News from TWU Local 100

Union Officials including Pres. Utano tour a company in Yonkers that is assembling partitions
Union Officials including Pres. Utano tour a company in Yonkers that is assembling partitions

Partitions Coming to Bee-Line Buses

JUNE 9 -- All Bee-Line buses in Westchester County will be outfitted with partitions to protect Bus Operators from coronavirus and rider assaults, TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano announced today. The Westchester County government has agreed to pay approximately $1.5 million to retrofit 234 local and express buses that don’t have safety barriers, Utano said. Bee-Line is expected to pick a company to do the work in the coming days with the goal of having the fleet retrofitted in about two months, a company official said.

“This is win for Local 100 and our Bus Operators in Westchester,” Utano, who inspected a prototype in Yonkers today, said. “This is a huge safety improvement.” Local 100 has been seeking safety partitions for Bee-Line Operators for approximately six years to shield Operators from assaults, including spitting, Carlos Bernabel, Chairman of the Local 100 Private Operations Division, said. The company and the county government, however, didn’t want to spend the money. The arrival of COVID-19 made the union’s case stronger, Bernabel said.

“It was hard to get them but we got them,” Bernabel said. “It took six years, but we got them.” Utano cited Local 100’s support for County Executive George Latimer and Sen. Shelley Mayer during their 2018 elections as proof that engagement in politics is beneficial. Both have been supportive of Local 100 causes, including partitions, Utano said.

The Bee-Line has about 80 articulated buses that came from the manufacturer about 18 months ago with safety partitions.
IB ImageIn photo, veteran officer Tom Monaco inspects a partition.

At Barclays Center, Our Bus Operator Refuses to Drive Arrestees to be Booked
At Barclays Center, Our Bus Operator Refuses to Drive Arrestees to be Booked

Local 100 President Tony Utano Says: 'We Stand With the Floyd Family'

The death of Eric Garner, caused by a police chokehold in July 2014, hit home in the hardest of fashions for our union.  His sister was, and is, a Bus Operator in Brooklyn; his mother a retired Train Operator and his aunt, a Station Agent.  The TWU family rallied around the Garner family as only a union can do, especially a union like ours, which was built on a cornerstone of equality in the workplace and in society at large, and which played such an active role in the Civil Rights movement.

Here we are again with George Floyd – with many stops in between – murdered by a violent criminal cop.  Here for the world to see was an innocent man losing his life with a knee on his neck, that Rev. Al Sharpton so eloquently used as a metaphor for the state of race in America at the Church service for George Floyd this past Thursday.

First and foremost, we stand with the Floyd family just as we stood with the Garner family. There must be sweeping change on how African Americans are treated by police and the criminal justice system.  We have never equivocated on such issues regarding racial justice, and we never will.

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Flatbush Bus Operator Lawrence Nieuenkirk Dies of Coronavirus

Flatbush Depot is mourning the death of another union Brother to the Coronavirus.  Bus Operator Lawrence Nieuenkirk passed away June 4, 2020 at Mt. Sinai Hospital.  He had nearly 20 years on the job, and is the fourth Local 100 member from Flatbush to succumb to the disease.

Depot Chair Richard Thorn said that Brother Nieuenkirk began feeling sick in late April and tested positive for the virus.  He was admitted to the hospital shortly thereafter.

“He was a good friend,” said Thorn.  “He was a wonderful person and fun to be around.  He made everyone laugh.  He lifted the mood of everyone when he walked into the room.”

Thorn said that Brother Nieuenkirk tried to take care of himself.  “He used to jog, but more recently he began riding a bike.  It is a shame.  We are all praying for his family.  May he Rest in Peace.”
Lawrence was born in Guyana, and leaves two grieving daughters.
 

Joseph Iovino, Retired Chair of White Plains Bus, Has Died

Local 100’s School Bus Division Officers and Members are mourning the death to natural causes of former White Plains Bus Section Chair Joe Iovino. He was 87, and according to the family, passed away peacefully at his home in Wappingers Falls, NY.

Joe was born on June 11, 1932 in New York City to the late Lena and Peter Iovino.  He served his country as a First Sergeant in the U.S. Army, 7th Infantry Division and fought in the Korean War from 1951-1953.

Joe worked for many years as a School Bus Driver for White Plains Bus, and served as the elected Section Chair there for 13 years, from 1997 to 2010. Local 100 President Tony Utano said: “Joe led a life of service, first to his country in the Korean War, then as a School Bus Driver in his community, and then once again for his brothers and sisters as the long time elected chair at White Plains Bus.  He was respected throughout TWU, and he will be sorely missed.  May he Rest in Peace.”

He is survived by his wife of 34 years Nikki, sons Peter of Henderson, NV, Joseph Jr. of Elmwood Park, NJ and Christopher of the Bronx, a sister, Connie of Woodbury, NY, six grandchildren and one great grandchild. 

SMB Franchette Woodley Dies of the Virus

Structure Division is mourning the death to the Coronavirus of Franchette E. Woodley, a Structure Maintainer B.  He had nearly 21 years on the job, working nights out of West 4th Street.  He is the third SMB to die of the virus, and the second from the West 4th night crew. He was 64 years old.  Structure has also lost its elected Vice Chair Hesronni Cayenne, who worked nights out of Bergen Street.

Brother Woodley was born on August 6, 1955 in Nevis, the smaller of two Islands that make up the nation of St. Kitts in the Caribbean.  He joined transit on July 21, 1999.

Division Chair Richard Rocco said, “Brother Woodley’s passing is yet another gut punch to Structure Division.  We are all praying for his family.  May he Rest in Peace.”

RTO Mourns Conductor Nevie Lacayo, 41, Dies from the Virus

Family, friends, and Union brothers and sisters are mourning Conductor Nevie Lacayo, who passed away on May 25th from the coronavirus. Brother Lacayo worked the F line on midnights, and had 17 years with New York City Transit.

Brother Lacayo was a devoted fan of the Real Madrid football club, and friends in Pena Madridista, a New York based group of fans, sadly noted his passing on their Facebook page. “It is a sad day,” they wrote. “Rest in peace, Nevie. Thank you for all the happiness that you brought us. We will always love you.”


On Instagram early this year, Brother Lacayo gave a shout-out to his family and co-workers in Spanish. Here is a translation: “Thank you God for every day you give me the strength to get up and go to work. Thank you to my wife Marita for being my other half, for supporting me and for taking care of our children every night, to my mother and sister who never gave up on me. Much love to everyone I have met or worked with these past 17 years.”

You can see Brother Lacaya’s instagram here. In the immediate family Nevie leaves his mother, Ligia, his sister, Jessica, his wife, Marita, and his children to mourn.

Tim Schermerhorn, Retired RTO VP, Needs Our Help

Retired RTO Vice President and venerable Local 100 activist Tim Schermerhorn spent his entire union career fighting for the rights of TWU members.  Now Tim needs our help. Tim’s medical situation is desperate.  He is in stage 5 renal failure and needs a kidney very soon or he will die.

The family has produced this website:  https://www.timmyneedsakidney.org in hopes of finding an acceptable donor.  It includes Tim’s great history as an activist for Local 100 and social justice causes.  Please visit the site and circulate widely on your social media pages.

TUF: Enrollment Open for our Free Summer Courses

The TWU Local 100 / MTA Training and Upgrading Fund has released our schedule of summer virtual online courses in Math and English, Electrical, Plumbing, Schematics, Social Media, Computer Skills, Mandarin, Spanish, and even a course in how to navigate the BSC! Come on board and check out the offerings here.

Gov. Cuomo Signs Covid-19 Death Benefit Bill

TWU-supported legislation granting new accidental death benefits to public workers who died after contracting COVID-19 was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo today.

The pension legislation enables a beneficiary to receive half-salary payments for life. That could be much more advantageous than the other applicable option in New York State pension law: up to three years’ pay in one lump sum. Both options are in addition to the $500,000 per transit family that Local 100 secured in negotiations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last month.

“Nothing will replace the lives of our union brothers and sisters who perished,” Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “No piece of legislation will fill the void in our hearts. But we can ensure the families of our fallen heroes are on solid financial ground. This bill goes a long way towards that goal.”

Utano thanked Assemblyman Peter Abbate and Sen. Andrew Gounardes for introducing the accidental death benefit legislation in the state Assembly and Senate. Local 100 will be providing updates in the coming days on how the new benefits will be distributed.

Funeral Arrangements for our Brother, Adm. VP Nelson Rivera

It is with deep sadness that we announce the funeral arrangements for Administrative Vice President Nelson Rivera. Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, the viewing will be limited to the Rivera family and the union will process in a motorcade at the site of the funeral home. The private viewings take place on Thursday, June 4, and Friday, June 5. The procession takes place on June 4. Please see below for full details and guidelines for the event. 

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