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Daily News: TWU Presents Ten-Point Plan to Help Fix Subways

by Dan Rivoli, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Friday, July 21, 6:00 AM

The scene at 168 St. station as the A, C, B and D lines were either cut entirely or between certain stops on July 17. (NATALIE BRITO VIA TWITTER)

The head of the city Transit Workers Union knows what's behind the summer straphanger nightmare: Too many budget cuts. Not enough upkeep and inspections. And mismanagement by the clueless hierarchy at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which remains unable to fix the sprawling subway system. "This is my take on the MTA board," said blunt-speaking John Samuelsen, president of Transport Workers Union 100, in an exclusive interview with the Daily News.

"It's a bunch of bosses and a bunch of transit advocates and, for the most part, a bunch of people that went to college and use a bunch of big words and talk back and forth about each other and talk past each other a lot." Samuelsen, in addition to dissecting the management decisions that he blames for the current woes, offered his own fixes for the mess.



 John Samuelsen, President of the Transit Workers Local 100.

In its Work Boots on the Ground Plan, the TWU provided a top ten list of suggestions to the MTA:

* Inspect signals more frequently.

* Provide more signal repair teams during the morning and evening rush hours.

* Speed up the decentralization of maintenance crews.

* Develop standard operating procedures and training for preventive maintenance.

* Shorten the time between subway car inspections.

* Shorten the time between subway car scheduled maintenance and refurbishment.

* Add more staff and subway cars to keep little equipment problems on trains from causing massive delays.

* Deploy more troubleshooter teams so they can reach disabled trains faster.

* Strategically place "gap trains" along the lines so they can jump into service and close service gaps caused by delays.

* Create a rapid-transit system for buses to make them attractive again to riders who ditched traffic-clogged streets.


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Ten W'chester Family Day Winners Get Off B'way Tix

TWU members and their families who came to our Westchester Family Day earlier this month had the chance to win show tickets at the Daily News's booth at the event. Now we've been informed by the News that we have ten winners, who are Eloise Aponte, Betty Casiano, Shayna Cody, Andres Contreras, Viviana Guzman, lisette Grullon, Angelica Marin, Domenica Mateo, Del Nowely Sanchez, and Florangel Santo. Each winner gets a voucher for a family four pack for the Gazillion Bubble Show off Broadway at the New World Stage Theater. Congratulations!

Station Agent Percillia Augustine-Soverall
Station Agent Percillia Augustine-Soverall

Seven Years for Booth Arsonist

Good riddance.

A Brooklyn man who tried to rob a station agent - and then attempted to set her booth on fire - is going to state prison. Everett Robinson, 52, pled guilty Wednesday to attempted robbery in Brooklyn Supreme Court. A judge is now scheduled sentence Robinson to seven years behind bars next month. Robinson doused the booth aperture with gasoline and lit a rag with hopes of sparking an inferno. Fortunately, the station’s fire-suppression system snuffed out the flames - but it was a deadly dangerous, and incredibly callous, criminal act.

“This defendant tried to rob an MTA employee who was simply doing her job and put her and the public in serious danger when he started a fire inside a subway station, making the prison term he will receive appropriate and just,” Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement to Local 100.

Robinson’s victim, Station Agent Percillia Augustine-Soverall, 45, said she was satisfied with the punishment, which is part of a plea agreement Brooklyn prosecutors hashed out with Robinson’s defense attorney. She has returned to work and is focusing on the future. “Every day is a struggle but I have to move forward,” she said. “I can’t let this deter me. I just hope no other station agent has to go through what I went through.” Augustine-Soverall was in the booth at the Nostrand Ave. station on the No. 3 line in Crown Heights one Friday night last August when Robinson poured a liquid that smelled like gasoline into the aperture, she said.  “He said that if I didn’t give him the money, he would light me up,” Augustine-Soverall, who has been on the job about five years, said.

Robinson then held up a shirt or rag, lit in on fire and tried to stuff it through the opening. Smoke from the burning cloth filled the mezzanine and booth, triggering the Halon fire-suppression system. “Everything was just cloudy in the booth,” Augustine-Soverall said. “I couldn’t do anything…I just started crying. I was in shock.”

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Bruce Balter is scheduled to formally sentence Robinson on Aug. 16. In his statement, Gonzalez, who is running to fill the DA seat vacated by the sudden death of Ken Thompson earlier this year, also said in his statement to Local 100 that he is “committed to protecting our dedicated transit workers, who all too often are targets of threats and violence, and will continue to ensure that those who attack them are punished.” Such a pledge from a prosecutor is always welcome, and Local 100 has endorsed Gonzalez in the race.

IB Image

But Local 100 didn’t take anything for granted in the Robinson case. Dozens of TWU Local 100 members and officers attended Robinson’s arraignment before another judge, William Harrington, packing the courtroom and casting withering stares at the criminal. Local 100 members then marched down the hallway with their fists in the air as photographers from the New York Daily News and New York Post snapped away. Stations Vice President Derick Echevarria and Chairman Joe Bermudez told the reporters Local 100 was pleased with the charges brought by prosecutors. But they blasted Justice Harrington for denying a media request to take Robinson’s photograph in the courtroom. “Why is he coddling someone who tried to kill one of our members, a Station Agent who was simply doing her job serving the riders?,” Bermudez said. It was a good show of solidarity. It demonstrated to prosecutors and judges in the building that the Local 100 and its 42,000-strong membership was watching.

TWU's Westchester Picnic Brings Hundreds to Yonkers Park

Family Day in Westchester 2017

JULY 8 -- Top leadership including TWU and Local 100 President John Samuelsen joined hundreds of members from School Bus properties and Liberty Lines for a fun-filled Family Day at Redmond Memorial Park in Yonkers. Our union hosted the annual party with plenty of great food, music, and kiddie activities like a bouncy house and face painting. Top officers included Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips, Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp-Sauray, Administrative VP Nelson Rivera, and VP's Tony Utano, Richie Davis, and Pete Rosconi. We were also joined by local political leaders including State Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Senator George Latimer, Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, and local City Council members. Assemblywoman Mayer has made pushing our earned sick time legislation in Westchester one of her main priorities. At the event, President Samuelsen pledged to continue to put major union resources into our School Bus Division to increase union market share in the industry. He lauded Division Chair Gus Moghrabi for "delivering more and more members" into the union. Enjoy the photos from this festive day!

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