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Kingsbridge Bus Operator Walter Watson Passes from Virus

Kingsbridge Depot is mourning the passing of another Brother member to the Coronavirus, Bus Operator Walter ‘Wats’ Watson.  He was 55 and died on May 4, 2020.  He had 20 years on the job at Jackie Gleason Depot and in recent years, Kingsbridge near his home.

Brother Watson graduated John F. Kennedy High School in the Bronx, and shortly thereafter joined the U.S. Navy, where he excelled in electronics and became a certified naval electrician. He served on the nuclear submarine, USS Shark out of Groton, CT. After being discharged, he was offered a civilian military position in Iraq, but decided to stay close to home and went to work for United Parcel Service.

During those years, he helped start the Marble Hill 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament for the neighborhood youth. He also worked for Baldor’s, the specialty food service company, before joining NYCT in 2000.

Kingsbridge Vice Chair Felix Olivo said that Brother Watson was “very well liked at the depot, a fun loving guy.  He was a hard worker and spoke his mind.  He loved his Steelers and was always wearing the Black and Yellow proudly.  He’s going to be dearly missed.” Brother Watson is survived by his wife, Tiffany, a 2-year old son, Walter Watson V, two daughters, Enaj and Sydney, four sisters and three brothers.

A PBA Luncheon for Transit Workers, Unions Show Solidarity; We Demand Hazard Pay

MAY 27 -- The Police Benevolent Association came to downtown Brooklyn this afternoon to deliver boxes lunches to transit workers to thank us for getting them to work -- and making sure that the City continues to be viable during the pandemic. PBA President Pat Lynch, a former NYCT Conductor and the son of a Train Operator, spoke of the sacrifices made and the reality that both cops and transit workers do not have the option to stay home during the pandemic. President Tony Utano expressed thanks for the solidarity between our two unions and called on the authority to grant hazard pay to the workforce.

Conductor Elecier Williams Passes from the Virus at 41; ‘Favorite Niece’ of Jamaican Consul-General

Local 100 is mourning the loss of Conductor Elecier Williams, who had two years on the job and passed from the virus at the young age of 41. Sister Williams worked the extra list on the midnight tour and lived in the Bronx. She leaves a loving family which includes the Consul General of Jamaica in New York, Mrs. Alsion Roach Wilson, who called her “my favorite niece.”

In an on-line posting, the Consul-General added, “We shared a very close relationship, so much so that I regarded her as more of a daughter than a niece. Whenever I wanted the best stewed peas and escovitch fish, I knew that I could always rely on Norsha and she never disappointed as she was the Queen in preparing these meals….It is a bitter pill to swallow, knowing that she died alone without anyone to assist her. This does not seem real to me so I was waiting all morning for someone to call me to say that it is a horrible joke. With such a friendly personality and a smile that brightened a dull day, an angel has truly left this world.”

Sister Williams’ cousin, Wayne Collins, said that after working her last shift on a Sunday or Monday in mid-April, she felt ill. “She came into the house noticeably sick,” he said, “and two or three days after she became ill everyone in the house had COVID-19.” Mr. Williams said an ambulance transported Sister Williams to Montefiore hospital where the family was not allowed to see her. She was placed in a medically-induced coma and on a ventilator and died after three weeks in the hospital on May 3rd.

Mr. Williams said his cousin had a Masters and a BA in Accounting, but decided to pursue a career with NYC Transit after being “a stay-at-home Mom.” He said she was encouraged to join transit by family members who are also on the job, Conductor Paulette Roberts and Train Operator I’Tanisha Stennett.  Elecier Williams leaves three children, Nathaniel, 20, who is the godson of the Consul-General, Jayden, 15, and Haley, 8.

President Utano with the bill's Assembly Sponsor, Hon. Peter Abbate
President Utano with the bill's Assembly Sponsor, Hon. Peter Abbate

Your Voice Needed: State Bill Would Grant New Accidental Death Benefits for Public Employees

May 26, 2020  — The families of our fallen heroes would be eligible for accidental death pension benefits under a bill that state legislators introduced Monday night.
The bill establishes a presumption that public employees stricken by COVID-19 were infected on the job – and not while off-duty.

Currently, transit worker beneficiaries are eligible for a lump sum payment equal to three years’ salary. But this legislation would provide an important alternative option: half the hero’s annual salary for the full extent of the beneficiary’s life.

Both options are in addition to the $500,000 per transit family that Local 100 secured in negotiations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last month.
Assemblyman Peter Abbate, one of our strongest allies in Albany, introduced the bill (A10523) in the Assembly. Sen. Andrew Gounardes, also a good friend of TWU Local 100, introduced a companion bill (S8420) in the Senate. The bill has certain eligibility requirements, including that a worker reported to work on or after March 1, 2020. The death has to have been caused by COVID-19, or the virus was a contributing factor.

Local 100 President Tony Utano is urging everyone to contact their state Assemblymember and Senator about this bill. Tell them to recognize and honor our fallen heroes by ensuring the families are taken care of financially. Use these links today:

Assembly

Senate

Signal Maintainer Ricardo Hill is Lost to Virus

Line Equipment/Signals Division is mourning the loss to the Coronavirus of Signal Maintainer Ricardo Hill.  He had 20 years on the job and passed away on May 14, 2020 at the hospital.  He worked out of Liberty Junction on the A line.

Division Chair Duvet Williams, who worked with Brother Hill in the past, said that “Ricardo was a tremendous professional.  He was an expert on electronics.  If you needed to know anything about electronics, he would teach you.”

Brother Hill was an avid amateur photographer.  “He put a lot of effort into photography.  He had very expensive equipment, and was really good at it,” said Williams.  “This is really sad,” said Williams.  “Ricardo was in great shape from exercising and lifting weights.  He was a really good person, and a very positive influence on his co-workers.  We are all going to miss this great union brother.”

‘A’ Division Pick Is Postponed

IB Image

Due to Divisional concerns, the ‘A’ Division Spring pick has been postponed indefinitely. We apologize for our earlier posting regarding a resumption of the pick on May 27, 2020. We will keep you advised on when the pick may resume. All questions should be directed to the Divisional Chairs:

Train Operators
Zach Arcidiacono: 646-417-1461, or e-mail:
zarcidiacono@twulocal100.org

Conductors:
Raul Lugo: 646-884-2454, or e-mail:
rlugo@twulocal100.org

 

Jazz Vocalist's Tribute to Essential Workers Uses Photos of Our Members

Austrian-born jazz vocalist and bandleader Elizabeth Lohninger's song Alright is a tribute to essential workers during COVID19 -- and she uses images of transit workers along with health care workers to send a message of hope amid the pandemic. Thank you for recognizing the importance and value of transit workers as we move America.

Union Releases 10-Point Plan for a Re-Opened NYC

IB ImageTWU Local 100, in conjunction with our International, has developed a 10-point plan for a safe and secure mass transit system to accompany the re-opening of New York City. It focuses on hazard pay, protective equipment, testing and tracing, shields and temperature checks. The Plan also calls for a study to determine why so many of our members have died, sets guidelines for accommodations for at-risk workers, and addresses one factor not under the MTA's control: the problem of the homeless and mentally ill who occupy many of the seats on train cars and buses meant for essential workers. Read the 10 Point Plan here.

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