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Democratize unions


To the editor:

Two recent stories in The Chief point to the need for democracy and transparency in all retiree unions and their parent unions ("Insurgent slate wins UFT retiree chapter election," June 21, and "Transit union ensures right to Medicare," June 14). 

The District Council 37 Retirees Association administrator must adhere to the retiree’s constitution, which requires an election next spring. That is sufficient time for the administrator to clear up the IRS paperwork. The administrator needs to conduct real membership meetings where members have voice and can participate in the affairs of THEIR association!

TWU Local 100 also needs to follow its retirees' bylaws and hold a free and fair election as soon as possible and must explain how that union’s leadership can state they have no obligation to its retirees, yet claim the right to negotiate for them. How democratic is that?

All rank-and-file members of municipal unions should follow TWU Local 106's example and amend their locals' constitutions to protect Medicare benefits for retirees. This would send a clear message to the leadership that they can't allow the city to trade long-term health-care benefits for other benefits and salary increases.

The Municipal Labor Committee should digest the recent court decisions and UFT election results as a wake-up call for them to resist the city's insistence on holding them hostage to a failed PEG and begin to find other solutions to contain health care costs, such as those proposed by the Professional Staff Congress and the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees.

When union leadership ignores the interest of their membership and their retirees, it is eventually shown the door. The leadership door is never locked from the inside. Case in point is the recent free and fair United Federation of Teachers retiree election.

Stuart Eber

The writer is president of the Council of Municipal Retiree Organizations (COMRO)


3 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Kate8475

    Very well said!

    Thursday, June 27 Report this

  • Rgonzalez1973


    Thursday, June 27 Report this


    Thank you Stu. A few Union Leaders forgot that unions were founded in dissent. Joining a union does not mean you lost your free speech and own opinions. The leader still has to work hard to earn their members' respect. They still answer to the membership. The leadership of the UFT had a reckoning, as they Lost BOTH the Retired Teacher Chapter and the active Para Chapter! This means active workers are listening! We have a long way to go to correct these unions to work together and build on what we negotiated and not engage in attrition bargaining! LABOR HAS VALUE! And it should not reduced!

    Monday, July 1 Report this