WABC's Eyewitness News reporter Lucy Yang called the union's settlement with the de Blasio administration "a big victory for bus drivers."
Local 100's six-month, multi-pronged campaign to force the City of New York to recognize that the flawed Vision Zero law had to be readdressed to halt the senseless arrest of non reckless Bus Operators involved in so-called "right-of-way" accidents has produced a major TWU win.
Late on Monday afternoon, Aug. 31, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan executed a settlement between Local 100 President John Samuelsen and the City of New York's Corporation Counsel (the municipal Department responsible for all of the City's legal affairs) that produces the needed changes in interpretation of the Vision Zero statute to protect Bus Operators and all transit workers who operate MTA vehicles.
The settlement does the following:
1. Under this settlement, a right of way" accident unto itself is no longer considered proof a Bus Operator failed to exercise "due care" behind the wheel. Now there must be evidence that the operator did not use "due care" in the operation of the vehicle. The settlement describes "due care" as "that care which is exercised by reasonably prudent drivers."
2. It instructs the New York City Police Department to issue a "Finest Message" within 45 days to instruct Police Officers how to investigate bus-pedestrian accidents in compliance with this Vision Zero settlement.
Local 100 President John Samuelsen said of the important triumph: "I'm truly proud of this membership and our Division Officers who so effectively organized and executed street actions to underscore the union's position that the unwarranted and humiliating arrest of our Bus Operators would not stand. The union's Political Action efforts made our case effectively to City Hall, the City Council and to Albany, and pumped up the pressure through paid and unpaid media campaigns to score this victory. Our entire union can celebrate this important win for transit workers throughout the City." View the five-page settlement here.