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New York – Unions Protest Bloomberg Budget Cuts

For the Children
For the Children | Members of New York’s DC 1707, which represents 25,000 community and social agency employees, rallied earlier this year near New York City Hall to demand that the mayor and the City Council restore funding for child care services now on the chopping block. (Photo by Michel Friang)

Led by AFSCME members of District Councils 1707 and 37, tens of thousands of public and private labor activists, community supporters, members of religious groups, child-protection workers and elected officials have fought City Hall in New York City this year to prevent drastic budget cuts to child care and other essential services.

Because of AFSCME’s efforts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) was forced to preserve some child care money that was under threat. But at least 7,000 children of low income working families could still lose their publicly subsidized care next year. AFSCME is fighting to restore $91 million cut from the budget for these services.

“As goes child care, so goes the neighborhood,” Raglan George, executive director of DC 1707 and an AFSCME International vice president, said at a rally. The union represents 25,000 community and social agency employees, including those working in Head Start centers, home care, and social service and direct care organizations.

AFSCME activists have gathered petition signatures and urged citizens to protest the mayor’s proposal to eliminate day care services for approximately 17,000 children. “We are here to speak up for the children of New York,” Sec.-Treas. Lee Saunders declared at the rally. “We have got to stand up for them like never before, and we demand fairness.”

In addition to supporting DC 1707's fight for child care, DC 37 is leading the battle to prevent Draconian city budget cuts that threaten public schools, parks and pools, libraries, public health and other services.

“The mayor and the governor cut taxes on the wealthy by $5 billion a year when they let the ‘millionaires’ tax’ expire, and Mayor Bloomberg is not making any effort to collect the hundreds of millions of dollars in business taxes owed to the city,” declared Exec. Dir. Lillian Roberts, who was sworn in this June as an AFSCME International vice president (see above).

Get Off Our Backs!
‘Get Off Our Backs!’ Union workers from New York’s DC 37 and community supporters rally outside City Hall earlier this year to protest budget cuts and proposed layoffs. (Photo by Michel Friang)

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