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Let's Get Out the Vote! Join the Central Labor Council's Union Phonebank

With only two weeks until Election Day, the NYC CLC is conducting phone banks twice weekly to support the Labor 2020 program. Visit bit.ly/LaborVotes to sign up for shifts today! #NYCLaborVotes! Join with our Union brothers and sisters across the five boroughs to encourage other union members to vote in the upcoming election.

 

It's Almost Time for Early Voting -- Find Out How

Early voting begins in New York City on October 24 and continues through Sunday, November 1. You can get complete information about early voting here.

If you don't live within the city limits, or if you live in another state, click here for information.

 

For RTO, Social Distancing Trailers Arrive

IB ImageOCTOBE 8 -- Today, the first of a series of mobile office trailers was delivered at Astoria-Ditmars Blvd. The intention is provide additional space for crews, as Ditmars is tiny, and COVID-19 cases are going up again in parts of the city.
 
The trailer at Ditmars is being set up, and may take a few days to be ready for occupancy. Other locations slated for trailers include Middle Village-Metropolitan Ave, and Crown Heights-Utica Ave. This is all part of a union-led effort to create safer, more comfortable work environments for our members. As always, we’ll keep you posted with further updates. --- In Solidarity, Eric Loegel,RTO VP

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Focus on Safety as Union Pushes Best Practices

Your union has been pressing the MTA to accelerate the installation of the sliding-panel bus partitions, utilize higher-grade air filters on rolling stock, and increase membership testing in order to better identify workers who may have the virus but do not yet have symptoms.

All of us, meanwhile, can take steps to combat the virus. We are in this together. These are just some of the measures we can take:

Please, wear your masks. As we demand riders wear face coverings on buses and subways, we also must be diligent and mask-up in our crew rooms and break rooms.

Try to social distance when you can. Management is moving to place empty buses and trains outside facilities to create more available space. The MTA also is moving to utilized trailers and lease additional office space for this purpose.

Enroll in Direct Deposit. Thousands of members still pick-up printed paychecks. You can avoid this person-to-person contact with Direct Deposit.

Pres. Utano Welcomes Fourth Class of Apprentices

OCTOBER 6 -- TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano welcomed a new class of 20 apprenticeship candidates who have begun training for MOW jobs at the Apex Technical School in Long Island City. The class -- 15 men and 5 women -- is drawn from the ranks of Traffic Checkers, Cleaners, and Transit Property Protection Agents. Upon completion of the Apex training program, the candidates begin apprenticeship jobs in MOW titles, significantly enhancing their salaries and careers in Transit. The program is administered by Charles Jenkins, Director of the Upward Advancement Program, and coordinated by Kristle Black. Also addressing the new candidates was John V. Chiarello, Vice President, Maintenance of Way.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Drivers Affiliate with TWU Local 100

OCTOBER 2 -- Horse-drawn carriages - one of New York City’s most popular tourist attractions – are back in Central Park after a nearly 7-month absence. Carriage rides were temporarily halted in March when the state directed all non-essential businesses to close because of the pandemic.

“The drivers and horses provide so much color, and are such a familiar part of the New York City landscape, just the sight of them will bring smiles to peoples’ faces,” owner-driver Colm McKeever said. “I believe that in my heart and soul. Manhattan has seen some dark days, but this is a step towards normalcy. It will give people a little hope that we will get out of this mess.”

The 162-year-old industry in NYC features 68 licensed horse-drawn carriages. Drivers are now affiliating themselves with Transport Workers Union Local 100. The union represents 40,000 bus and subway workers at the MTA, but also has a growing number of members holding tourism-related jobs. They include bus drivers at both Big Bus Tours and New York Waterway.

“There’s no doubt that workers have a better chance defending and improving their livelihood when they are united,” Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “It’s true whether you are operating a bus, a subway train or horse-drawn carriage. We look forward to working with the carriage drivers and their beloved horses.”

Read more in today's Daily News here.

Pres. Utano salutes Brother Whichard with a fist bump after he swore him into office under the Union Constitution
Pres. Utano salutes Brother Whichard with a fist bump after he swore him into office under the Union Constitution

Executive Board Elevates Lynwood Whichard To Administrative Vice President; Also Names Robert Kelley as Stations Vice President, And Derick Echevarria as Stations Division Chair

September 29, 2020 -  The Local 100 Executive Board today elevated Stations Division Vice President Lynwood Whichard to Administrative Vice President, to fill the void left by the passing of Nelson Rivera on May 23, 2020. Whichard joins President Tony Utano, Secretary Treasurer Earl Phillips and Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp in the top four elected positions in the union. The Board then voted to elevate Stations Division Chair Robert Kelley to Vice President of Stations, and also named Derick Echevarria as Division Chair for CTA's.

Local 100 President Tony Utano said that the Board’s actions “adds a powerful new element to the union’s already strong leadership team.” He said that Brother Whichard “brings an incredible work ethic, an impressive history of community service, and powerful advocacy for transit workers to this new role.  I am proud to have him as a new partner in this vital local-wide leadership position. We face some very tough challenges in the months ahead,” said Utano.  “With Brother Whichard as Administrative Vice President and the united leadership team of Vice President Robert Kelley and Division Chair Derick Echevarria in Stations, we are better prepared to take on whatever comes our way.”

Brother Lynwood Whichard, a Station Agent, has been with NYCT since 1988.  He graduated from Boys and Girls HS and attended Boricua College in Brooklyn.  Before Transit, he worked in the printing industry as a linotype operator and graphic artist. He was been representing his co-workers for 20 years in a variety of roles, including Shop Steward, Executive Board member, Division Recording Secretary and Vice President.  He believes that the union plays a vital role in our members’ lives that goes beyond contracts and grievances.  “Our members are dealing with so much in their private lives.  It’s important for us to understand each individual’s personal challenges to properly represent them.  Overall though, we as a union must provide our members with the peace of mind that their jobs are safe and secure, and that the union always has their backs.”

Brother Whichard is a bit of a Renaissance man.  He holds a Black Belt in Aikijujitsu.  He started a non-profit community after school and Saturday program in Brooklyn, where he taught reading, writing, martial arts and life skills. In addition, he worked as a site supervisor for many years at one of America’s leading community-based organizations, the Jackie Robinson Center for Physical Culture in Brooklyn.

He has received numerous awards for his community service, including the United States Congressional Award for Outstanding Community Service.  In 1993, he was cited by the New York Times as a Positive Role Model in his community. Whichard is also active in the civil rights movement and is a strong supporter of Black Lives Matter. He and his wife of 27 years have six children.

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Local 100 Member and Air Force Veteran Kevin Hertell Taking Action to Save Lives

By Pete Donohue
TWU Local 100 Communications

Kevin Hertell likes to fix things. He spent four years repairing and servicing fighter jets as an F-16 Crew Chief with the U.S. Air Force. For the past 13 years, he’s been working on subway trains as a Car Inspector at an overhaul shop in northern Manhattan. And now the skilled mechanic is squaring up to a national problem of epic and tragic proportions: suicides by U.S. military veterans. He has started a non-profit organization, is lobbying for a new state-designated “day of remembrance,” and even designed a new flag for supporters to rally around.

“Most, if not all suicides, are preventable,” he said. “It just requires intervention and treatment. There’s no good reason why we can’t make a difference.” The stigma attached to suicide prevents many people mired in mental distress from seeking the professional help they need. That’s particularly true for those with military training who have been influenced by a “warrior culture” that celebrates physical and mental toughness. But Hertell believes that stigma can be defeated by raising awareness and fostering conversations about the often-taboo subject.

Towards that end, he came up with the idea of having a Sept. 22nd officially designated as Veteran Suicide Awareness and Remembrance Day. September is suicide prevention month. By some estimates, 22 military veterans take their own lives every day. After meeting with Hertell, state Sen. Jen Metzger introduced the necessary legislation last year. The Senate passed the bill in July. Companion legislation is pending in the state Assembly.

Read more

MTA Moving on Union Testing Demands

TWU Local 100 has been urging the MTA to adopt a COVID-19 testing and screening program to identify members who might have the virus - but are not yet experiencing symptoms. This goal appears in the TWU 10-Point Transit Plan For a Re-Opened NYC, which the union released in May.

Since then, Local 100 President Tony Utano and other union officers have stressed the importance of this issue to elected officials, the media and MTA management. Now, it appears the MTA is moving in that direction.

MTA’s Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren briefed MTA board members Wednesday on what he described as efforts to protect workers and riders from a “second wave” of the virus hitting the region. In hi comments, Warren said “we are pursuing cutting edge rapid diagnostic testing protocols to provide more effective, early screening of employees and contractors that live outside the NYC metropolitan area before they encounter our workforce and customers.  We are also seeking new, inexpensive rapid testing protocols that could further help identify individuals that have contracted the virus but are asymptomatic in order to limit their ability to expose others to the virus.”

This echoes the language in item No. 3 in TWU’s 10-Point Transit Plan. That calls for the “testing of TWU Local 100 members in large numbers (testing size to be determined by an expert) with the objective of curtailing the spread of the virus by workers who are asymptomatic.”

TWU Local 100 will be meeting with Warren and other authority executives to obtain more details and provide input on any new testing and screening tactics. “We will withhold final judgement until we receive more details, but this is a good sign,” Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “It appears that Local 100’s advocacy on this very important issue is getting results.

Warren also said the authority will increase Call Center staffing in the coming months if necessary, to stay on top of contact tracing and employee communications, which Local 100 also covered in its 10-point plan. You can read Warren's complete report to the MTA Board here.

Union Releases Final List of Scholarship Winners

Our TWU Local 100 scholarship winners were awarded earlier this year, but some winners were later found to be not qualified for various reasons. We are now releasing the final list, and you can see it here. Red strike throughs represent grants that were withdrawn. Questions can be directed to Trustee Shannon Poland at spoland@twulocal100.org

 

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