Local 2013 Fights for Fair Budget in Albany

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Fifty-five members from UFCW Local 2013 headed to Albany this week to lobby representatives on the need to fund a fair budget for patients and the workers who provide their care.

The Health Care Lobby Day saw a big group of UFCW health care workers participate, including home health aides, certified nursing assistants, medication technicians, dietary workers, and housekeepers.

Alongside other UFCW and RWDSU locals, they met with legislators and staff from 23 Assembly and Senate districts, including the Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

“Many of our members rely on the state to fund their contract increases,” said Mark Carotenuto, president of UFCW Local 2013. “That’s why it’s so important that legislators hear from our members directly.”

Una Brown, Local 2013 Executive Board vice president, works as a home health aide at Americare. “I love my work, but the pay is not enough,” Brown said. “Many of my co-workers have to sign up with two or three agencies to make a living.”

In New York City, one out of every seven low wage workers are employed as a home care aide. The hourly mean wage for home health aides is approximately $10.75 per hour, or $22,360 a year, in the state.

Home health aides would see a $5,000 per year raise if hourly wages are increased to $15 per hour.

Raising wages would reduce employee turnover and lower dependence on public assistance. According to a State Senate report, 56 percent of direct care workers in New York State receive some sort of public assistance.

Local 2013 has been a strong backer of the Fight for $15 in New York State for years, participating in lobby meetings, rallies, and marching in the streets with other local unions and community groups.

But since health care reimbursements are set by the state, Carotenuto said, increases in minimum wage have to be matched with increases in Medicaid and other state programs. “The legislature needs to step up and fund an appropriate budget,” he said.

Support the UFCW Stop & Shop Family

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The fight for a fair deal at Stop & Shop continues to intensify as the profitable company demands cuts to grocery workers’ benefits.

UFCW Local 2013 backs the workers at Stop & Shop. “We are asking our members to visit their local store and talk to the manager,” said Louis Mark Carotenuto, Local 2013 president. “Let them know we are part of the UFCW family and we only shop at stores that support good union jobs. Settle a fair contract or risk losing our business!”

The New England Council of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union announced a series of rallies in the campaign for a fair contract for 35,000 Stop & Shop workers in New England. Following a rally of hundreds of Stop & Shop workers, customers, elected officials, and community supporters last week, Stop & Shop workers will bring the same energy to five more rallies before the Easter holiday.

New England Stop & Shop workers are currently working under an expired union contract while the profitable company insists on cuts to hard-earned benefits. Stop & Shop’s parent company, Netherlands-based grocery giant Ahold, recently announced operating profits for last year in excess of $1.4 billion. Today, Ahold and Delhaize shareholders are expected to approve the merger of their companies, which will be completed later this year. Prior to closing of the merger, Ahold shareholders will receive a payout of more than $1 billion.

While paying out dividends to foreign shareholders, the company is demanding that workers accept cuts to longstanding benefits, decreasing take-home pay and cutting future retirement benefits despite a fully-funded and secure pension fund. The company is further demanding that future workers be given second-rate benefits and pay, transforming Stop & Shop’s once middle-class jobs into low-wage jobs.

“Stop & Shop’s proposals show that the company has strayed from its core values,” said Tim Melia, president of UFCW Local 328. “This used to be a company that took pride in offering the best wages and benefits in the region, and attracting the best workers. Our members are only asking for their fair share of the success their hard work has built.”

The hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop have been joined in their fight for a fair contract by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Treasurer and member of Stop & Shop’s founding family, Deb Goldberg, the combined 700,000 union members of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island State AFL-CIO Councils, and the 1.3 million members of the UFCW International Union.

Rallies will be held:

Wednesday, March 16th, 4-6 P.M.
Quincy Stop & Shop
65 Newport Ave., Quincy, MA

Thursday, March 17th, 4-6 P.M.
Dorchester Stop & Shop
1100 Massachusetts Ave, Dorchester, MA

Tuesday, March 22nd, 4-6 P.M.
Norwalk Stop & Shop
380 Main Ave, Norwalk, CT

Wednesday, March 23rd, 4-6 P.M.
East Hartford Stop & Shop
940 Silver Ln, East Hartford, CT

Thursday, March 24th, 4-6 P.M.
Holyoke Stop & Shop
28 Lincoln St, Holyoke, MA

Members Celebrate ESL Graduation

Members of UFCW Local 2013 in Long Island finished their second session of English as a Second Language classes this January, and marked the occasion with a celebration.

The Saturday classes have proven popular with members from the Quality King and Perfumania warehouses in Suffolk County. Dozens of members have completed the ESL program through the union, and more are looking to join.

“Our union believes in helping members achieve their dreams, at work and in the community,” said Mark Carotenuto, president of UFCW Local 2013. “Helping members gain skills and get involved reflects the values of our union family.”

Taught by professional teachers at the Suffolk County Community College, the classes are supported by a generous grant from New York State’s Workforce Development Institute.

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Sweet ‘N Low Workers Rally to Save Jobs in Brooklyn

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Hundreds of workers who make Sweet ‘N Low and Sugar in the Raw rallied this week to fight the closure of their Brooklyn factory.

Members of UFCW Local 2013, they told the company “Hell No, Sweet ‘N Low!”

Cumberland Packing employs 320 union members in the Fort Greene neighborhood and across the street inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

They have made sweeteners in Brooklyn since World War II, but now the company says it wants to outsource the production and leave the blue-collar workers who built the company out in the cold.

Flanked by elected officials, Local 2013 President Mark Carotenuto expressed outrage at the rally at how the family-owned company treated its long-time workers, most of whom are black and Latino.

“These are people who have given a lifetime of labor to this company,” Carotenuto said. “The company said they were family. This isn’t how you treat family.”

Public Advocate Letitia James said the sudden announcement of the closure smelled like a real-estate deal cooked up for the overheating Brooklyn housing market.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams denounced the deal, as did City Council Members Stephen Levin and Daneek Miller.

And City Council Member Laurie Cumbo said there was no way that local elected officials would stand by and let the company sell out its workforce to build yet another condominium tower.

The New York City Central Labor Council, RWDSU Locals 338, 1102, and UFCW Local 1500 all rallied in support, along with the Working Families Party and ALIGN.

Cumberland isn’t hurting. In fact, the company has said it is profitable. Management just wants to boost profits by shipping the work elsewhere.

Cumberland never approached the union to say it was considering leaving Brooklyn, or asked to explore options with the city and state to modernize and upgrade its plant.

Jahan Khan, a member of the bargaining committee that’s been working hard to negotiate with Cumberland since September, told the crowd that he lives a block away from the factory. He’s 34 years old and supports three kids on his wage.

“I want to stay and raise my family in Brooklyn,” Khan said. “But what kind of chance will I have if the good jobs disappear?”

Carotenuto said the fight is just beginning. Hundreds of members crowded a local church the next day to plan the next steps together.

“We are aggressively pursuing every avenue possible to save these jobs,” he said.

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Cumberland Packing: Pocketing Taxpayer Millions, Exporting Brooklyn Jobs

UFCW Local 2013 denounces Cumberland Packing’s decision today to close its historic Brooklyn facilities—and members say it won’t happen without a fight.

“Today’s announcement that Cumberland Packing is leaving Brooklyn is the equivalent of the Eisenstadt family packing up and running off with their millions in the middle of the night,” said Louis Mark Carotenuto, president of UFCW Local 2013.

UFCW Local 2013 has been bargaining with Cumberland since September. Never once during negotiations did the company raise the issue of competitive pressure—let alone pressure that was forcing them to consider leaving Brooklyn.

Cumberland has always touted being a family owned, Brooklyn-based company. Throughout bargaining company owners claimed they enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the union members, who will all be fired in the course of the next year as production is moved elsewhere.

The reality was that the company had taken advantage of the largely Latino immigrant workforce. Among the 320 union workers at the plant, three-quarters made less than $15 per hour.

“My family depends on my income,” said Natividad Sanchez, a 19-year veteran of Cumberland who has worked at the company since she came to the country from the Dominican Republic. She is raising two children in Brooklyn, and says she doesn’t know where she would go if the company closes.

“We can’t allow this to happen,” Sanchez said. “The union is going to be just as strong as the company.”

UFCW Local 2013 discovered an alarming gender pay gap of $2.13 between men and women and worked hard in negotiations this year to end discriminatory treatment.

“Cumberland took millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies in the last years,” Carotenuto said. “Pocketing the money and exporting hundreds of jobs is quite a thank you present to New Yorkers.”

Today’s announcement has everything to do with what’s wrong with corporate America today. Upside-down trade laws have given corporations incentives to shift their production to low-cost, non-union facilities. Those same trade deals displace workers around the globe. Some fled their countries and settled in Brooklyn to work at Cumberland.

Now, the company is looking to put those 320 families out in the cold.

“UFCW Local 2013 intends to pursue every possible avenue,” Carotenuto said. “Our fight for good-paying, safe jobs is just beginning.”

Amber Court, Low Pay is Not OK!

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UFCW Local 2013 members rallied outside their Elizabeth, New Jersey, assisted living facility to send a message—they have been waiting too long to make up lost ground.

The members, who care for scores of elderly and infirm patients at the at Amber Court of Elizabeth facility, make near minimum wage, $8.38 an hour in New Jersey.

Even after years of service, medication technicians make only about $9 an hour at Amber Court. In the rest of New Jersey, med techs earn an average of $11 an hour.

At a time when workers across the country are standing together to fight for $15, the owners at Amber Court of Elizabeth have offered just 15-cent raises.

Unwilling to accept poverty wages and a downgrade in their medical plan, the UFCW Local 2013 members at the facility took a strike authorization vote.

But the owners refused to budge in contract talks. So Local 2013 rallied outside the facility in mid-December, calling on management to respect their workers and drawing cheers from the community.

“Amber Court, wake up!” the demonstrators chanted. “Low pay is not OK!”

Members participated during their lunch break, or before their scheduled shift.

“This fight is not over,” said Mark Carotenuto, president of Local 2013. “Negotiations are still taking place. But we need to send a clear message to this employer. You must do better for the workers who take care of family members. How much is it worth to take care of your family members? Isn’t your mother, or father, or grandparent worth more than minimum wage?”

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Membership Meeting: December 17

Thursday, December 17 at 5:30 p.m.

Long Island Federation of Labor
390 Rabro Dr, Hauppauge, NY
Exit 55 on LIE

Learn about important improvements in the medical insurance plan. Refreshments will be served.

Quality King Workers Push Back against Intimidation

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Quality King members aren’t letting up—even as their employer starts playing dirty.

After UFCW Local 2013’s delegation and rally two weeks ago, some managers called in union activists in for meetings and made comments about immigration status.

UFCW Local 2013 immediately filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Members responded with a Unity Day yesterday, proudly wearing UFCW buttons at both Long Island locations to show their employer they are united, unafraid, and ready to win a fair agreement.

Stewards and representatives have been reinforcing that members have the right to speak out and fight for better conditions. Threats about status are pure harassment against immigrant workers. Since 2011, the national policy of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency has been not to interfere in workplaces during a labor dispute.

The union bargaining committee was ready to meet yesterday, but management decided to cancel the bargaining session.

UFCW Local 2013 members vowed to keep up the pressure.

“Quality King should be ashamed. This is a blatant attempt to intimidate workers who work hard to provide for their families,” said Mark Carotenuto, president of Local 2013. “The women of Quality King Repack have shown they won’t back down.”

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Legislators, Leaders Tell Quality King: Equality is not Optional

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More than a hundred Quality King members rallied July 14 alongside a delegation of elected officials, faith, community, and labor leaders, insisting on equal pay for equal work.

They delivered dozens of letters supporting UFCW Local 2013’s campaign for fair wages and gender equality to management at Quality King’s headquarters.

Quality King, which packages and distributes beauty care products from its Long Island warehouses, has settled contracts with higher wages for divisions of the company that employ mostly men.

The 200 members of the Repack division, however, are almost all women and the company proposed only to pay them minimum wage. The workers’ contract expired in May, and members of UFCW Local 2013 have been fighting for a fair contract since then.

Quality King is owned by the Nussdorf family, one of the wealthiest families in America. According to Forbes’ estimates, the Nussdorfs are worth $1.6 billion.

“It’s unconscionable that the Nussdorfs only value Quality King workers as minimum-wage employees,” said Mark Carotenuto, president of UFCW Local 2013. “These are hard-working men and women trying to support their families. Immigrant workers are the backbone of Long Island, and it’s time they were treated like it.”

“We have human rights laws in Suffolk County—and all over this country,” said Kate Browning, Suffolk County legislator. “I’m shocked that any company would want to treat female workers different than male. And certainly no company that has enjoyed subsidy support from our state ever should.”

Quality King has received millions of dollars of subsidies from New York State taxpayers to grow and expand its business, which employs about 1,000 people across Long Island.

Along with Browning, Suffolk County Legislator Monica Martinez and a representative of Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory’s office attempted to discuss these issues with the company, but were turned away at the door.

“Quality King had the gall to tell our bargaining committee that if immigrant workers couldn’t afford to live in Long Island, they should move elsewhere,” Carotenuto added. “Maybe the Nussdorfs should spend less time at Hampton beach houses and more time focusing on the workers who have built this company.”

Sister Judy Fay of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood spoke at the rally, telling UFCW Local 2013 members that when one person suffers, everyone suffers.

Victoria Daza of Long Island Jobs with Justice also shared her sense of outrage.

“The fact that Quality King is not raising the wages to the same level as their male employees is a complete insult,” Daza said.

Vilma Eraso, a bargaining committee member who has worked at Quality King for 13 years, said: “My co-workers and I work hard. What we ask for in return is a fair wage and to be treated with respect. We should not be treated differently just because we are women and immigrants.”

FOR MORE:

Newsday: Workers Rally for Higher Wages and Equal Pay at Quality King’s Bellport Headquarters

El Diario NY: Trabajadoras Hispanas en Long Island Exigen Igualdad Salarial

Univision: Trabajadoras Exigen Igualidad Salarial

 

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Local 2013 Goes to Albany to Fight for $15

Local 2013 members were one of the largest groups at the annual UFCW lobby day in Albany. About 40 members from across New York got on the bus to tell lawmakers we need a $15 minimum wage.

“I have worked hard to raise a family in Brooklyn, and I want to make sure my family can stay,” said Antonio Ortiz, a steward at Cumberland Packing and a Local 2013 executive board member. “We need $15 an hour for everyone. This city is very expensive.”

Members also told legislators about the need for paid family leave, so everyone can take care of a new baby or a sick parent, as well as the DREAM Act so immigrant youth can afford an education.

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Steward Education Day – June 12

Attend a steward education day and learn more about the role of the union steward, the rights we have, and how to build power on the job.

Friday, June 12

9 am to 4:30 pm

CUNY Murphy Labor Center
25 W 43rd St, 18th Floor
Manhattan, NY 10036

MTA B,D,F,M trains to 42 St-Bryant Park, 7 train to 5th Ave.

Queens Steward Session – April 16

Attend a steward education session and learn more about the role of the union steward, the rights we have, and how to build power on the job.

Thursday, April 16 at 5 pm

NY Irish Center
1040 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY 11101

MTA 7 train to Vernon Blvd-Jackson, G to 21 St.

Movie Night – March 12

Beat the cold, grab some popcorn and snacks, and come enjoy a movie night together!

“Bread and Roses”
Two Latina sisters work as cleaners in a downtown office building, and fight for the right to unionize.

Thursday, March 12 at 6:30 pm

St. Lydia’s Church

304 Bond St., Brooklyn NY

MTA F and G trains to Carroll St, R train to Union St.

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Meeting: Immigration Executive Action

Meeting for Members and Families

Ask questions and get answers from experts in the program that the president announced to protect immigrants.


 

Saturday, February 28 at noon
Assembly-Christian Churches
368 American Boulevard
Brentwood, NY 11717

 

Steward Education Session – January 29

Attend a steward education session and learn more about the role of the union steward, the rights we have, and how to investigate a workplace problem.

Thursday, January 29 at 5:30 pm

Rutgers Labor Education Center
50 Labor Center Way, Room 115
New Brunswick, NJ

Membership Meeting – December 9

Participate in the union! Attend the quarterly UFCW Local 2013 membership meeting December 9.

Learn more about contract negotiations, legislative and political developments, and other important issues and updates that affect our jobs and our union.

Tuesday, December 9 at 6 pm
Brooklyn
Best Western – Gregory Hotel
8315 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
MTA R Train to 86th St.

Vote for a New Contract at Americare!

UFCW Local 348 members at Americare have won a new contract that improves health and welfare benefits and includes a fair process to assign cases.

If you’re a member at Americare, please come vote on the new union contract this Saturday April 20 at one of three locations.

  • In Brooklyn, come to the union office at 9235 4th Avenue between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  •  And in the Bronx, come to the UFT Office at 2500 Halsey St. between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Please come VOTE on Saturday and make our voice heard at Americare.

April: Come to Union Member Meetings!

Attend a membership meeting and participate in updates on contract negotiations, organizing, and other developments in our union.

Get important information from union and community leaders. Members are invited to attend any of the meetings.

Childcare and refreshments will be provided.

Tuesday, APRIL 23 at 6 p.m.
Brooklyn
Brooklyn High School of the Arts
345 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY
MTA 2/3/4/5/N/D/R/B/Q to Atlantic Terminal

Thursday, APRIL 25 at 6 p.m.
Long Island
Long Island Federation of Labor
390 Rabro Drive,  Hauppauge, NY
Exit 55 on Long Island Expwy

Monday, APRIL 29 at 6 p.m.
Bronx
United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Office
2500 Halsey St, Bronx, NY
6 Train to Westchester Sq/E Tremont Ave

Tuesday, APRIL 30 at 6:30 PM
Queens
Aviation High School Auditorium
45-30 36th Street, Long Island City, NY
7 Train to 33rd St

Bylaws and Nomination of Officers Notices

February 26, 2013

To All Active Members

A proposed change to UFCW Local 348-S’s bylaws and a proposal to only send the elected president and secretary-treasurer to the 2013 International Convention being held August 12 –16, in Chicago, Illinois, are being submitted for review and approval by the membership at special membership meetings.

UFCW Local 348-S Trustee Richard Whalen recommends that the membership approve the following proposed bylaws amendment:

Article XII –Elections, Section A

Old Language: All officers shall be elected by secret ballot of the membership, and their term of office shall be for three years, commencing September 1, 2007. Terms of office shall expire on August 31st. The terms of newly elected officers shall commence on September 1st.
New Language: All officers shall be elected by secret ballot of the membership. The terms of office for officers whose terms began on May 1, 2013, shall expire on December 31, 2015. Thereafter, terms of office shall be for three years and shall commence on January 1 and expire on December 31.

Local 348-S Trustee Richard Whalen further recommends the membership elect to send only its elected president and secretary-treasurer to the 2013 UFCW International Convention. Pursuant to Article 15 (B) of the International Constitution, Local 348-S is entitled to send 21 delegates.

Local 348-S Trustee Whalen has scheduled eight membership meetings to vote on the proposed bylaws amendment, as well as the decision to send less than a full allotment of delegates to the International Convention, at the following dates, times and locations:

Thursday, March 14
10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Adhikaar Community Center
71-07 Woodside Avenue, 1st Flr Woodside, NY 11377

Thursday, March 14
10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
CWA Local 1037
30 Clinton St., 3rd Fl Newark, NJ 07102

Friday March 15
10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Long Island Federation of Labor
390 Rabro Drive
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Friday March 15
10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Arab-American Association of NY
7111 5th Ave Brooklyn, NY 11209

Nominations for UFCW Local 348-S president, secretary-treasurer, recorder and 10 vice presidents for the term of office commencing May 1, 2013, and ending December 31, 2015, will be conducted in accordance with Local 348-S’s bylaws Article XII, Section G, during special membership nomination meetings for members. Each of the vice presidents is numerically designated for nomination and election purposes, for example, vice president No. 1, vice president No. 2, etc. By virtue of their office, the duly elected president and secretary-treasurer will be delegates to the UFCW International Convention.

To be eligible to run for office, one must be an active member of Local 348-S who has either: (1) 12 months continuous active membership in Local 348-S since March 2012, or (2) 24 months continuous active membership in the UFCW International Union since March 2011. No member may run for more than one office in any election and no member may hold more than one elected office at any time.

Pursuant to Local 348-S’s bylaws, the Election General Chairperson has determined nomination of a member for any specific office shall require a motion by an eligible member as determined by Article IV of the local union’s bylaws. Self-nominations are permitted.

Nomination meetings will be held on the following dates, times and places:

Thursday, March 14
10:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.
Adhikaar Community Center
71-07 Woodside Avenue, 1st Flr Woodside, NY 11377

Thursday, March 14
10:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.
CWA Local 1037
30 Clinton St., 3rd Fl Newark, NJ 07102

Friday March 15
10:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.
Long Island Federation of Labor
390 Rabro Drive Hauppauge, NY 11788

Friday March 15
10:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.
Arab-American Association of NY
7111 5th Ave Brooklyn, NY 11209

A nominee in attendance at the nomination meetings must accept or decline his or her nomination at the meeting in which the candidate is nominated prior to the close of nominations. If a nominee is unable to attend a nomination meeting and is subsequently nominated for office, the nominee’s acceptance of the nomination must be presented in writing to the Election General Chairperson by fax at 718-745-4692 or overnight mail not later than March 20, 2013 to 9235 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11209. A candidate need only be nominated at one of the meetings. Candidates failing to accept their nomination either in person or in writing will be considered to have declined their nomination.

Any questions regarding nominations or election of officers should be referred to the Local 348-S Election General Chairperson Matt Durante at 1-800-393-1135 extension 143, or addressed to the Election General Chairperson at Local 348-S’s office address, 9235 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11209.

The candidates’ meeting to review rules of conduct for the election, on-site and mail balloting procedures, distribution of literature, and so forth will be held March 20, 2013, at 11 a.m. EST at the Local 348-S office and via teleconference call for those who cannot attend in person. The phone number for the teleconference call will be provided to eligible candidates following nominations.

Members living outside the New York and New Jersey area will be provided in a mailing at their home address a call-in number to participate.

If members have any questions about this process, please call 1-800-393-1135.

Get Involved! January Member Meetings


Local 348-S is holding membership meetings throughout the New York metro area in January. Hear contract updates, ask questions, and help set the agenda for our union. All members are invited to attend any of the meetings, which will be held at 6 p.m. in four locations.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 22
LONG ISLAND
Brentwood Schools Freshman Center
33 Leahy Ave.
Brentwood, NY 11717

THURSDAY, JANUARY 24
QUEENS
Aviation High School
45-30 36th St.
Long Island City, NY 11101
7 Train to 33rd St

TUESDAY, JANUARY 29
BROOKLYN
High School for Service and Learning at Erasmus
911 Flatbush Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11226
B,Q or 2,5 Train to Church Avenue
Enter at red door across from Ladies Dr. Jay’s


THURSDAY, JANUARY 31

NEW JERSEY
Danforth (Main) Library in Paterson
250 Broadway
Paterson, NJ 07501
NJ Transit main line to Paterson