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International President Samuelsen Interviewed on Good Day NY

John Samuelsen, International President of the Transport Workers Union, praised Local 100 members transporting soldiers fighting the war against the Coronavirus – nurses, EMS workers and other healthcare professionals – to the front. But he criticized the MTA for belatedly providing masks to transit workers and only after being compelled to do so by the union.

“Our people are the most dedicated workforce you can ever imagine,” Samuelsen, a former Local 100 President, said Monday on the Good Day New York news television program. “We recognize that we are the front-line transportation network that is really transporting the soldiers fighting this war against COVID-19. But we’re not going to be used as cannon fodder. We don’t want to be used recklessly. Unfortunately, I think the fatalities that you are seeing, and the amount of infections you are seeing among transit workers, could have been mitigated against if the PPE came a lot earlier than it did.”

Local 100 President Tony Utano thanked Samuelsen for securing tens of thousands of masks for transit workers to supplement those the MTA began distributing Sunday. Utano, Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips, TWU International staff Rep. Angelo Cucuzza and Samuelsen helped transport those union-obtained masks, along with thousands of others donated by Councilman Justin Brannan, to Local 100 Vice Presidents and Chairs Monday morning.

Three More Transit Workers Succumb to Virus

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Tragically, three more Brother and Sister transit workers have died of the Coronavirus plague.  Overnight, we learned that Brother Ernesto Hernandez, 58, a Bus Operator out of Jackie Gleason Depot; Warren Tucker, an MTA Bus Maintainer, and Caridad Santiago, a Station Cleaner, died of the disease.
Brother Hernandez had 15 years on the job, while Brother Tucker, known as “Big Tuck” by his co-workers, was a 5-year veteran at the Central Mainteanance Facility in East New York.  Sister Santiago had 13 years on the job, most recently as a night extra in the Bronx.

Local 100 President Tony Utano said that these latest deaths are “another gut punch to our union.  I implore everyone to keep these heroic co-workers and their families in our prayers.”
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Additional Masks Coming to Division VP's and Chairs from TWU International

MARCH 30 -- Thanks to our International Union’s leadership, tens of thousands of additional masks are being provided to Local 100 Division Vice Presidents and Chairs across the union as an emergency backup to those distributed by the MTA.

Local 100 President Tony Utano, Secretary Treasurer Earl Phillips and MOW Vice President John Chiarello met with International President Samuelsen and International Representative Angelo Cucuzza this morning and  picked up the hard-to-come-by masks at the International Union’s satellite office in Brooklyn.  Distribution to the Divisions began immediately.

“We’re very grateful to our International Union and especially to International President John Samuelsen for securing these masks for Local 100 members and other TWU Locals in the metropolitan area,” said Local 100 President Utano. “John, as our former Local 100 President and Trackworker, really came through for us and all TWU members in the tri-state area.  This is true teamwork, and demonstrates once again that we are all in this fight together.”

Utano said that by the end of the day, all available masks would be in the hands of the responsible Division officers. “These masks will be a Godsend in supplementing the MTA’s weekly distributions.”   

TWU Mourns Track Worker Scott Elijah, 3rd to Die from Coronavirus

MARCH 29 -- With the heaviest of hearts, TWU Local 100 is announcing that beloved Track Worker Scott Elijah died as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Scott, who joined NYC Transit 15 years ago, worked for the Combined Action/Emergency Response unit (CAT/ERT) out of Parsons/Archer in Queens. Scott also was Pastor of the Bethany AME Church in Yonkers.

“This is just horrible news,” Local 100 Track Division Chairman Carlos Albert said. “He was a great man. A family man. A strong union brother. The entire Track Division is in mourning.”

TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano extended his deepest condolences to Scott’s family on behalf of the entire membership. “To lose a third union Brother in four days to this menace of a virus is heartbreak on top of heartbreak,” Utano said. “I wish I had the words to say to bring comfort to Brother Elijah’s family, his friends and co-workers in Track. But I don’t. I can only wish that the support our union will bring to his family now and into the future will bring them strength in their moment of grief.”

Railway Age Updates National Audience on COVID-19 Actions, Tragic Subway Fire

In a story that you can read here, Railway Age Magazine profiles the work of TWU Local 100 in securing masks for transit workers, along with the tragic subway fire that claimed the life of Train Operator Garrett Goble and the coronavirus deaths of two other union members.

"Utano’s public tongue lashing of MTA leadership appears to have worked. In a joint MTA/TWU Local 100 press release announcing the acquisition of 75,000 masks, Utano took a more conciliatory tone. “We’ve been working very hard to try and secure masks for transit workers during what has been widely reported as a global shortage of supplies,” Utano said. “This has been a very traumatic time for my members, and I hope these masks will give them some peace of mind as they continue providing essential bus and subway service to New York, especially for our nurses, EMS personnel, firefighters and police.”

Local 100 Mourns the Line of Duty Death of Train Operator Garrett Goble; $52,500 Reward Offered

TWU Local 100 on Twitter

Pres Utano addresses the media at 111 & Malcolm X on the tragic death of Train Operator Garrett Goble in a fire on the 2 Train @NYSAFLCIO @CentralLaborNYC @transportworker @AFLCIO @TTDAFLCIO

TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano issued the following statement regarding the tragic death of a Train Operator Garrett Goble this morning:

“This is a terrible tragedy for this young Train Operator, his family, and for the entire transit workforce. A young man serving the public during a national crisis was killed at just 36 years of age. For this to happen, after we lost two of our union brothers to the Coronavirus, is hard to comprehend. Our Conductor acted heroically to move passengers to the platform out of danger, and deserves our deepest thanks and support for his bravery. This incident once again points out many life-threatening dangers that await transit workers across the city when the go to their jobs every day, 24 hours a day. This is a sad day for our entire City. We’re devastated.”

Eric Loegel, the Local 100 Vice President representing Train Operators and Conductors, said:

“This is an unspeakable tragedy. I’m in stunned disbelief. The Train Operator was my age and had about the same number of years on the job. It’s a nightmare. My deepest condolences to his family and friends during this extremely sad time. The train conductor is a real hero. Safely evacuating people from the burning train— he did an incredible job and deserves our honor and praise.”

President Utano is sending this message to the approximately 40,000 bus and subway workers in TWU Local 100:

“These may be the darkest days that TWU Local 100 has gone through. We’ve been some tough times together. We’ve had more than our share of tragedies. This is different. We can’t grieve together. We can’t mourn together, at least not physically, as we have done in the past. But we remain a family. We are united by our history and our public service. We are members of TWU Local 100 – that mighty, mighty union. Call each other. Console each other. Help each other any way that you can. We can weather any storm. Stay strong.”

A $52,500 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspected arsonist who started the blaze.

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Union Mourns Second Coronavirus Death

MARCH 26 -- We have lost a second union brother to the Coronavirus.  MaBSTOA Bus Operator Oliver Cyrus out of the Manhattanville Depot passed away today.  Local 100 Vice President Richard Davis, who has known Brother Cyrus for most of his 21 years on the job, said he was “a quiet, humble man.  He was well liked by all his co-workers.  The workers at Manhattanville are all very upset.  There's a somber mood at the depot.”

Brother Cyrus was born in Guyana and lived in Brooklyn. He was 61.

Brother Peter Petrassi, a 49-year old Conductor for 21 years, passed away earlier today from the Coronavirus.

TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said that this second death in one day “is such a terrible and incredibly sad loss.  My heart goes out to Brother Cyrus’ family and all his co-workers at Manhattanville Depot. Transit workers, Police, Firefighters, EMS and health care workers and other essential public employees have put themselves into harm's way for the greater good of our City and our society. They are true heroes."


Statement of President Tony Utano on the line of duty death of Conductor Peter Petrassi

TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano issued the following statement:

"The death due to the Coronavirus of our brother, Peter Petrassi, is a terrible tragedy. TWU Local 100 feels this loss and mourns with his family. Conductor Petrassi’s passing is a line-of-duty death just as if he had been killed on the job in any number of ways that have struck down transit workers in years past. Transit workers are saddened. The MTA must NOW provide masks to frontline transit workers. Otherwise, the moment is rapidly approaching where bus and subway workers will do what is necessary to protect themselves and their families. Dedication and duty does not mean using transit workers as cannon fodder."

Utano on Crowding: MTA Must Do a Better Job

TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano issued the following statement regarding crowding in crewrooms, telling the media that “the MTA has to do a better job of managing this situation.”


“Society is at war with this virus and transit workers are doing their part getting medical staff and first responders to their jobs,” Utano said. “But it’s also critically important that workers get as much protection as possible.”


He thanked Local 100 officers for their hard work getting supervision to address problems that members are bringing to their attention. Read the full article here. 

          Here is President Utano's full quote:  They talk about social distancing but this is a work environment. My members are having a tough time keeping proper distances from each other because some crew rooms and reporting locations just aren’t big enough. These were never luxury accommodations to begin with. Management is trying different things, and the reduced service schedule should provide some relief, but the MTA has to do a better job managing this situation. Society is at war with this virus and transit workers are doing their part getting medical staff and first responders to their jobs. But it’s also critically important that workers get as much protection as possible. Our officers are in constant contact with the membership, and dealing with management to resolve the issues that members are experiencing. Some of these situations have to be corrected immediately. It’s unacceptable.

CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo Gives On-air Shout-Out to Transit Workers on March 24

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