel and law enforcement officers who are consistently placed in dangerous situations.

But thousands of home care workers in New York City and across the state do not have similar protection, even though home care workers work in dangerous neighborhoods, questionable homes and sometimes are confronted by threatening neighbors or family members of their clients.

The agencies that employ home care workers consistently send us to homes without indicating that the client is either “difficult-to-serve” or family members may be potentially dangerous.

In a recent case, a member of our local was physically assaulted by a male family member of an aging client. When the police arrived, our member was arrested and charged with a felony because she protected herself from being beat by the client’s relative.

We do not know what to expect in many of the home we serve. But it is apparent that many of our agencies and the state are not willing to come to our aid with protective policies or laws to fully protect home care workers who work alone in sometimes frightening environments.

We Do Not Know What to Expect

We do not know what to expect. We assume we are going to take care of someone incapacitated and alone. In some cases the client lives with relatives who assume that we are employed as a maid of the family. Many of the workers believe they have no recourse but stay and wait on client’s relative hand and foot to remain employed. Sometimes if we complain the employer may take us off that assignment and in retaliation may not give the home care worker another assignment for weeks or months.

While a state anti-workplace violence bill is order (even though two NYS governors have vetoed legislation passed by the senate and the assembly which would provide additional protection to home care workers), home care agencies could strongly detail the duties of home care workers to both clients and family members to avoid our members being seen as maids.

Home care workers should be informed if the home they are entering has the possibility of danger to us in our workplace. The safety of home care workers should be paramount. In 2007, several people in a patient’s home were shot to death in Queens, including one of our members who was a young mother with three children

My members want to go to work and return safely to their families. My members should not be concerned that going to work become a life or death situation because our agencies and the state have little regard for our safety.


Back in July, we announced a new AFSCME benefit available to you and your family: a free associate degree from Eastern Gateway Community College. Your response has been overwhelming, with nearly 20,000 inquiries made, more than 5,000 applicants and more than 2,000 students currently enrolled in classes. We are thrilled that so many of you are taking advantage of this great benefit. 

Having a college degree is more important than ever for getting ahead these days, but tuition costs just keep getting higher and higher. That's why theAFSCME Free College Benefit is absolutely free. You, your spouse, your children and grandchildren can earn a college degree without digging into your own pockets or piling on student debt. And because Eastern Gateway is a public, regionally accredited college, the credits you work hard to earn are transferable to other schools. This can literally save you and your family thousands of dollars.

You won’t be left to figure this out for yourself, either. Every student gets to talk to real people who will help you through the process. The classes are online, so they fit into anyone’s busy schedule, and there are tutors and coaches who make sure you aren’t on your own.

An associate degree can be your pathway to new opportunities, greater responsibility, a better job and higher wages. This is a unique opportunity — available only to AFSCME members, your families and retirees. You can find more information about the benefit and available degree programs here.
You work hard for your community, and that work can often go unsung. The AFSCME Free College Benefit is one more way AFSCME helps members secure the opportunities and the respect you deserve.

Enrollment for the first spring session is now open and Early Childhood Education degrees are now offered. Classes begin on January 17. Don’t wait to start this exciting new program and help grow your career!

In solidarity,
Lee Saunders
AFSCME President

Statement by the Executive Board of District Council 1707 AFSCME on the Orlando, Florida Shootings

 The horrific loss of life and injuries suffered in Orlando over the weekend at the Pulse nightclub calls for all of us to think again about our responsibilities to all our brothers and sisters.

President Barack Obama called the senseless shootings both a terrorist action and a hate crime.

These events do not happen in a vacuum. None of us are allowed to think that this can only happen to others. We are all “others”. We must join together to offer support to our neighbors, our coworkers and our families despite the small differences that exist between us sometimes.

On behalf of the Executive Board of District Council 1707, we grieve with the families of the victims and the city of Orlando. We must do what we can to coalesce and reduce the rhetoric of exclusion, to fight the irresponsible usage of weapons of destruction and encourage all of our members to vote in the November General Election.

If a member cannot vote, we encourage all members to actively participate in the electoral process by advocating others who can legally vote to take part in the election process and to organize and educate our members and our communities to elect officials who truly care about the safety and concerns of working families.

Lorraine Guest hung up the phone in her office, staggered by the news. Her bosses had given her hope that her job would be safe, that her colleagues would be safe. But now? Now, it was clear that no one was safe.

The call, on Feb. 9, was from the human resources department at FEGS Health and Human Services, one of the largest social service agencies in New York City. Minutes later, Ms. Guest and other FEGS employees were summoned to an emergency meeting where management laid it all out: New agencies were taking over their programs. There were no guarantees that they would keep their jobs.

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A federal judge on Monday struck down Labor Department regulations that would have meant higher pay for some home health care workers. Read more >>>

In 2011, President Barack Obama promised to raise the wages of home care workers, a chronically underpaid and poverty-stricken profession. But a legal challenge and a recent court decision have delayed that guarantee and put its fate in question. Read more >>>

Progressive Senators who have already criticized the administration on other economic issues — Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tom Harkin — wrote a letter last spring to Obama, applauding his decision to revisit overtime pay. But in their letter, the liberal Senators also set forth their desired threshold: Around $54,000 per year, rather than $42,000, the amount the Obama administration is supposedly eying. Read more >>>

NEW YORK, August 6 ---- District Council 1707 announced the passing of Betty Powell, one of the original organizers and members of the nation’s first Head Start local in the nation. She was respected throughout the union movement and by child care advocates alike as a pioneer for child care workers’ rights at a time when child care workers were seen by many as babysitters and not educators. Read more >>>

NYS Independent Democrats Honor Local 205's Li Juang Chan for her union and child care activism. Read more >>>

Mitchell was honored for her many years of union activity, her humanitarian work in Jamaica and her work in her former position as Development Administration Manager for ORT America, where she was the Chapter Chair and the shop steward. Read more >>>

40 years is long enough. AFSCME urges you to stand up for home care workers wages and benefits

 Dear Sisters and Brothers,

After waiting 40 years to be covered by minimum wage and overtime law, home care workers may be forced to wait another 1.5 years—unless you help.

The Department of Labor did the right thing by issuing a rule to cover home care workers, but now there is an effort to delay its implementation.

Join us in telling the Department of Labor they cannot deny these basic labor protections any longer.

Home care workers provide vital services to the elderly and people with disabilities, yet earn poverty wages and struggle to sustain their own families on what they earn. They should NOT have to wait a moment longer to receive these basic protections afforded to virtually all other American workers.
Justice delayed is justice too-long denied. Tell the DOL: “No Delay to Fair Pay."

In Solidarity,

President Lee Saunders & Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes

(Text JOIN to 237263 for text message updates!)

During the May 20th Delegate Assembly meeting, Victoria Mitchell, Loraine Guest and Linda McPherson took office and all proclaimed they were prepared to take on the arduous tasks to build the union’s strength and vitality. Read more >>>

Members listened and spoke to about fifteen different programs regarding advancing and enhancing their careers and futures. The program was sponsored by the union’s Education Department, the Consortium for Workers Education and the NYC Day Care Council through a grant from the New York City Council. Read more >>>

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