One good flyer deserves another.
One good flyer deserves another.

London Calling! TWU Local 100 Glad to Help Out

London’s Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (the RMT) – our brothers in arms across the pond – found inspiration in our recent graphic campaign to slow trains and prevent subway fatalities. We sent them our graphics files and they went to work, repurposing our graphic image of a chalk outline on the roadbed and making it the centerpiece of their campaign to bring back laid off workers who ensure safety on the Bakerloo line. The line’s management cut staffing, forcing train operators to drive out of service trains into stations or “sidings” in yards without checking for passengers who didn’t get off in time. The RMT points to the case of a 12-year old boy who found himself alone in a yard walking the tracks. Now the public is getting the message that this unsafe practice should end and that they should let London Underground management know they need to bring back the laid-off staff. See the RMT’s flyer here.

Richardson Wins Handily in 43rd AD Race

Diana Richardson, who enjoyed the strong support of TWU Local 100 and ran on the Working Families Line, resoundingly defeated three other candidates to take the top spot in the contest for the 43rd Assembly District, recently vacated by Karim Camara. Richardson won with 51% of the vote, with her nearest challenger, Shirley Patterson, at 25%. Her win was the top priority of the TWU Local 100 PAC Team over the last month, with the Union attending fundraisers and going door to door to get out the vote, raise the candidate's profile, and get out the vote among transit workers in the district. Congratulations, Assemblywoman Richardson! We look forward to working closely with you on mass transit issues before the legislature.

Rec. Sec. Crisp-Sauray, Surviving Family Commemorate William Peña on Workers Memorial Day

On April 28, TWU Local 100 joined with local labor leaders and workers safety advocates to mark Workers Memorial Day. On the occasion, Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp-Sauray and MaBSTOA I Chairman Richie Davis joined surviving members of the Peña family to commemorate his tragic death in the line of duty.

President Samuelsen Takes on Vision Zero on WABC Radio

Local 100 President Samuelsen delivered another blow to Vision Zero during an interview with UCOMM Radio's Kris LaGrange, which is broadcast on WABC 770 on Sunday evenings. Click to hear President Samuelsen's explanation of why the law is unjust, and why we're pushing an amendment to change it.

Disgraced cop Mirjan Lolja, right, confers with his attorney, Michael Martinez, after court hearing on April 24th
Disgraced cop Mirjan Lolja, right, confers with his attorney, Michael Martinez, after court hearing on April 24th

Set Trial Date for Rogue Cop in Conductor Beat-Down

A Bronx judge set  June 5th as the trial date for NYPD officer Mirjan Lolja, who jumped on and throttled NYCT Conductor Fatima Futa, a member of Local 100, last December 23rd. Lolja -- who was not in uniform and didn't identify himself -- apparently grew irate at the train schedule and decided to take his frustration out on the nearest MTA employee. He pushed her down and choked her at about 2AM, then bolted from the station wearing a big grin on his face. Read the Daily News story here. Lolja only turned himself in a week later when the video image was released by the NYPD, who apparently didn't know that the perpetrator was one of their own. On his way into court today at the Bronx Hall of Justice, Lolja and his attorney had to walk past TWU Local 100 Vice President for RTO, Kevin Harrington, Chair Joe Costales, Exec Board Member Steve Downs, and rank and file members who then sat in court for nearly three hours waiting for the case to be called. When it was, it took just minutes for the prosecutors and Lolja's attorney to agree on June 5th as the date the trial will start. Lolja is charged with misdemeanor assault, which TWU Local 100 believes is too lenient, since state law makes assaulting a transit worker a felony. Let's show  up in force on June 5th to support our assaulted Conductor.

WABC-TV Report: Bus Operators Give Their Take on Design Flaws

TWU's Media Campaign Driving Vision Zero Amendment Push

NYC's Vision Law unfairly and illogically targets Bus Operators. TWU Local 100 has geared up and fought this injustice – the criminalizing of transit professionals for doing exactly what NYC and the MTA require them to as a condition of employment. Accidents in which there no negligence or recklessness by the operator, are now crime scenes because of this poorly drafted law. We have also mounted an increasingly powerful media campaign – the ads are below for you to click and download.

City Council members are coming on board  to amend the law – we have 25 supporters and counting. Our emphasis is to protect our Bus Operators from being arrested for non negligent accidents. The solution is to fix the systemic causes of right-of-way accidents involving MTA buses, including street design, MTA bus routing, pedestrian and cyclist behavior, and lines of sight on buses. Again, we urge everyone to get behind City Council amendment Int. 663 to eliminate the unintended consequences of  Vision Zero. Fix the system. Stop arresting Bus Operators.

Click here to view/download our first ad.

Click here to download/view our second ad.

In the Swingroom, Politicians and Local 100 Make Common Cause on Vision Zero
In the Swingroom, Politicians and Local 100 Make Common Cause on Vision Zero

Rangel, Wright, Dickens Join TWU in Swingroom to Oppose Bus Operator Sanctions Under Vision Zero Law

APRIL 20 -- TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen and top leadership visited the swingroom at Mother Clara Hale Depot in Harlem, bringing the community's most prominent local political leaders with him. Congressman Charles Rangel took the opportunity to weigh in against Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero law which has repeatedly criminalized Bus Operators when involved in accidents occurring through no fault of their own. "Right now, we should be calling the Mayor [about the Vision Zero law] and telling him, don't embarrass yourself," Rangel said. "Anybody can make a mistake, and this is just one big damn mistake... Common sense would indicate, that when [the lawmakers] were thinking about this, the last thing they were thinking about is that a  bus driver, doing their duty, would be arrested."

Councilwoman Dickens proudly said that she was number three to sign on an amendment to Vision Zero, Intro 663, that would exempt Bus Operators from the law's provisions. They would still be subject to the rigorous accident investigation procedures now in place and possible discipline by the MTA. State Assemblyman Keith Wright was also outspoken in his support for the Amendment and against the criminalization of Bus Operators under Vision Zero.

In other news today, TWU Local 100 has sued the Mayor and the City of New York over the Vision Zero law, claiming that, when applied to motor vehicle operators, it is "so vague that it does not give a person of ordinary intelligence a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited." The 24-page lawsuit cites numerous precedents which argue against the reasoning behind the Vision Zero law, including the fact that there is no "mens rea" requirement, meaning a requirement that the operator has any intent to act recklessly or violate a law. You can read the Daily News story about the lawsuit here.

Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Harlem)
Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Harlem)

Wright, Walker at Union Hall as Clergy Breakfast Showcases TWU's Commitment to Our Community

APRIL 14 -- TWU Local 100's second annual Faith-Based Breakfast brought out leading religious leaders to the Union Hall to share strategies and insights for community empowerment. Assemblymembers Keith Wright (D-Harlem) and Latrice Walker (D-Brownsville/East NY) welcomed faith leaders along with TWU Local 100's top leadership, including President Samuelsen, Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips, and Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp-Sauray. The morning was highlighted by the presence of the Rev. Karim Camara, who Governor Cuomo recently appointed to head up his $50 million Faith Based Community Development Office in Albany.

President Samuelsen discussed the Union's campaign against the criminalization of Bus Operators under the new "Vision Zero" law which has seen union members arrested at accident scenes even when not operating recklessly. He also touched on the Union's longstanding ambition to find a way, partnering with local churches and other religious institutions, to guide youth into good jobs in transit.

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All Out for Diana Richardson in Central Brooklyn!

TWU Local 100 is enthusiastically endorsing Diana Richardson for New York State Assembly in the May 5th Special Election in Central Brooklyn. Sister Richardson's District includes Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens, Wingate, and East Flatbush. Diana is a strong supporter of mass transit in her district and will fight to create more routes and a new depot in Brooklyn to serve riders and empower workers. We hosted a "meet and greet" event on Franklin Avenue on April 13th. Here's a video of Ms. Richardson explaining why she deserves our vote. You can read more about her on her official website.

Organizer Dexter Victory and GO NY Members
Organizer Dexter Victory and GO NY Members

Union Win at Go New York Tours

Drivers and Guides from Go New York Tours, a double-decker bus sightseeing company here in town, have just voted to be represented by New York's most  powerful transit union -- TWU Local 100. The vote, 64-3 out of a field of 90 eligible employees, came after a Union organizing campaign spearheaded by organizer Frank McCann, who had just returned from a trip to South Carolina where union members confronted the management of Global Contact Services, which holds the contract for the MTA's Access-A-Ride Call Center, another recently-organized TWU Local 100 Shop. New members at Go New York Tours voted for better wages, better benefits, respect on the job, and real job security. Next time you pass a Go New York tour bus, give them a warm welcome to the TWU family.

ATS System May Have Made Overpayments

The Transit Authority has informed the union that a glitch in its ATS Timekeeping System may have resulted in overpayment for some workers in MOW, CED, and Stations for the pay period ending April 4, 2015.  Management said they noticed the problem too late to correct it before issuing checks.

The Authority promises that it will advise all members who may have received overpayment on how the situation will be remedied.

Local 100 Secretary Treasurer Earl Phillips advises all members in the affected Departments to carefully review their checks for this pay period.  Questions on the issue should be directed toward the individual’s timekeeping unit.

Train Operator, Conductor interviewed on Evacuation at 14th Street

At about 7PM Wednesday night, red signals halted an uptown #1 train just outside 14th Street on the IRT 7th Avenue line. A massive watermain had broken, sending water cascading down into the station. As police responded, Train Operator Beniquez and Conductor Askew evacuated their train, which was filled with rush hour passengers, without incident. It took DEP about two hours to stop the water, and then TWU Local 100’s signal maintainers, track workers, and ventilation and drainage crews went into action, to restore the station by the morning rush. In this video, the Train Operator and Conductor describe the evacuation.

 

Train Operator, Conductor, Evacuate Train As Water Main Break Paralyzes Service

APRIL 9 -- Train Operator Johnny Beniquez and his Conductor, Sheron Askew, halted their uptown #1 train at 14th Street last night as water poured in to the station via the ceiling after a massive water main break which took place at approximately 7pm. As Con Ed and DEP crews responded and police halted access to the station, the TWU Local 100 members evacuated their train, which was filled with rush hour commuters. Everyone proceeded to the front car and exited via the last door onto the platform. The professional evacuation was another proof as to the value of two-person train operation. Signal Maintainers and Power Distribution Maintainers as well as Track Workers also responded, along with Ventilation and Drainage personnel. They got the station pumped out and all signals replaced  and tested by the morning rush.

TA Surface Division Chair Willie Rivera with Bus Operator Francisco DeJesus
TA Surface Division Chair Willie Rivera with Bus Operator Francisco DeJesus

DA Takes DeJesus Case Off Court Calendar

Bus Operator Francisco DeJesus, a 30-year veteran with a good record, was arrested under the Vision Zero law on February 13th for "failure to yield" in an accident which injured a 15-year-old girl in Williamsburg. Today, his case was taken off the court calendar pending further discussions between the Union, the lawyer representing Mr. DeJesus, and the Brooklyn District Attorney. TWU Local 100 contends that Brother DeJesus should not have been arrested at the scene. We believe that this practice criminalizes Bus Operators who do their jobs professionally but nevertheless get into accidents.

JP Patafio, Vice President of TA Surface, addressed a room full of Bus Operators who gathered to support DeJesus. On hand were most of the Union's top officials in the leadership of the two Bus Departments, TA Surface and MaBSTOA, representing some 10,000 bus operators. Patafio noted that TWU Local 100 currently is closing in on a majority in the City Council needed to amend the Vision Zero law so as not to mandate arrests of Bus Operators at accident scenes. DeJesus thanked the operators for showing up, saying that their support was a great lift to his spirits. Operator Felix Lopez, who had DeJesus as an instructor, stood to ask the room to stand for a moment of silence for DeJesus's mother, who had just passed. It was a moment that spoke volumes about the solidarity we feel for each other in the TWU.

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