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MTA Compelled to Make Track Safety Rule Changes

Under intense union pressure, the MTA has been compelled to make unprecedented track-safety rule changes to prevent another tragedy like the line-of- duty death of subway Construction Flagger Louis Gray Jr. on Nov. 3, 2016.

Gray was on a curved track setting up yellow warning lights for a construction project that was about to get underway when a G train came around the bend and struck him. Gray’s co-workers, Jeffrey Fleming, was seriously injured but survived. The tragedy exposed serious, life-threatening flaws in the MTA’s safety protocols.  The G-train operator had no idea that Gray and Fleming were up ahead when he left the nearest station. He couldn’t stop in time when he came upon the two men on the tracks between Fort Hamilton Parkway and Church Avenue stations.

The MTA balked at TWU’s demands for new safety measures, so the union forced the dispute into emergency arbitration. The MTA has now agreed to suspend train traffic when flaggers are setting yellow warning lights out in advance of a construction project on curves with limited visibility and other extremely dangerous areas. (sections of track where there are no safety niches for a transit worker to quickly find refuge should a train be coming) “This is a big win for the safety of New York City transit workers,” Local 100 President John Samuelsen said. “Past efforts to get the company to even slow the trains down were extremely difficult. Now, the trains must not only slow down but completely suspend service and this is unprecedented.” Flagging lights are set up to warn approaching trains that workers may be on the tracks ahead and to proceed with extreme caution.

After Gray’s death, the MTA issued a bulletin with regulation changes that were too weak and amounted to nothing more than “nibbling around the edges,” Samuelsen said. Local 100 took the matter to emergency arbitration. After an all-day hearing on Friday Dec. 2nd,  both sides, along with the arbitrator, signed a legal document adopting the new protocols halting trains in certain circumstances. “It’s a travesty that another transit worker lost his life on the job,” Samuelsen said. It’s also a travesty that this matter had to go to arbitration. The MTA should have done the right thing in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy.” The NTSB, which is investigating the accident, approved of the new protocols Tuesday. The MTA has scheduled a 24-hour “safety stand down” starting at 10 p.m. Wednesday, December 7th. During that time, all non-emergency track work will be suspended so workers can be educated on the new regulations.

It's Time to Nominate: Transit Hometown Heroes Awards Open

Each year, the New York Daily News showcases the outstanding work of our members -- TWU Local 100 represented transit workers -- in a special section in the paper and a gala awards dinner at the Empire Ballroom in Manhattan. Celebrity presenters like Liz Cho of WABC-TV and NY1's Pat Kiernan partner with transit workers and tell their stories. But first, you have to nominate them! Click here for the awards rules, and nominate yourself or a co-worker today. We are the unsung heroes of New York City -- and if we don't tell our own stories, often no one else will. Nominees are transit workers who have gone above and beyond to help our fellow New Yorkers. You know who you are!

Union Submits Bargaining Demands to the MTA

At the conclusion of Tuesday's large rally outside MTA Headquarters at 2 Broadway, President John Samuelsen and top Local 100 leadership submitted our formal bargaining demands to MTA Director of Labor Relations Anita Miller, in the lobby of 2 Broadway. You can read the text of the main table bargaining demands here.

Massive Rally Sparks Contract Kickoff at 2 Broadway

TWU Rallies at 2 Broadway for a Fair Contract

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Content from Contract Kickoff Nov 15

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Over seven thousand TWU Local 100 transit workers took our contract demands to the street in front of MTA headquarters at 2 Broadway, projecting our key issues directly onto the facade of the building with the aid of an “illuminator.”

Local 100 President John Samuelsen addressed the large crowd, as members blasted air horns and waved signs from every division in the Union. He was introduced by TWU International President Harry Lombardo, who told the story of the recently settled TWU/SEPTA strike in Philadelphia and endorsed the Local 100 team as expert and seasoned as we go into our contract fight. Samuelsen declared that it’s time for transit workers – who toil in an extremely dangerous environment – to be fairly compensated for their work at a time when the MTA is carrying a surplus and on-the-job injuries and assaults have been increasing. Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips articulated the dangers we face in his speech, documenting the many fatal accidents to transit workers in the last decade. Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp-Sauray MC’d the event, introducing all of our Vice Presidents and the other speakers, and leading the huge crowd in chants and song.

More coverage in The Chief:

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