District Council 37
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District Council 37 was chartered in 1944 by AFSCME to represent public employees in New York City. It was small and relatively unsuccessful under its first president, Henry Feinstein. But under the leadership of Jerry Wurf, who took over DC37 in 1952, the union grew to 25,000 members by 1957, and 36,000 members in 1962. It also successfully pressured Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr., to pass executive order 49, which recognized collective bargaining rights for public sector workers.
Wurf became president of AFSCME in 1964 and was replaced later that year by Victor Gotbaum, who was president of DC37 until 1987. Under Gotbaum, the union continued to grow in numbers and power.
People who worked closely with Gotbaum included: Lillian Roberts, Associate Director in charge of Organization; Edwin Maher, Associate Director in charge of employees; Daniel Nelson, head of the Department of Research; Julius Topol, DC37 counsel; Bernard Stephens, editor of the Public Employee Press; and Alan Viani, who took over as head of the Department of Research in 1973 after Nelson's death.
Gotbaum's successor was Stanley Hill, who subsequently resigned in 1998 due to a major scandal in the union. After a trusteeship by AFSCME, Hill was ultimately succeeded in 2002 by Lillian Roberts, who first started working with Gotbaum in 1959. Roberts retired at the end of 2014 and was succeeded by her associate Henry Garrido.
- Siegel, Fred (25 January 2011). "How Public Unions Took Taxpayers Hostage". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
Running for re-election in 1961, Mayor Wagner was opposed by the old-line party bosses of all five boroughs. He turned to a new force, the public-sector unions, as his political machine. His re-election resonated at the Kennedy White House, which had won office by only the narrowest of margins in 1960. Ten weeks after Wagner's victory, Kennedy looked to mobilize public-sector workers as a new source of Democratic Party political support. In mid-January 1962, he issued Executive Order 10988, which gave federal workers the right to organize in unions.
- Goulden, Joseph C. (1982). Jerry Wurf: Labor's Last Angry Man (1 ed.). New York: Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11291-2.
- Bellush, J., & Bellush, B. (1984). Union power and New York: Victor Gotbaum and District Council 37 ISBN 978-0-275-91126-3
- Historic DC 37 photos from the AFSCME Archives. Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs. Wayne State University.
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