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New Stewards Graduate in Westchester

JUNE 20 -- TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano presided over a graduation ceremony Wednesday for 22 Westchester members and officers who completed shop steward training.  The graduates, who attended training sessions by veteran labor educator Robert Wechsler, received their certificates at the Local 100 satellite office in Yonkers from President Utano, School Bus/Paratransit Division Chairman Gus Moghrabi, Private Lines V.P. Peter Rosconi and Senior Organizing Director Frank McCann.

 

Utano told the newly minted stewards during the ceremony not to be timid. “You are equal to management,” Utano said. “Don’t let management fool you. Sometimes you have to stand up to these bosses and let them know, ‘You need to respect me. I’m the union.’  Utano added: “I’ll tell you, you will have the support of Local 100. You will have our backing.” 

 

This was the first class of a revived and revamped shop steward training program, Utano said. Its members came from five different school bus companies in Yonkers. The training covered a range of topics, including: how to connect and communicate effectively with members; how to file a grievance; the right to organize; and the core goals of a union.

 

One particularly important point Wechsler stressed was the need to educate members about their right under the law to have a union member present in meetings with management that could entail or lead to disciplinary action by the employer. A union representative can ask questions, ask for documentation and even halt the meeting to talk privately with the member.  “It’s in their interest to have the union in there,” Wechsler said.


Viviana Guzman, a bus driver for First Mile Square for 10 years, said she wanted to become a shop steward “to learn the rights of workers and to make sure they are protected.” This was echoed by Yiri Collado, a driver for Royal Coach for 5 years. “I wanted to work in TWU to be more prepared to help members,” Collado said.

Union Offers Tactics to Counter Assaults

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 -- In the wake of two more assaults on MTA Conductors on consecutive days, TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano has called on the MTA to launch a voluntary pilot program that would have Train Crews wearing outward-facing body cameras, or cameras in the cab facing platforms, to capture images of these criminals who attack our members.

“This will help authorities identify, arrest and prosecute those who are responsible for these attacks,”Utano said. Utano also is demanding prosecutors charge these criminals with felonies and impose real punishment. Utano said he will expedite discussions with the MTA to implement the pilot program as soon as possible. “Cameras must only be used as a deterrent to criminal assaults and for evidence gathering when an assault occurs and never for worker surveillance,” Utano said.

Juneteenth: A Day Every Union Member Should Know About

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Today is Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, which commemorates the emancipation from slavery in the United States. The photo above is of Americans turning out to celebrate the day in Texas in 1900.

The newsletter, Fast Company, has brought these facts together:

  • Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the Union Army's Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas, and declared that all slaves were now free.
  • This event happened two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but Lincoln's freeing of the slaves was only on paper, and the ongoing Civil War prevented freedom from becoming a reality as many plantation owners withheld the news.
  • Juneteenth marked a turning point in the fight to free fellow humans from the bonds of slavery, and African Americans in Texas celebrated it as a day of freedom. There were other options for an official holiday marking the end of slavery, including September 22, which was the day in 1862 when Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Order on January 31, the date the 13th Amendment passed Congress in 1865 and officially abolished the institution of slavery. However, it was Juneteenth that stuck.
  • In 1979 Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Now the day more widely represents the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.
  • While it's not an official national holiday, Juneteenth is now a state holiday or a day of observance in most states and the District of Columbia, with only Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, and the Dakotas holding out. To celebrate this historic day, events will take place around the country. This year, many are also calling for a day of action as a reminder that the struggle for equality and racial justice is far from over.

TWU is proud to acknowledge the value and importance of this day.

Fraternally,
Tony Utano

President

TWU Basketball Players Wanted by Film Producer

TWU-ers: I am a producer with  Imagine Motion Productions and we are currently in production on a  brand new documentary series for MSG Network about NYC basketball culture. We will be documenting and telling the stories of regular New Yorkers, from all walks of life, who have a true love and passion for the game. We are not necessarily looking for the most talented players, but those for whom the game means a lot. 
 
For instance, some of the stories we are following are a weekly 60-years-old and over game in Bay Ridge that has been playing every Tuesday night for the last 40 years with the same group of diehard players and a weekly Saturday morning "Women Only" run at an outdoor court in Park Slope. We want to find out what basketball means in all of these people's lives. We will be exploring how each of these different basketball worlds are distinctive and also what they share in common, existing in this big and crazy city.
 
We're reaching out to TWU Local 100 because we'd love to find and feature an MTA employee who works hard providing a service that is essential to keep the city running but looks forward to playing the game in his/her off hours. It would be amazing if we could find a group of union members who play together on a fairly consistent basis.
 
Please let me know if you are interested or if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing back from you! -- Joe Ward, 607.435.0785

 

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