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Station Agent Percillia Agustine-Soverall, after her ordeal
Station Agent Percillia Agustine-Soverall, after her ordeal

Man Accused of Trying to Kill Station Agent Coming to Court Thursday

A man accused of trying to kill a station agent by setting her booth on fire will make his first court appearance on elevated criminal charges Thursday. Accused firebug Everett Robinson will be arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court at 320 Jay Street, on attempted murder, attempted arson, attempted robbery and other charges in connection with the Aug. 12th attack at the Nostrand Ave. station (No. 3 line).

He was originally charged by police with lesser charges of attempted arson and attempted assault in the second degree but prosecutors raised the stakes. The case is scheduled to go before Justice Elizabeth Foley in the ARR (Arraignment) courtroom, possibly as early as 9:30 a.m.

““We are entering a contract fight with the MTA and I will be stressing that transit workers have unique and dangerous jobs – and management needs to recognize that when it comes to raises, “TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said. Samuelsen also encouraged members and retirees to pack the courtroom Thursday to demonstrate Local 100s solidarity and to support the Station Agent victimized by Robinson.

If ultimately convicted of the most serious felony counts, Robinson could be sent to prison for a significant period of time. But it’s hardly a guarantee. Defendants in the criminal justice system regularly are offered plea deals that are coupled with slap-on-the-wrist sentences - especially in cases that unfold quietly without fanfare and public scrutiny. Station Agent Percilla Augustine-Soverall, 44, told police that she was in the booth at about 10:45 p.m. station when man, whom she later identified as Robinson, doused the aperture with a liquid that smelled like gasoline.

“He said that if I didn’t give him the money, he would light me up,” Augustine-Soverall said. Robinson then held up a shirt or rag and lit it on fire, according to the criminal complaint filed by NYPD Det. Daniel Artega. The fire apparently spread more quickly than Robinson anticipated, forcing him to drop it to the floor before he could stuff it into the booth’s opening, according to a law enforcement source. Still, the smoke from the burning cloth filled the mezzanine and booth, triggering the Halon fire-suppression system. “Everything was just cloudy in the booth,” Augustine-Soverall told the New York Daily News. “I couldn’t do anything…I just started crying. I was in shock.”

The attack was a “cowardly, evil act against a transit worker who was simply doing her job,” Samuelsen told the newspaper after the arrest. “New York is able to work because we run the subways and buses every day. But our members face countless dangers, including arson attacks, while providing this vital public service.” Police canvassing the area around the station four days later identified Robinson as a suspect and he was arrested. He was hit with a slew of charges, including attempted arson and attempted assault in the second degree. Prosecutors, however, successfully asked a Grand Jury to indict Robinson on with the new top counts of attempted murder and attempted assault in the first degree. If convicted of attempted murder, Robinson could be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years and a maximum 25 years in prison. If convicted of attempted assault, he faces a minimum 3.5 years in prison and a maximum of 15 years behind bars.

Our Next Health Fair is Friday -- at the Union Hall

Our next Health and Wellness Fair -- sponsored by NYCT and TWU Local 100 -- takes place this Friday from 9AM to 3PM at the Union Hall in downtown Brooklyn. There will be health awareness seminars, nutrition and exercises classes every half hour, and screenings on blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and oral cancer. There will also be vision testing, and we'll have reps to answer your health questions. All testing is confidential. And, there will be free food and drinks for all members. See you on Friday! Click here for our flyer!

GCS members, joined by Pres. Samuelsen, made their case before the MTA Board
GCS members, joined by Pres. Samuelsen, made their case before the MTA Board

MTA Call Center Contract Grants Major Raises and Job Security

The approximately 730 underpaid, disrespected and overwhelmingly minority women workforce at the MTA Access-A-Ride call center will have their quality of life dramatically improved with a contract negotiated by TWU Local 100. Under the agreement they will get whopping percentage wage increases - and job security. TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen and Global Contact Services signed the contract in mid-August. It expires March 31, 2020. A ratification vote is expected in September.

“This TWU workforce in Queens took on an anti-worker, anti-union contractor from the "right to work" South and won a major victory,” Samuelsen said. “It was a long and hard fight that lasted two years for these workers. But we stayed united, fought hard together against a nasty, aggressive employer and emerged with significant, positive changes that advance hundreds of working families.”

Recently hired call center workers will see their pay rise from $9 an hour to $15 an hour – up 70% - with periodic increases between ratification and December 2018. More experienced workers now making $11 an hour will see their pay rise to $15.40 – up 40% - with this agreement. Perhaps more importantly, the contract with GCS, which is a private company hired by the MTA to operate the Queens facility, also brings workers the ability to challenge disciplinary actions by management. Union officers can take cases to an independent arbitrator when a worker is being mistreated.

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Clarence Little, Retired Executive Board Member, Passes

TWU Local 100 mourned the passing August 9, 2016 of retired Executive Board member and RTO ‘A’ Division officer Clarence Little, one of the early members of the New Directions Caucus that brought a new generation of leadership to Local 100. He died of cardiac arrest, and had been battling serious health issues including diabetes and kidney disease. He was only 58.

Retired Local 100 Recording Secretary Noel Acevedo, a close friend, said “Clarence was a person of high ethical standards. He was a very principled man.” Brother Little started as a Car Cleaner in 1985 and later gained a promotion to Train Operator.

Arrangements are as follows:

Viewing will be held:

Saturday, August 13, 2016
10:00am – 12:00pm
St. Josephs of the Holy Family R.C. Church
405 W. 125th Street (Corner of Morningside Avenue)
New York, NY 10027
(212) 662-9125
(directions via Google Maps)

Funeral to follow:

Saturday, August 13, 2016
Mass 12:00pm

We Honor Union Officers Who Passed Away in Service to Local 100

Unveiling Officers Plaque at 195 Montague


JULY 29 -- TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen and our Executive Board honored the memory of union officers who passed away while in active service to the membership by dedicating a plaque in their honor at Transport Hall. The plaque holds five names today, and as President Samuelsen expressed in the video marking the unveiling, we hope not to see more names added. The unveiling of the plaque, which hangs in our 3rd Floor lobby, took place after a meeting of the Executive Board.

Arrangements for CTA Harold Richardson, 47

Co-workers were stunned by the passing early Monday morning of CTA Section Vice Chair and Shop Steward Harold Richardson, a 15-year transit veteran who suffered a stroke in March. He was being cared for at hospice and had been in a coma for some time. CTA Division Vice Chair Antonio Roldan, Jr., who knew him well, said: “What he brought to his co-workers is immeasurable. He was a great person and a caring friend. He gave 100% in this union and to our department. He always spoke his mind no matter what.”

Stations VP Derrick Echevarria said “he was a hard worker and he will be greatly missed. He cared deeply about his union and the people he worked with.”

Local 100 Director of Education Nick Bedell, who guided him through Shop Steward training, recalled that “when Harold spoke up you couldn’t miss his deep baritone. I remember his flowing dreads and the multitudes of buttons next to his transit pass. He was an active Steward who was very good at motivating others to join the union cause.”

Brother Richardson leaves his daughter, Cassandra, 14 (pictured), and his wife, Michelle, also a CTA.

The arrangements are as follows:There will be a viewing on Wednesday, July 20, from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. at the Frank R. Bell Funeral Home, Inc.  at 536 Sterling Place (Corner of Classon Avenue, Brooklyn (11238). The funeral will follow at Rosedale Memorial Park, at 355 East Linden Avenue in Linden, New Jersey.

TWU Mourns Hugh "Scotty" O'Donnell, Bus Operator

TWU Local 100 mourns the passing of Hugh "Scotty" O'Donnell, at North Shore LIJ Hospital on July 2. Scotty was an MTA employee from 1969 to 1989, first as a Bus Operator and later as a Dispatcher.  He had many friends at Fifth Ave., Flatbush, and Ulmer Park Depots in Brooklyn.  He was also a proud and active TWU and SSSA member.  Arrangements are as follows:

Visitation will be held at the McManus Funeral Home, 4601 Avenue N in Brooklyn on Wednesday, July 6.  The funeral will be held on Thursday, July 7, at Mary Queen of Heaven Church at 1395 East 56th Street, also in Brooklyn.

LE/S Member Troy “Butch” Lee is Mourned

TWU Local 100 mourns the unexpected passing on June 12,2016 of Lighting Maintainer Troy S. “Butch” Lee. He was only 53 years of age.

LE/S Chair John Chiarello expressed his condolences to Brother Lee’s family.  “Everyone in LE/S who knew and worked with Butch are shocked and saddened at his death.  He was a nice guy, a hard worker and a good union Brother.  We are all diminished by his passing,” he said.

Brother Lee was born in Georgetown, Guyana before coming to the U.S. and finding a job and career at New York City Transit. He is survived by his parents, Jean and Philip Lee, and brothers Pearl Lee-Rodgers and Philip R. Lee, Jr.  

Arrangements are as follows: Viewing will take place at the Riewerts Memorial Home, 187 S Washington Avenue, Bergenfield, NJ on Thursday, June 16, 2016 and Friday June 17, 2016 from 6:00 P.M. to closing. There will be a Funeral Service at the same location on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at 11:00 A.M.

Subways' 'Most Vulnerable' Seek Assembly's Help


Subway cleaners like Myra Toombs may be the most vulnerable transit workers in the system. Cleaners are out in the open while station agents and train crews at least have the protection of a locked booth or train cab. A growing number of bus operators have partitions shielding them from the loons and goons, a security measure provided to thousands of bus operators after one was stabbed to death. But cleaners don’t have radios – or even the law on their side – despite the risks. 

“We don’t have anything,” Toombs, 56, said. “We’re just cleaners with our cleaning supplies. It’s very fearful. People are crazy out there.”

It was just after midnight in September 2015 when crazy walked into the Bay Ridge Ave. station on the R line.  Cleaner Marisol Delgado was getting supplies from a utility room when she heard “hollering and screaming” near the turnstiles. “It was a lady and she was fighting with her boyfriend,” Delgado said. “She wanted him to jump the turnstile because she didn’t have enough money to pay his fare. So, I told her to ‘just go, don’t argue with him.’ I was being nice.” The woman responded with curses. After the screaming match continued for another 10 minutes, Delgado finally told the token booth clerk to alert the rail control center. The woman responded with a haymaker.

“I turned back, heading to the room with the cleaning supplies, and she punched me in the forehead,” Delgado said. “I fell. She was ready to hit me again. I ran, dragging myself into the room.”

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Charles Edwards
Charles Edwards

TWU Mourns Ret. Bus Operator Charles Edwards

TWU Local 100 mourns the passing of Retired Bus Operator Charles E. Edwards, of the Michael J. Quill Depot. There will be a viewing on Friday, May 28th, at the Concord Baptist Church of Christ, at 833 Gardner C. Taylor Blvd. (former Marcy Ave) in Brooklyn, from 9 AM to 10 AM. His funeral will follow directly after the viewing.


Link to survey.

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