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Juneteenth -- A Day Every Union Member Should Know About

IB ImageToday is Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, which commemorates the emancipation from slavery in the United States. The photo above is of Americans turning out to celebrate the day in Texas in 1900.

The newsletter, Fast Company, has brought these facts together:
  • Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the Union Army's Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, Texas, and declared that all slaves were now free.
  • This event happened two years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but Lincoln's freeing of the slaves was only on paper, and the ongoing Civil War prevented freedom from becoming a reality as many plantation owners withheld the news.
  • Juneteenth marked a turning point in the fight to free fellow humans from the bonds of slavery, and African Americans in Texas celebrated it as a day of freedom. There were other options for an official holiday marking the end of slavery, including September 22, which was the day in 1862 when Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation Order on January 31, the date the 13th Amendment passed Congress in 1865 and officially abolished the institution of slavery. However, it was Juneteenth that stuck.
  • In 1979 Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Now the day more widely represents the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.
  • While it's not an official national holiday, Juneteenth is now a state holiday or a day of observance in most states and the District of Columbia, with only Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, and the Dakotas holding out. To celebrate this historic day, events will take place around the country.
  • This year, many are also calling for a day of action as a reminder that the struggle for equality and racial justice is far from over.
TWU is proud to acknowledge the value and importance of this day.
Tony Utano

TWU Basketball Players Wanted by Film Producer

TWU-ers: I am a producer with  Imagine Motion Productions and we are currently in production on a  brand new documentary series for MSG Network about NYC basketball culture. We will be documenting and telling the stories of regular New Yorkers, from all walks of life, who have a true love and passion for the game. We are not necessarily looking for the most talented players, but those for whom the game means a lot. 
For instance, some of the stories we are following are a weekly 60-years-old and over game in Bay Ridge that has been playing every Tuesday night for the last 40 years with the same group of diehard players and a weekly Saturday morning "Women Only" run at an outdoor court in Park Slope. We want to find out what basketball means in all of these people's lives. We will be exploring how each of these different basketball worlds are distinctive and also what they share in common, existing in this big and crazy city.
We're reaching out to TWU Local 100 because we'd love to find and feature an MTA employee who works hard providing a service that is essential to keep the city running but looks forward to playing the game in his/her off hours. It would be amazing if we could find a group of union members who play together on a fairly consistent basis.
Please let me know if you are interested or if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing back from you! -- Joe Ward, 607.435.0785


Media Turns Out as Bus Operator Describes Beat-Down by Teens; Union Pushes for Partitions in W'Chester

The media turned out in force Wednesday, June 15, for a TWU Local 100 press conference in Yonkers on the assault of Liberty Lines Bus Operator Burin Sylej.

Vice President of Private Lines Pete Rosconi told the assembled press contingent that Local 100 President Tony Utano would push for partitions in Liberty Lines buses.

Sylej described how three teenagers threw bottles, punches and kicks at him in the Bronx on Sunday at the southern end of a Westchester-Bronx route.

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More than 15 reporters, photographers and television camera operators from outlets like The Westchester Journal, News12 Westchester, 1010 WINS radio, WCBS Channel 2 and WNBC Channel 4 came to the presser at the Local 100 satelite office on Saw Mill River Road in Yonkers.IB Image

Read an excellent report in the local paper here.

Local 100 asked former Westchester County Robert Astorino to retrofit Liberty Lines’ buses with safety partitions but the Republican refused. TWU will now reach out to new County Executive George Latimer, a Democrat, who defeated Astorino in November.

Councilman Brad Lander Scores DeBlasio Administration for Flawed RFP on Bike Expansion

JUNE 13 -- At City Hall, TWU Local 100 members including Citibike workers joined Councilman Brad Lander to urge the DeBlasio Administration to re-think their RFP for bikeshare expansion. The Councilman put forward three tests which the RFP must meet. Also speaking were Citibike worker Roberto Jeanniton and Nick Bedelll, the TWU's Director of Strategic Campaigns.

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