News from TWU Local 100

Infrastructure Bill Includes Worker Assault Protections

NOVEMBER 6 -- The massive infrastructure bill just passed by Congress isn’t just good news for mass transit riders and motorists – but also for transit workers enduring assaults and abuse on the job.

Transit agencies across the country will receive hundreds of millions of dollars combined for efforts to better protect transit workers, and the workers themselves will have a say in how that money is spent. Agencies like the Metropolitan Transportation Authority must establish a safety committee with an equal number of union and management representatives. The committee must adopt a plan with strategies to reduce the risk of assaults and submit the document to the Federal Transit Administration for approval – before getting infrastructure money from the feds. At least .75% of FTA funding an agency receives must be spent on worker-protection initiatives.

“This is a major victory for organized labor and for transit workers,” TWU International President John Samuelsen said. “We pushed hard on this issue and our efforts have borne fruit. There is a now a proper focus on mitigating the relentless scourge of worker assaults and abuse.  Agencies will get additional funds for this and will have to listen to the workers when developing their plans. It’s a huge step forward.”

TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano praised the worker-safety provisions: “Transit workers come to work to do a job, not be punching bags for unhinged riders and criminals. We want to go home to our families at the end of our shifts safe and sound, not wind up in the emergency room.”

TWU Local 100 Congratulates Mayor-Elect Eric Adams

TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano issued the following statement on the election of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams as the next Mayor of New York City.

“On behalf of the 46,000 members of the TWU Local 100, I wish to heartily congratulate our endorsed candidate for Mayor, Eric Adams, for his sweeping win as the 110th Mayor of our great City. His election means that for the first time in almost 30 years transit workers will have someone in City Hall who really has our backs.

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“Last April, all of the major candidates for Mayor sought our endorsement at a special meeting of the Local 100 Executive Board.   Eric Adams was the one candidate who presented himself head and shoulders above everyone else on the issues that are important to transit workers. But it was more than that.  It was more than just being right on the issues; on crime in our subways, on assaults against transit workers, on homelessness in the system.
 
“As a transit cop for 20 years, Eric worked side by side with us every night.  He rode the subway trains with us.  He hung out with us in the break rooms.  He protected us during the worst of the bad old days.  In some cases, he relied on us to protect him when he needed it. He, more than anyone, knows what transit workers go through every day and every night to keep this City moving.  And he more than anyone knows the sacrifices that transit workers made during this horrible pandemic to keep it together for New York. 
 
“As a legislator in the State Senate; and as Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams has supported us 100 percent of the time. We view Eric Adams not as a politician. We view him as a friend who will always be there for us when we need it. Transit workers should all be thrilled with his election as Mayor.”
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Anthony and Dorota Nigro in happier times.
Anthony and Dorota Nigro in happier times.

Gov. Hochul Signs TWU’s Diesel/Cancer Legislation

Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed into law a landmark bill – championed by TWU Local 100 and the TWU Local 100 Retirees Association   – that would allow a family to file for death benefits through Workers Compensation for a diesel exhaust related illness.
 
The bill especially impacts the families of retirees, who for years have filed for death benefits due to diesel exposure through Workers Compensation only to be routinely rejected. That all changed in 2014, when Dorota Nigro, with the help of the union, won a breakthrough lawsuit for Workers Compensation benefits after her husband, Anthony Nigro, a MaBSTOA Bus Maintainer, died of lung cancer a few months after he retired in 2012.  
 
This legislation recognizes the causal effects of diesel exhaust in cancer and lung related illnesses.  It allows families whose claims were rejected in past years to refile for benefits, and of course, it provides an easier path for claims in the future.
 
Local 100 President Tony Utano said: “This is an important bill that we have been fighting for the past few sessions in the Albany.  I’m happy that we were finally able to bring it across the finish line for those transit families who will ultimately benefit from this victory.”
 
Brother Anthony Nigro had worked for 28 years as a Maintainer at MTA facilities.  He was working at Quill Depot when he retired. The family’s oncologist told Brother Nigro’s widow, Dorota Nigro, that he believed diesel exposure over many years was a cause of the cancer.
 
Attorney Robert Grey, of Grey & Grey, LLP, filed a victorious claim on behalf of the Nigro family with the Workers Compensation Board.  That lawsuit in 2014 set the stage for the union’s legislative fight in Albany. “In a legal sense, someone had to be the first to climb Mt. Everest in litigation on diesel exhaust,” said Grey. “Hopefully, this is our Mt. Everest, and the path for other claimants who have been harmed by diesel exposure is less difficult.” 
 
Now, thanks to the union’s legislative victory, a grieving family will be able to seek financial justice for the loss of their loved one. The bill, sponsored in the NYS Senate by James Sanders (D-Queens), and in the Assembly by Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Brooklyn), is named for Brother Nigro.

MTA COVID Update -- October 18

The MTA has rolled out its new Covid-19 testing program. 

If you are unvaccinated - and testing is taking place at your work location - you are required to get tested every week. 
 
Supervisors are not going to direct you to get tested. If a testing station is at your work location, it’s up to you to participate.
 
It’s free and easy. Protect yourself, your co-workers, and your families from the deadly virus.
 
It can take days before Covid-19 symptoms emerge. 
 
Testing is the only way to detect the virus early so you can get treatment right away and can quarantine to prevent spreading it to others.
 
For more information, including the times and locations of testing sites, go to MTA Covid-19 Resource Center:  https://new.mta.info/covid-19/employees

Car Equipment, Stations Mourn Terminal CTA Valdemore Richardson, 49

The Union is mourning the passing of Valdemore Richardson, age 49, a Terminal Cleaner who worked at the Stillwell Terminal on the A.M. tour in Coney Island.  Brother Richardson was in the process of purchasing a home in Mountainville, NY, when he unexpectedly passed away on Monday, October 4th.

Stations VP Robert Kelley who has been assisting the Richardson family during this difficult time, described Brother Richardson as a world-class husband and loving father.  CED VP Shirley Martin also described Brother Richardson as a well-liked individual who will truly be missed by his co-workers.  

Brother Richardson leaves behind his wife, Shatisha Richardson; daughter Summer Rayne, 6 years old; and two children he lovingly called his “bonus children” Kayla Jade, 18 years old and Chase Anthony, 13 years old.  Shatisha stated her husband loved his job and his MTA family.

Brother Richardson was an honorable family man who loved and cherished his family and wanted nothing more but the best for them.  His in-laws told Local 100 that Valdemore’s family was his life and everything else came second as far as what was important to him. Valdemore’s wife, Shatisha, during this difficult time, was able to jokingly share with us that not only did she love her husband, she actually liked him a lot!
 

Enrollment Period to Opt-in/Opt-out & Change Medical Plans Starts Oct 15

All active members in TA/OA and MTA Bus should shortly be receiving these cards in the mail. They are reminders that Oct. 15 - Nov 15 are the dates to change your medical plan or make other changes in your coverage. Questions? Call the BSC at 646-376-0123.

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Live on CNN: Bus Operator Rosa Almonte Explains How She Brought Her Passengers to Safety

Bus Operator Rosa Almonte, out of Fresh Pond Depot, came to the Union Hall on Friday for a live interview with CNN about how she brought her passengers through raging floodwaters on Queens Boulevard. The national TV broadcast showed America something about the guts, determination, and professionalism of transit workers.

Update: MTA Vaccination/Testing Program

The MTA is rolling out its COVID-19 vaccination/testing program.

If you are unvaccinated, you have a choice -- you can get the shot or be tested. Testing will take place on transit property and on company time. If testing is not available at your reporting location, you do not have to do anything. Management may, however, direct you on company time to go get tested at a nearby site.

The MTA has directed both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers to inform management through the employee portal of their vaccination status. If the MTA changes its position and moves to make vaccination a requirement of continued employment, TWU Local 100 will file a lawsuit and fight against such a mandate in court.

See the testing locations and schedules here.

The MTA is directing vaccinated workers to notify management using this link.


 

Transit Workers Recognized for Heroic Role in Flood Rescues on Subways, Buses

SEPTEMBER 2 -- NYS Governor Kathy Hochul called a press conference today at Fresh Pond Depot to praise the actions of Bus Operator Rosa Almonte, who drove her bus through raging waters to bring her passengers to safety last night. The widely circulated video of her bus opens the video. Joining Gov. Hochul and Bus Op Almonte at the press event were public officials and TA Surface Vice President JP Patafio. Subway workers were also recognized widely in press coverage. Watch our site for a full recap.

Union Commemorates 20 Years Since 9/11; President Utano Gives Remarks

AUGUST 31 -- It's been 20 years since the Attack on America. More than three thousand transit workers responded to the rescue and recovery effort, the bulk of them assigned there by NYCT, others who volunteered. On August 31, TWU Local 100 held our seventh commemoration of the event, as we continue to press the media and the larger community to recognize the sacrifices of transit workers on that fateful day. As is our regular practice, we awarded 9/11 Medals to our members who have become seriously ill due to toxic exposures on 9/11 and who have received compensation from the federal government under the Zadroga Act. 14 of those Medals were awarded in this ceremony. Also, Recognition Pins were given out to members who served at Ground Zero. TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano spoke at the event.

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