Brooklyn community and political leaders spoke out loudly and clearly on Saturday, June 15th, calling on the MTA to use some of the Authority's recently revealed surplus to bring back the B37 to Park Slope, Bay Ridge, and Sunset Park. Led by Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, speakers ticked off a long list of reasons why the B37 -- cut in 2010 -- should be put back in service, pronto. Advocates for the disabled said that 20,000 disabled persons lived on or near the bus route -- and have no other way of accessing mass transit since elevators do not make the R and N trains accessible to Brooklynites in wheelchairs. One disabled advocate noted that the "dollar vans" aren't accessible, either. Bay Ridge State Senator Martin Golden, Sunset Park State Senator Felix Ortiz, Cobble Hill Assemblywoman Joan Millman, two Mayoral Candidates -- Bill Thompson and Sal Albanese -- and three sitting City Councilmembers -- Letitia James, Sara Gonzalez, and Vincent Gentile, were all up in arms about the lack of service, and the devastating effect the loss of the route has had on working people. Local 100 President John Samuelsen summed up the action when he said: "When the union, on its own, tried to restore service, we've failed. When community groups, on their own, tried to restore service, they've failed. But when we all come together, there's nothing that can stop us." The rally was co-coordinated with Local 100 by our community partner in Sunset Park, UPROSE, a member of the Transit Forward Coalition.
A contingent of TWU Local 100 members marched to City Hall on June 13th, adding our voices to ten thousand municipal workers rallying for a contract. With virtually all of the public sector workforce without a current contract, the display of unity on stage included law enforcement, sanitation, teachers, health care and clericals along with teamsters and highway construction titles. TWU Local 100 Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp-Sauray received a warm welcome from the crowd of workers as she brought her message that the middle class needs respect and a decent contract to City Hall. Although TWU Local 100 negotiates with the Governor and not the Mayor, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the municipal labor coalition.
Coming off a particularly devastating weekend for transit riders, where four were hit by trains and killed in 36 hours, TWU Local 100 is releasing our "Stand Back" video, highlighting our common-sense solutions for stopping the carnage on the rails -- in a way that we hope will capture public attention and support. Watch -- and stand back!
At 4:58 on June 11, the New York State Senate interrupted its "fast roll call" legislative session to honor TWU Local 100's own Danny Hay, a Train Operator who took action to save lives when he stopped an F train about to barrel into the Delancey Street subway station where a man had fallen onto the tracks. Hay used his flashlight to alert the oncoming Train Operator and the train stopped in time, avoiding tragedy. Two good Samaritans had also descended to the road bed, and all three would likely have been killed if not for Hay's quick thinking and acting. Taking a trip up to Albany with TWU Local 100 Political Action Director Marvin Holland and PAC staffer Cheska Tolentino, Hay found time to chat with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who he knew from political campaigning, with Jim Brennan, Chair of the powerful Committee on Authorities, and with State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who he is lobbying to support platform conductors on subway stations where construction hazards exist as a public safety measure. He also met with Washington Heights Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa, who has been taking part in our rallies to restore a token booth at 168th Street on the A, C and 1. Then Hay met with State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), who shares the top leadership post in the Senate with Republican Dean Skelos.
TWU Local 100 Family Day brought thousands of transit workers and their families out to MCU Park on June 1, which turned out to be a perfect day. Three buses arrived from Philadelphia, bearing brothers and sisters from Local 234 (SEPTA), ready to play ball. And how! Both the PA men's and women's team prevailed over the home team, and we're looking for a re-match next year! Local 100 did take the contest with New Jersey's TWU Local 229. Besides playing hard, transit workers partied hard, with plenty of food, drink, and thrilling rides. Watch our Facebook page and our slideshow for lots of pix!