News from TWU Local 100

$100,000 in Scholarship Grants is Awarded to Local 100 Members and their Families

JULY 8 -- $100,000 in scholarship grants was awarded today at the Union Hall. TWU Local 100 administered the awards program, which is underwritten by M3 Technology, which also provides insurance coverage to members on a voluntary basis. The winners were announced by our Scholarship Coordinator, Shannon Poland, who is also Assistant to President Tony Utano and a Union Trustee. Brother Poland announced the winners as they were pulled at random. The first two winners will receive $10,000 each, the next six will receive $5,000 each, and the remaining 50 will receive $1,000 each. Brother Poland will contact the winners to ask them for the necessary documents before the funds are disbursed.

We Mourn Railroad Stock Worker Lafayette Terrell, Taken by the Virus

The Division of Supply Logistics – in charge of distributing the equipment used by transit workers in maintenance and repair throughout the system -- suffered a serious loss on May 2 with the death of Lafayette Terrell, who worked nights at the Pelham Maintenance Shop in the Bronx. Mr. Terrell was 65 and had 39 years of service with New York City Transit. He had served in the US Army for four years before beginning his transit career.

Lafayette's younger brother, Angelo Terrell, Assistant Chief Officer of Supply Logistics, encouraged Lafayette to join transit in 1981, a year after he started the job in 1980.

"I always loved you. I miss you so much. We were brothers and best friends," he said.

He said both his brother and himself wore masks at work but got sick with COVID-19 in April. They fought the disease together. Angelo developed antibodies and recovered, but Lafayette, who had other health risks, was not so fortunate. Angelo said responding firefighters initially advised Lafayette not to go to the hospital because it was overwhelmed with virus cases at the time, and instead try to win the battle at home with supplemental oxygen. Lafayette felt better for a time, his brother said, but then had to be hospitalized and was put on a ventilator after the third day in the hospital. He died on Saturday, May 2. In his immediate family, Lafayette leaves his wife, Karen, and four daughters, Barshona, Chadera, Alisha, and Divana to mourn.

Ivan Barco, a Railroad Stock Worker who worked with Lafayette Terrell for eight years at the Pelham Shop, said "he was very gentle, courteous, and respectful. He never took a day off, only took off for vacation. He used to talk about his daughters and how he would go down to North Carolina to see them.

"He was very thorough and was always on point. When he did something he always did it the right way. He was always on time, always punctual. And he liked wearing his jewelry, his rings and chain. He was a nice dresser, and a funny guy. He was down to earth. All of the Cleaners miss him."

 

Daily News Report: MTA opens bus windows to counter COVID — but drivers say the real issue is low mask usage.

Today's Daily News reports that while the MTA is directing Bus Operators to open windows to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many riders are not wearing masks:

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
JUL 07, 2020 AT 5:30 PM
 
Bus windows and roof hatches must be opened to spread fresh air to stop the spread of coronavirus, MTA officials have ordered — but many bus drivers feel the move doesn’t go far enough. “There’s a lot of fresh air circulating” through open bus windows, Interim NYC Transit president Sarah Feinberg said Tuesday in an interview on NY1, noting that the extra air flow should help mitigate the virus.
 
A Metropolitan Transportation Authority memo sent to all bus employees on June 23 noted that the windows must be opened on all non-express buses so long as the weather permits.
It’s possible the memo is not being widely followed.
 
A survey of 10 buses in Manhattan by the Daily News on Tuesday afternoon found that just three of the buses had open windows, and just one had an open roof hatch.
 
“Bus drivers have discretion when it comes to opening windows and today’s heat and humidity was one reason some windows remained closed,” said MTA spokesman Ken Lovett.

 

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Union Mourns David Gantt, 78, Chair of NYS Assembly Transportation Committee

TWU Local 100 mourns the passing of longtime NYS Assemblyman David Gantt, 78, who passed away last Wednesday, of long-term illness. Assemblyman Gantt served in the legislature for nearly 40 years, and his stewardship of the Transportation Committee made him a go-to legislator for Local 100. "He was always willing to meet with us in Albany to advance our shared agenda -- better mass transit for under-served communities amd more protections for the transit workforce," President Tony Utano said. Members may recall meeting with Mr. Gantt at our lobby days in Albany.

Mr. Gantt was the only African American from Monroe County ever elected to the state Legislature. A Democrat, he was known as a fighter for civil rights and championed funding for Rochester public schools. He grew up poor in Alabama and his family moved to Rochester in the 1950's. He is credited with a legacy that, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, "brought a pantheon of younger African American elected officials and leaders into government."

 

TWU International Announces Scholarship Winners

JULY 1 -- The TWU of America today announced scholarship winners from many of our local unions across the country. Many are the children of TWU Local 100 members. You can read the complete list here.

Awards come from five separate funds that endow scholarships for union members and their families and are picked through a lottery. They are the Michael J. Quill Scholarship Awards and four other award programs funded by Union Benefit Planners, M3 Technology, Pitta LLP, and Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno, LLC. Congratulations to all the winners!

Sec-Treas Earl Phillips examines new partition at Quill Depot in Manhattan
Sec-Treas Earl Phillips examines new partition at Quill Depot in Manhattan

Union Officials Review New Bus Barrier Concepts

JUNE 30 -- The MTA today showcased new barriers to separate Bus Operators from riders as it looks to resume fare collection some time in August. There could be additional modifications but under the current MTA plan there are different retrofits for different bus models.

The vast majority of buses – 4,200 locals – will get a retrofit with a sliding see-through polycarbonate panel extending towards the front windshield, MTA officials said. When manually extended, the sliding panel extends about 18-inches farther towards the windshield than existing partitions. Approximately 600 older buses (Orions), and all 1,000 express buses, initially would get retractable vinyl curtains. But the authority is developing prototypes for those buses similar to the more solid, sliding-panel design, transit management said. When fare collection resumes, riders will not be allowed to sit in the front row, the MTA said.

TWU Local 100 Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips, MaBSTOA Vice President Richard Davis and MTA Bus/Private Lines V.P. Pete Rosconi were among the Local 100 officers who inspected the barriers at the Quill Depot. MTA officials said the authority will retrofit as many buses as possible before resuming front-door boarding and fare collection, but said the entire fleet may not be done by then.

Local 100 President Tony Utano said any bus going into passenger service will have to have a barrier if passengers are to board through the front door. “We’re not going to allow our Bus Operators to pull out a bus without a barrier of protection while the pandemic is going on,” Utano said.

For a longer-term upgrade, Utano and Phillips have previously urged the MTA to pursue a completely new bus design where Bus Operators are enclosed in a cab that extends the entire width of the bus. The front door of such a bus is shifted behind the front right wheel. MTA bus officials on Tuesday said they are looking into that possibility. "These are steps in the right direction and we will continue to push the MTA, as we have for years, to improve safety for our Bus Operators," Phillips said.

Tragic Loss in the Union Family

One of our Conductors, who was approximately 6-months pregnant, suffered a terrible loss earlier today. She went into premature labor in the East New York yard where she was assigned moving switches. The baby did not survive.

“This is a terrible and tragic loss,” Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “Our hearts go out to our union sister and her family, and we will do whatever we can to assist them at this difficult time.” A union representative responded to the hospital. Union officers have been in contact with the Conductor's family.  At the union’s request, management is granting two weeks paid maternity leave.

The Conductor filed on Wednesday a G2 requesting special accommodation instead of working the road. She was off Thursday and Friday. Today, she was assigned to the yard. The Conductor had an appointment on Monday at the MAC for management to determine whether she could continue working in some capacity.

“The MTA’s treatment of pregnant workers has been horrible and indefensible,” Utano said. “It has repeatedly refused or failed to provide suitable job assignments, which is why the union filed several lawsuits against the authority last year. We are asking the courts to order the MTA to do the right thing once and for all.”

In addition to the court action, the contract Local 100 members ratified in January includes a commitment by management to seek possible solutions to this ongoing problem through a joint labor-management committee.

Union Mourns Tower Operator Milagros Perez, 50, Taken by COVID-19

Tower Operator Milagros Perez, 50, of the Bronx, passed away from the coronavirus on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. She had 11 years of service with MTA NYCT. She began her career with the City of New York working for the School Safety Division of the NYPD. But, due to her love of trains, she joined the MTA to become a Conductor on May 12, 2008. She subsequently became a Tower Operator.

Millie was an avid collector of train memorabilia. In this photo, provided by the family, she is shown in front of a mural depicting an NYCT yard. Her main priority was her family. She was a loving daughter, sister, and aunt who loved her family unconditionally. She was a very responsible employee who took pride in her job. She will be missed by her family, friends, colleagues, and extended family at City Hall Master Tower.

Tower Vice Chair Michelle Figueroa said, "Millie, as we called her, had a good heart and a kind soul. I will always remember her kindness. All of us who knew her are better for it. We will all definitely miss Milllie."

 

Congratulations, John! Mechanic Retires After 42 Years with Liberty Lines

JUNE 24 -- John Hanrahan (in yellow) retired yesterday from Liberty Lines with 42 years on the job. A luncheon was held in his honor on the property, and the company picked up the tab. Standing with Brother Hanrahan is John Cutter, Chair of Maintenance at Liberty (on John's right), Division Chair Carlos Bernabel, and, at right of the frame, longtime Division Vice Chair Tom Monaco. John -- all of your Brothers and Sisters in transit wish you a long and healthy retirement!

FUND TRANSIT and HAZARD PAY

Tell the United States Senate to fund public transportation – and give America’s pandemic heroes hazard pay.

The House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES, Act in May. The proposal would provide billions of dollars in operating assistance for transit agencies like the Metropolitan Transportation and hazard pay for the front-line and essential workers who remained on the job through the ongoing pandemic.

The Republican-controlled Senate, however, has been reluctant to move forward with more federal funding for these issues.

Contact Republican senators and tell them funding the MTA is good for America. A report released Wednesday by the good-government group Reinvent Albany shows that the MTA generated $8 billion and 100,000 jobs in states outside of New York between 2011 and 2018, including Republican strongholds like Texas, where the agency buys Dell computers, and West Virginia, where many of New York’s railroad ties are manufactured.

Tell the G.O.P. senators to fund mass transit. It is critical that it be safe, affordable and frequent if the economy is to rebound. Tell them to fund hazard pay and honor the service of the essential workers, including transit workers, who have kept America moving. How to contact senators:
https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact

 

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