Local 237 recently hosted a safety training session at Ravenswood Houses— the first among several— to provide valuable tips from security experts, on how workers can help ensure their safety in the workplace. Local 237 President, Gregory Floyd, in his welcoming remarks, told the members how this session came about and encouraged them to follow the recommendations they were going to hear from the professionals in the field.
As Floyd noted: “You are here today to talk about ways that you can protect yourself and feel safe on the job. One year ago, we weren’t so sure we would get this day. As many of you may know, our union was opposed to the Flex Ops program as originally designed. We felt that our members were not well protected. We were especially concerned about your safety working on those shifts. We took our concerns to Court. The judge agreed and the program was halted. Our concerns had to be addressed first. Next, we sat down with the housing authority to suggest ways Flex Ops could work better for you. We said: Here’ s what’s important. Make it voluntary and give monetary incentives. But that’s not all. We told them that our biggest concern was your safety. That had to be ensured. NYCHA agreed. So we hired security experts, McLean Security, to analyze safety problems and make recommendations on how to solve them. We said those safety issues had to be addressed by NYCHA before the program kicked in. We also advocated for monitoring those safety measures on a regular basis to make sure we were achieving our goals. The other thing we said was that a safety brochure had to be created that clearly outlines ways you can help yourself be safe. That was done. Here it is. But that’s not all. We wanted you to hear from these experts yourself and get those safety tips in person. We care about you. We know you take pride in your work, but that can only happen when you feel good about your workplace. In fact, that’s when you’re even more productive. So for the union, for the housing authority, and for our members, today is a win win, win!”
Hercules Cornish went to work for the Housing Authority as a caretaker J in 1952 and retired 24 years later as a stores worker. He died the year following this interview, which was conducted in June 1999.
Originally I was from Harlem, but when I came out of the service in 1945 my wife had moved to the Bronx, so I moved there, too. I went to work for the New York City Housing Authority in 1952.