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TWU Mourns Track Worker Anthony Peter Fiorentino, 69

We regret to announce the passing of Track Worker Anthony Peter Fiorentino, loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother, at the age of 69. He was a resident of Midland Beach since 1994. He died suddenly on Sept. 14, 2017. Anthony grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from East New York High School. He served in Vietnam in the Air Force. He worked for the United States Postal Service, and retired after 30 years as a trackman and welder from NYC Transit. He was well liked and respected on the job. He was a sports fan (especially of the Yankees), and rescued many cats. Anthony was predeceased by his parents, Peter and Olympia "Rita" (Milano). He is survived by his loving wife of 29 years, Mary; his daughter, Cherise; stepdaughter, Jacklyn; seven grandchildren; one great-grandchild; seven brothers and sisters, Ann, Margaret, Michael, Josephine, Louise, Peter, George; and many nieces, nephews, and godchildren. (Asking Anthony to be godfather practically guaranteed your child would be a boy.) In his wallet were childhood pictures of Cherise, and granddaughters Tiara and Kianna. Brother Fiorentino was interred last Monday, September 18th, at Resurrection Cemetery on Staten Island.

Why the Constitutional Convention Must be Stopped: It's a Double-Dipping Bonanza for Legislators

BY PETE DONOHUE

New York State government may spend tens of millions of dollars on a constitutional convention – a massive political orgy where fat-cat politicians, and their cronies and sidekicks, and a host of lawyers, lobbyists and public relations spin masters, would wine and dine and fill their pockets with money. Only we – the voters – can stop it. And we should.

In addition to being an overly expensive and unseemly affair – estimates range from $50 million to as much as $100 million – a constitutional convention could result in a back-door attack on workers’ pensions. Under state law, voters must be asked every 20 years whether or not a constitutional convention should be convened. Delegates at such a gathering would get to draft, introduce and vote on proposed amendments to the state constitution. This wouldn’t be a one-day affair but could go on for weeks or months, and the delegates, who essentially would be handpicked by the political party machines, would get paid for their “service.” Even members of the state Legislature who are picked to be delegates would get paid – on top of what they already are making on the state payroll.

To do what? Decide whether or not to draft, introduce and pass legislation, which is the job they were elected to do in the first place.

It’s a crock. A double-dipping bonanza. Who the hell needs a gun and a bank with schemes like this?

A horde of lobbyists, lawyers and public relations slicksters will descend on the convention in order to press their issues with delegates over dinner, drinks, or rounds of golf or whatever else they can conjure up to win favor. This would be an opportunity for right-wing ideologues to advance legislation that would weaken unions, just as they have in many other parts of the country. The guarantee that workers’ pensions “may not be diminished” could be eliminated.

IB ImageThe right to organize and collectively bargain and the right to workers compensation also could come under fire. Proposals that would weaken women’s rights, environmental protections, guarantees to a free public school education – and more – could be advanced and become law.  “This is the “Pandora’s Box” of a constitutional convention in New York,” as Angelo Cucuzza (at left), chairman of the NY State Conference of Transport Workers Union of America, has said. There’s no shortage of better uses for that kind of dough, including increasing bus and subway service, putting significant numbers of law enforcement officers on buses, and putting more security cameras in stations.

Voters overwhelmingly said NO to a constitutional convention in 1997 and again in 1977. Now it’s time to say NO again. Make sure you make it to the polls on Election Day in November.

VP Tony Utano at “Welcome Back” Breakfast for School Bus Members

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 – Local 100 Vice President Tony Utano, School Bus Division Chair Gus Mohgrabi, Organizing Director Frank McCann and other Division officers were on hand for a “Welcome Back” breakfast meeting for School Bus members at the TWU satellite office on Saw Mill River Rd. in Yonkers. Special guest Corazon Pineda Isaac (center, in white blouse), who just won the contested primary election, with TWU’s support, for the Yonkers City Council's Second District by 146 votes, dropped by to say “thank you” and to wish the members a great school year. Also joining us was another big supporter of the TWU, Assemblywoman Shelly Mayer (at right, in yellow, next to Brother Utano) who has been the driving force behind our fight for earned sick leave in Westchester County. Councilwoman Pineda attended our Westchester Family Day picnic and we look forward to a productive partnership with her in promoting legislation which benefits working people in Yonkers.

Transit Workers Recall 911 -- In Their Own Words

TWU Local 100 produced this video of the recollections of transit workers who served at Ground Zero during the rescue and recovery effort on 9/11 and the days thereafter. As the towers fell, TWU Train Operators and Bus Operators evacuated citizens from lower Manhattan. Then, once the scope of the disaster became evident, Transit assigned over 2,200 workers to the operation. Hundreds more volunteered. For the first three days, the only heavy rigs at the site were New York City Transit’s. Our Track Workers and Structure Maintainers removed damaged and destroyed debris and vehicles using our heavy equipment, so that rescue crews could access the site. Other MOW personnel went in to repair crucial radio and communications links which were severed when the towers went down. NYCT Telephone Maintainers extended the Transit Authority’s underground phone lines to create phone banks for first responders at Ground Zero since cellphone communications had become disabled after the towers fell. Lighting Maintainers set up dozens of generators and lighting towers that turned night into day for the first wave of rescue personnel. Our Bus Operators, some of whom evacuated citizens as the towers fell, later brought first responders to the site using our fleet of buses. Trades titles assisted in the rescue and recovery effort by cutting iron and lifting wreckage. Station Cleaners then performed the massive clean-up required to begin to rebuild the damaged subway stations and tracks at the site.

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