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New York: DC 37 Fights to Prevent Privatization, Layoffs

Resuming a battle that has lasted more than a decade, New York City's largest public employee union is again fighting to prevent the outsourcing of laundry services for most of the city's public hospitals, and to stop a plan to lay off other employees.

New York, New York

Resuming a battle that has lasted more than a decade, New York City's largest public employee union is again fighting to prevent the outsourcing of laundry services for most of the city's public hospitals, and also to stop a plan to lay off other city employees.

Through a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court, DC 37 is attempting to enforce a 2005 agreement between the union and Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC). The company, which operates the Brooklyn Central Laundry (BCL), promised to stop outsourcing and return laundry processing to BCL.

HHC recently reneged on the agreement and is seeking a private vendor to do the work. Approximately 150 BCL workers, including 100 represented by Municipal Hospital Employees Union Local 420 (DC 37), would lose their jobs if the company's reorganization plan goes through.

Over the next four years, the company might lay off as many as 3,700 HHC workers, including 150 laborers, carpenters and electricians who were to be dismissed by last September. Approximately 60 of them are represented by Local 924 (DC 37).

In several lawsuits, DC 37 and other unions have temporarily blocked HHC from laying off laborers. The dispute remains unresolved as AFSCME WORKS went to press. DC 37 also has conducted a more direct campaign to win public support: On the day the lawsuit was filed, nearly 300 members of DC 37 and other unions rallied in front of HHC's Manhattan headquarters to protest the company's outsourcing plans.

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