NEW YORK — District Council 37 (DC 37), New York City’s largest municipal labor union, today announced a new effort to get more of its members vaccinated. The union, which represents the lion’s share of the City workforce, includes 100,000 workers deemed “essential” during the pandemic. While the majority of the union’s members continued reporting to their offices or work assignments in-person, until last week most remained ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine – something DC 37 had been advocating for months.
“I’ve made no secret of my feelings,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME. “Our workers put their lives on the line to deliver essential services and they deserved the vaccine long ago. Now that it’s finally been made available to them, we’re going to do all we can as a union to encourage our members to get the shot and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.”
Beginning today, DC 37 staff will start making vaccination appointments directly on behalf of active members. The staffers were trained by City Hall’s vaccination team to use their appointment-making system and will be able to make appointments directly at City-run locations, thereby cutting out the middleman and simplifying the process.
“As our City works around the clock to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible, we’re excited to launch this collaboration with our union partners at DC 37 to ensure union workers, who’ve been on the frontlines serving New Yorkers throughout this crisis, can access the vaccine as soon as they are eligible,” said Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog. “With this partnership, we’re continuing to expand and strengthen our City’s targeted approach to getting the vaccine to individuals and populations most in need. This partnership will make it easier for essential City workers, like Parks Department employees and school crossing guards, to get the vaccine.”
In partnership with City Hall, DC 37 will host “DC 37 Vaccination Day” at Citi Field on Saturday, March 27. The City will set aside appointments specifically for DC 37 members and the union will launch an all-out effort this week to contact members and sign them and eligible family members up for appointments.
Following this week’s focus on “DC 37 Vaccination Day,” beginning the week of March 29, DC 37 staff will shift to making appointments for members whenever best fits their schedules. This effort will continue as long as interest remains.
To date, the union is aware of 20,000 members who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Garrido received the first dose of the vaccine earlier this month after becoming eligible due to an underlying health condition. He got the shot as soon as he was able so as to lead by example for his members. This week, ahead of his second shot, Garrido will host a Facebook Live event for members to answer questions and dispel common misconceptions regarding the vaccine.