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New Agreement Gives Raises to Station Agents Who Become Customer Service Ambassadors

NOVEMBER 15 -- Local 100 President Tony Utano has signed an agreement with management that protects jobs and gives raises to station agents who volunteer to be Customer Service Ambassadors. Station Agents who pick to become Customer Service Ambassadors, a new job title, will receive at least $1 more an hour in pay. The MTA will then fill those vacated booth positions. It also will not reduce the number of Platform Controllers or change their duties, the agreement for the one-year pilot program states.

“This is an important agreement that benefits both workers and riders,” Utano said. “Riders will get better customer service and our members will get access to new, better-paying jobs.” Up to 355 Ambassadors will move about stations with digital devices to help riders with directions, service changes and provide real-time train information. The MTA Board last month awarded Cubic Transportation Systems a contract to phase in a new fare-payment system with digital technology. The “contactless” system is expected to include riders paying at turnstiles with devices like iPhones.

The increasing reliance on technology is one of the reasons the pact negotiated and signed by Utano is so important, Derick Echevarria, Vice President of Stations, said. “It creates new jobs and moves us forward with technology,” Echevarria said. MTA officials said they envision the phase-out of the MetroCard to take until 2023. The agreement also states that “as technological advancements and improvements to the NYC subway system are implemented the parties will continue their ongoing discussions to preserve the jobs of Station Agents and to integrated job functions of the Station Agents with the improved technology to support an overall enhanced customer experience.”

TWU Sends Transit Workers to Puerto Rico

Union Acts to Enforce Extinguisher Safety Recall at Transit Properties

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 10 -- Local 100 identified an extremely serious safety hazard, prompting the MTA to replace 2,000 defective fire extinguishers on buses. One day after a national recall was issued for certain Kidde model extinguishers, elected union officers and staff conducted emergency bus inspections at the Flatbush Depot in Brooklyn. Those Nov. 3 inspections discovered the defective equipment on more than dozen buses, prompting management to order a complete canvass of the fleet. NYC Transit then deployed workers to replace 2,000 of the Kidde models subject to the national recall.
According to Consumer Reports, Kidde recalled more than 40 million extinguishers because they can clog and fail to work when needed. The company has received one report of a related death in 2014, when a fire extinguisher failed to work during a car fire. There have been 16 injuries, 91 reports of property damage, and 391 reports of the extinguishers either not working at all or not working properly, according to Consumer Reports.
“A dangerous and potential tragic situation may very well have been averted because this hazard was identified,” Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips said. “This was great work by Local 100 TA Surface Vice President J.P. Patafio, Division Chairs Willie Rivera and Danny Ascona and their teams, and Safety Rep. Tommy McNally."
“Once the union realized there was a recall we took immediate action to remedy the problem,” Patafio said. “When the union is running on all cylinders we can get things done. The members feel confident in their officers, and everyone goes home safe and sound.” Defective extinguishers also were found in work vehicles on the subway side and were being replaced, Phillips said.
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TWU Scores Big Wins on Election Day

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TWU Local 100 and New York statewide labor movement scored big wins on Election Day, with the biggest being the successful campaign to defeat Ballot Proposal #1, the New York State Constitutional Convention, or ConCon. TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano had made defeating the ConCon proposition the union’s number one election day target. 

After the announcement that New York voters had rejected the proposition in landslide fashion, Utano credited a strong grass roots effort by TWU and many other unions for the strong performance.  “As little as a month ago, polls showed that ConCon had a good chance to pass.  Our members and activists, and the entire labor movement deserve a lot of credit for turning it around into a huge victory for the security of our pensions, contracts, Workers Compensation and much more.” The stunning turnaround was reflected in the final vote – 78 percent voting no, and only 22 percent voting yes.

Other big wins for Local 100 include:

Westchester County Executive’s Race – TWU’s endorsed candidate , Democrat George Latimer, handily defeated two-term incumbent Rob Astorino.  Local 100 put forth a big effort to dump Astorino, who has opposed a key piece of County legislation that would grant earned paid sick days for County workers, including School Bus employees and workers at Liberty Lines Transportation. 

Yonkers City Council President – TWU Local 100 pushed hard to defeat incumbent Yonkers City Council President Liam McLaughlin.  Our candidate,Democrat Mike Khader, won a tight contest, and credited his victory in big part to the help of TWU and our activists.  We now have the County Executive and Yonkers City Council leadership in union friendly hands.

City Council District 43In one of the tightest races in the City, our endorsed candidate for the 43 City Council District, Justin Brannan, defeated his Republican opponent, John Quaglione, by less than 900 votes.  The two were running to replace outgoing Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D), who is term-limited, for a seat that encompasses the southern Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, and parts of Bensonhurst, neighborhoods with a heavy Local 100 presence. Brannan will be a solid vote for union-friendly and transit friendly measures on the City Council.

Westchester County 16th District TWU’s endorsed candidate Christopher Johnson won his race in the 16th District of the Westchester Board of County Legislators.  Johnson is a strong community activist and supports us on the earned paid sick days campaign, as well as other issues concerning our School Bus properties and Liberty Lines.

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