News from TWU Local 100

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.

Update: MTA Vaccination/Testing Program

A Message from TWU Local 100:
What You Should Know About the MTA’s Vaccine/Testing Program


What You Should Know

The MTA, as every other City and State Agency, is currently developing a program to deal with State and City regulations on vaccinations and testing. The MTA Says that 70 percent of its overall workforce is already vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, all you need to do is make sure the MTA knows.

Go to the MTA’s online Employee Resource Center: https://new.mta.info/covid-19/employees

When the MTA implements the program, here is what will happen:  If you are not vaccinated, you may be subject to testing as often as once a week. The MTA told the union that testing will be at work locations and on company time.

MANAGEMENT HAS NOT FINALIZED ITS TESTING PLAN.  In other words, if you are not vaccinated, you don’t have to do anything except wait, and stay informed.

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given full and final approval to the Pfizer Vaccine, and is expected to approve the other major vaccine providers products (Moderna, J&J) in the near future. Local 100 believes that you should not be forced to get the vaccine if you don’t want it.  If the State forces the MTA to reverse its current position on choice of vaccine or testing, we are prepared to go to court. Obviously, Covid must be taken seriously.  630,000 Americans have died of Covid, including more than 100 TWU Local 100 members.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT VACCINATION, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.
We will keep you informed of all updates as we get them from the MTA.

Union Wins Tier 6 Refunds

Local 100 has reached an agreement with the MTA that will result in refunds of thousands of dollars to Local 100 members. Local 100 President Tony Utano uncovered a serious error in how the MTA is calculating paycheck deductions for some Tier 6-covered transit workers who exceed the overtime cap (currently approximately $17,000 for 2021) under the Tier 6 plan.

Before turning to litigation, President Tony Utano addressed the issue in a letter to the MTA last month.  The MTA subsequently admitted their error after meeting with Utano and union counsel Denis Engel. As a result, the MTA has committed to correcting the situation as soon as possible, probably as soon as September, and to provide refunds to those who have been overcharged. They could not commit to a timeframe for refunds – but Utano made clear that any and all such refunds must be paid as soon as possible. Until the MTA completes a comprehensive review, the authority can’t state how many members will be receiving refunds.

According to the Tier 6 plan covering transit workers (Transit Operating Force 25-Year/Age 55 Retirement Plan), an employee should only be paying pension deductions based on his/her 40-hour pay rate, plus earned overtime up to the cap set by the plan in a given year.

A worker whose base rate, for example is $70,000, will pay pension deductions on that amount plus overtime up to approximately $17,000 in 2021.  Therefore, deductions should stop at $87,000 in this example for the rest of the year.  However, the MTA has been deducting contributions from certain members not yet identified on all monies earned over and above the cap, according to them, since 2015.  The MTA believes that a computer programming error is the cause of the problem.

“We will closely monitor how the MTA rectifies this situation,” said Utano.  “It will take time for them to correct it and get the overpayments back to our members caught up in this situation.  But we are determined to ensure that management complies with the statute quickly.”  

Local 100 will be providing periodic updates on this developing victory for pension justice.

50 Years Plus for Brooklyn Bus Operator

IB Image

In the Photo: President Utano and Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp with Bus Operator Cristo, Cristo’s son and daughter, and the Honor Guard.

AUGUST 11 -- It was a packed house at the Flatbush depot Wednesday as Bus Operators, managers, and union leaders all came together to honor Bus Operator Silverio Cristo for an amazing feat: 50 years on the job. And he’s not done yet.

Cristo, 81, said he has no plans of retiring. He’s going to keep doing what he’s done – quietly, humbly, and reliably – since 1971: safely get Brooklyn riders to their destinations.

Read more

WPIX Report: Why the MTA Must Bring Back the Cash

Bring Back the Cash!

AUGUST 10 — TWU Local 100’s campaign to resume cash transactions at subway booths received a big public boost Tuesday from an impressive contingent of elected officials and advocates.

State Senator Julia Salazar, Assemblymember Catalina Cruz – and eight other members of the State Legislature – demonstrated their support by holding a well-attended press conference Tuesday with Local 100 President Tony Utano, Stations Vice President Robert Kelley, and other union leaders. Advocates from the Straphangers Campaign and the Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled also came and voiced their support at the event outside the Broadway Junction subway-bus hub in Brooklyn.

Read more

New Radio Campaign Honors the Transit Workers who Responded to the Attack on America on 9/11

In a new radio spot, TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano salutes the over 3,000 transit workers who responded to the Attack on America on September 11, 2001. The campaign began on August 1 and will continue through the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

CED Mourns Prince, Car Inspector, 32

Car Equipment Department is grieving an unexpected and tragic loss of a TWU Brother Car Inspector, Bhagwant Scrichawla (Prince) who worked in the truck shop of the 207 Overhaul Shop. According to police, Prince's life tragically ended early Wednesday (7/28/2021) morning when he lost control of his car on the Long Island Expressway in Queens and struck a tree at about 4:30 am.

At the time of the accident, Prince was on his way to work, where he was highly respected and had earned for himself a solid reputation as a giving soul during his seven years of service.

Rob Ruiz, who is TWU Chairman of the 207th Street Overhaul Shop described Prince as someone who always came to work, was respectful and was always ready to help others without looking for anything in return.

Prince was only 32 years old and leaves behind a 3 year old son, loving girlfriend, parents and siblings. His funeral took place on Friday, July 30th, in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York, and many friends, co-workers, and family were there. CED VP Shirley Martin and all the officers of the Department share their deepest condolences.

 

Get Vaccinated Now -- the Delta Variant is Spreading

Last week the Director of the CDC made it plain – 97% of new COVID-19 hospitalizations are people who are unvaccinated, making COVID-19 a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

The Delta Variant is spreading and the Union recommends that everyone get vaccinated right away.

More than 65% of eligible adults in the U.S. now vaccinated -- but only 47% of our MTA Brothers and Sisters are vaccinated. More needs to be done so that we can protect ourselves and our families.

These are facts:

Vaccines are safe and effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Vaccines reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Vaccines are also effective against COVID-causing variants, which are spreading across the U.S.
 
Vaccines are free and easy to get these locations

MTA vaccination site at 130 Livingston St, Brooklyn (Wednesday and Thursday for employees and eligible family members)


Pop-up sites at Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal (daily)
New York; https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/
New Jersey: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine
Connecticut: https://portal.ct.gov/Vaccine-Portal
In your community or county – visit Vaccines.gov to find a nearby site.

You can also reach out Transit at teamvaccine@mtahq.org and they will put you in touch with an expert who can answer your questions. Here are some additional resources.

CDC Vaccine FAQs

NYS Dept of Health

NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene

MTA Employee Resource Center

 
Get vaccinated. The life you save could be your own or that of a family member. It's not only about fatalities. COVID-19 can produce long-lasting adverse effects after you recover from an infection.

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