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Eric Garner's Transit Family Comes to the Union's Black History Month Celebration

TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen and the rest of the Union's leadership greeted Alicia Flagg, the sister of Eric Garner, who died while being arrested by police officers on Staten Island seven months ago. Alicia is a New York City Transit Bus Operator, a member of TWU Local 100. Also on hand were Eric's mother, Gwen Carr, a retired Train Operator, and Eric and Alicia's Aunt, a Station Agent.

GCS workers on the MTA's in-house live camera feed at the Board Meeting.
GCS workers on the MTA's in-house live camera feed at the Board Meeting.

Before MTA Board, GCS Workers Speak Truth to Power

Six courageous present and former employees of Global Contact Services (GCS), the MTA's call center operator for Access-A-Ride, came to the formal meeting of the MTA Board of Directors on February 25th to act out a four-minute presentation on just why GCS is an abusive employer. As Board Members and the press watched, the TWU Local 100 members (the union won a representation on the property, but GCS is refusing to negotiate) spoke of excessive firings, the practice of the company of outsourcing and off-shoring American jobs, unequal work distribution, lack of training, and unfair discipline. They outlined how workers at First Transit, the company that held the call center contract before GCS underbid them, were making $16 to $18 an hour. GCS took over and cut everyone's pay by $4 an hour, so that employees are now making $11 and $12 an hour, with the most senior worker now making just $12.61. The union has set up a website about GCS abuses at www.gcsstoptheabuse.com.

 

An Urgent Message to All Bus Operators from TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen

TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen issued the following urgent communication to all TWU Local 100 Bus Operators in the face of a new threat to Transit Workers.

Once again, Transit Workers are the targets of a problem we did not create.  Justice has been turned on its head.  Mile-for-mile, Bus Operators are the safest drivers on the road, but now we are being portrayed as a menace ON the roads of the City. Nothing could be further from the truth.  However, this is a very serious threat to our union, and we must respond accordingly.

There is an ongoing misinterpretation and misapplication by the Highway Police of the Vision Zero law. This law was meant to target deliberately reckless drivers on the streets of NYC. When the City Council passed this law, it was not intended to go after Bus Operators. Indeed, an exemption was built into the law for those “engaged in work on behalf of the City, the state of New York…." No one is above the law, including Bus Operators.  But it is clear that the spirit of the Vision Zero law passed by the City Council did not envision the arrest of Bus Operators involved in accidents. We do not operate recklessly. Our Operators are professionals who prevent accidents each and every day. To treat Bus Operators as criminals is an absolute outrage, and a complete miscarriage of justice. It is already bad enough that Bus Operators have to deal with the heavy hand of the Transit Authority, relentless traffic, equipment with built in blind spots, pressurized schedules, two million passengers carried a day, and unregulated left turns. Now we are the targets of a well-intentioned law gone wrong.

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