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Rangel Calls Vision Zero Bus Op Arrests "One Big Damn Mistake"

Powerful Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel took aim at the de Blasio adminstration on Monday for making "one big damn mistake" by allowing MTA Bus Operators to be arrested under the new Vision Zero law. He visited the Mother Clara Hale depot in Harlem on 145th and Lenox along with Assemblyman Keith Wright, and City Councilwoman Inez Dickens, both of whom back amending the law so as not to subject Bus Operators to arrest. TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen has called criminalizing the work of Bus Operators an outrage, noting that the Union is supportive of Vision Zero's goal -- to make driving in New York City safer -- but is backing Intro. 663 in the City Council because the law, as currently written, mandates police to make arrests even if there is no negligence or recklessness on the part of the driver. President Samuelsen gave a shout-out to union members on WBLS radio with on-air personality Dr. Bob Lee, who also came to the depot.

WBLS's Dr. Bob Lee visits Mother Clara Hale Depot

WBLS radio personality Dr. Bob Lee gave a shout-out at TWU Local 100 at the Mother Clara Hale Depot in Harlem this morning – and interviewed President Samuelsen and Sec-Treasurer Earl Phillips about the work of our Bus Operators and the attack we’re experiencing around the Vision Zero law. Have a listen!

Lobby Day Blitzes Albany with 1,300 Union Members

TWU rank and file crowded the halls in Albany's legislative offices last Tuesday, seeking to push our transit agenda as budget negotiations come down to the wire between the two houses and the Governor. Key for TWU Local 100 is firming up an allocation of $100 million for Bus Rapid Transit, which would include two new routes from Sunset Park to JFK and East Harlem to Co-Op City. That would give faster access to 40,000 jobs for residents, including many low-income workers, as well as creating 241 brand TWU new Local 100 jobs. Another key objective was to get the Veteran's Equality Act -- the ability to buy back pension credit for veterans -- spearheaded by Local 100, into the budget.

The Union's reception for legislators brought out the most powerful men and women in the chamber, including newly-elected Speaker Carl Heastie, to talk with TWU leadership in a relaxed gathering before the official start of Lobby Day. President Samuelsen and top officers greeted members coming off dozens of buses into the Empire State Plaza concourse in what has become a Lobby Day tradition, before addressing the 1,300 assembled members in the convention center auditorium. Samuelsen made special mention of the anger transit workers feel over the unjust Vision Zero law, that has been criminalizing the lawful operation of buses. Many legislators spoke directly to this issue at the podium and assured TWU members that the law had been misinterpreted and should be corrected. TWU Local 100 Political Action Director Marvin Holland  thanked the rank and file for putting muscle behind our fight, noting the great importance of Local 100 members making the trip up to Albany to directly lobby NYS legislators.

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Fight for Justice Continues

It's been more than a year since Quill Depot Bus Operator William Pena was killed in the performance of his duties. His killer, Domonic Whilby, who has been indicted on two counts of murder (felony murder, and reckless disregard for human life), was in court again today.

The Pena family, and Local 100 members and officers, led by Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp-Sauray, attended to underscore our resolve to see justice in this case. The next court date is May 13, 2015.

Reimbursement for delayed commutation passes

The arbitrator has ruled that members with commutation passes may be reimbursed for management's delay in issuing the passes. A reimbursement claim form is now available here.


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Eyewitness News: MTA Bus Drivers Believe They Are Unfairly Targeted by Vision Zero

From Eyewitness News: Bus operators have a hard enough job, they say, but they don't believe they should be arrested if they are involved in a pedestrian accident.

MTA bus operators making turns through crosswalks have now been instructed by their union officials to follow the letter of the law and wait until a crosswalk is completely clear before proceeding.

"We are no longer going through crosswalks wherever there are pedestrians," TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said. "We will clear the crosswalk when pedestrians are on the sidewalk."


An Urgent Message to All Bus Operators from TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen

Widows & Orphans Benefit: A Fabulous Night for a Good Cause

JANUARY 29 -- The stars came out at the Gotham Ballroom in Manhattan last night -- and they were us.Together with our friends in business and labor, the transport workers of Local 100 raised tens of thousands of dollars to benefit the families of co-workers who lost their lives in recent memory in the line of duty, from Track Worker Samuel McPhaul in 2001 to Bus Operator William Pena in 2014. Attendees at  the elegant event said they couldn't recall a more accomplished and impressive TWU Local 100 benefit dinner. President John Samuelsen, keynoting the evening, said: "True religion is taking care of the widows and  orphans -- and we have accomplished it." In a moving video produced by Wilkie Cornelius from the Stations Department, the children and spouses of fallen workers praised the Union for giving them the funds to attend college and weather life's storms. Samuelsen said the fund's continued growth has led to higher payouts to families each year. The TWU Local 100 Widows & Orphans Fund is also a recognized charity that members can contribute to via paycheck deduction. Local 100 Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp-Sauray, who MC'd the event, praised the Union's Comptroller, Dalia Lamming-Tilly, for being a driving force behind the event.

Local 100 Helps Families Succeed Through Scholarships

This year, the M3 Technology/TWU Local 100 Scholarship program gave 25 children of Local 100 members $1,000 scholarships apiece to attend the colleges of their choice. Speaking to parents, sons and daughters, the union officials, TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen spoke about the expanding scholarship program, other educational offerings the union is working on, and his gratitude for the union’s ability to make all of this possible. Click here for a list of the scholarship winners.

Local 100 President John Samuelsen Issues Statement on The Assault of a C/R By an Off-Duty NYC Police Officer

I am shocked to learn that the person who assaulted one of our members, a Conductor in uniform and on duty, in the Bronx on Dec. 23, 2014 is an off-duty NYC Police Officer.  Transit workers deal with physical and verbal abuse from the public on a daily basis, but to have an off duty Police Officer engaging in this inexplicable act of violence is an outrageous breach of the public trust.

We have spoken at length with the Conductor and a second MTA worker on the scene and we are confident that they acted professionally at all times.  The officer’s version of what happened on that platform is not believable, not supported by the facts and a pure fabrication. The fact that he waited more than a week to report anything, and only did so once his picture was made public, underscores his culpability in this case.

The Police Officer who perpetrated this crime should have already been arrested.  Had the roles been reversed, our Conductor would have been arrested on the spot.  We will not allow this case to be swept under the rug.  Nobody has the right to assault a transit worker in the course of his/her duties in service to New York. Under NYS law, assaulting a Conductor who is on duty and in uniform is a felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison.  I fully expect the Bronx DA to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of that law.

Union officers are in touch with the Conductor and will continue to assist her as she recovers from this ordeal.  They will also be meeting with their counterparts at the TA to review the TA’s policies for assigning personnel to isolated station platforms.

UPDATE: The victim, identified only as a female Conductor, aged 28, spoke with Pete Donohue of the NY Daily News in an interview published January 3, 2015.

EXCLUSIVE: Subway conductor allegedly attacked by cop speaks

Train Operator Mike Conklin Sings Let It Be at NYCT's Medal of Excellence Awards

Train Operator Mike Conklin, honoring the recipients of this year’s Medal of Excellence trophies, sings The Beatles’ “Let it Be” at National Grid Auditorium in Brooklyn’s Metrotech Center.

Thirty transit employees, most of them rank and file members of TWU Local 100, were honored for acts of heroism and public service, where they went above and beyond the call of duty to help an injured, sick, or lost rider or co-worker. MOW Vice President Tony Utano represented TWU Local 100 at the annual event.

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