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TWU LOCAL 100 CORONAVIRUS UPDATE & FACT SHEET FOR TRANSIT WORKERS

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020 --

MTA workforce. The MTA is not aware of any NYC Transit worker testing positive for the virus. Some workers were voluntarily quarantined as a precaution because they had recently traveled to China where the virus originated. It was ultimately concluded those who were quarantined did not have the virus.

 

Kronos Suspension. At the union’s insistence, the MTA is in the process of shutting down and suspending use of the Kronos fingerscan system. Local 100 members do not have to touch these devices. Continue to swipe your pass.

 

Ramped up cleaning. The MTA has committed to cleaning and disinfecting worker facilities and areas more frequently, including crew rooms, Train Operator and Conductor cabs, lunchrooms, Bus Operator compartments, and bathrooms. The MTA also pledged to provide hand sanitizer at work locations, including station booths. 

 

Masks and Gloves You can wear a mask for your safety or comfort. It’s your choice. A supervisor can’t order you to take a mask off.  Gloves also are permitted.

 

Inform the MTA of Travel Plans. The MTA is directing workers to inform their supervisor/manager of any domestic and international travel plans because some have higher exposure risks. 

 

Protect yourself/Prevent the spread. 

Experts recommend several actions that could help you stay healthy and prevent the virus from spreading:

* Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

* Use alcohol based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.

* If you have flu-like symptoms, remain at home and contact your doctor. 

Keep your distance when possible. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

 

Important sources of information:

 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC): www.cdc.gov

N.Y. State Department of Health website: www.health.ny.gov

The DOH Coronavirus Hotline (1-888-364-3065).  New Yorkers with questions about the virus can speak with public health experts in their preferred language.

NYC Health Department: www1.nyc.gov

 

The MTA has an MTA COVID-19 Update Center on the Intranet. This is where the MTA posts internal memos from transit executives to workers and supervisors. These include the MTA’s policies and procedures, which can change and be updated.

MTA to Suspend Use of Kronos Fingerscan System

March 9, 2020 -- The MTA will suspend use of the Kronos fingerscan system during the coronavirus crisis – a worker protection measure that TWU Local 100 had been pressing the authority to adopt, officials said Monday afternoon. Local 100 President Tony Utano and other Local leaders were informed of the decision by NYC Transit Labor Relations Vice President Kim Ward during a meeting at MTA headquarters. Ward said it would take a few days to carry out an orderly, systemwide shutdown. Once completed, workers will continue to swipe their passes but won’t have to touch the scanners.

The MTA decision came days after Local 100 demanded Kronos be shelved to combat the spread of the new illness. At the insistence of TWU Local 100, the MTA also announced Monday that workers will be allowed to wear masks on the job. “We will continue to look out for the interests of our members,” Utano said. “We will continue to monitor the situation very closely and provide the members with regular updates.”

If any work location does not have disinfectant wipes while the Kronos fingerscan system is still active, Local 100 members should not use it, Utano said. They should just swipe their pass. Utano was joined at the meeting by Financial Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips, Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp, Vice Presidents John Chiarello, Eric Loegel, Richie Davis, Shirley Martin, J.P. Patafio, Pete Rosconi and Lynwood Whichard. Also in attendance were the Presidents of the three ATU Unions who represent MTA employees at various locations and staff.

Some Vice Presidents complained to MTA brass that some locations do not have hand sanitizer and there has not been a noticeable increase in cleaning at some worker facilities. Transit officials said they continue to ramp up the cleaning of worker facilities and work areas, and they expect a big shipment of sanitizer in the coming days.

Workers with a virus-related health concern that could affect their attendance should call their supervisor who will put them in touch with MTA medical and human resources staff. The MTA is talking about establishing a coronavirus hotline for employees.

MTA About-Face on Wearing Masks

March 9, 2020 --  The MTA has agreed to Local 100’s demand that transit workers be allowed to wear masks during the coronavirus crisis. The MTA issued a memo stating the about-face on Sunday, March 8.

“We said from the beginning that transit workers have the right to wear masks for their safety or comfort, and now the MTA agrees,” Utano said. “We’re glad they listened and we will continue pressing other issues, including our objection to the continued use of the Kronos system.”

The authority initially told workers in statements to the press and bulletins that they were not allowed to wear masks. MTA Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren cited “medical guidance” indicating they weren’t effective, and pointed out they aren’t part of the official TA uniform.

As reported by CNN, Local 100’s elected leadership protested management’s position throughout last week in correspondence and meetings about the health crisis. The two sides held a meeting Thursday, March 5th during which Local 100 pressed for more frequent and regular cleaning of worker facilities, Train Operator and Conductor cabs, Bus Operator compartments and other locations. Another meeting is scheduled for this afternoon, Monday, March 9th.

Union Celebrates Women in Transit

Transport Workers Local 100, representing 46,000 transit workers in New York City and environs, is proud to celebrate our women. Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp presents this video on the occasion of International Women's Day. Enjoy this showcase of women in the job in America's largest transit system.

Union's Statement on the Wearing of Surgical Masks by Transit Workers

MARCH 6 -- Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano issued the following statement about the coronavirus and the MTA response.
 
“The MTA has taken the ridiculous and indefensible position that transit workers can’t wear surgical masks on the job during this coronavirus crisis. Attempting to justify the prohibition, MTA Chief Safety Officer Pat Warren said “medical guidance indicates” masks are not effective and are “not part of the authorized uniform.” Our position – better safe than sorry and we don’t give a damn about dress codes in a medical emergency. As we have said from the beginning, transit workers who want to wear surgical/dust masks for their own peace of mind and safety have that right. Period. We will be meeting with MTA again on Thursday to discuss this and other issues related to the coronavirus.”

Welcome to Women's History Month

It's March -- and Welcome to Women's History Month. At TWU Local 100, we honor the legacy and career of transit women.
 
 On Friday, March 13th, I will address a union panel on "Valiant Union Women of the Vote," at District Council 37, 125 Barclay Street, in lower Manhattan. The event, that showcases women who are committed to gender and ethnic equality in our unions, politics, and communities, begins at 6:00 pm and ends at 8:00 pm. Refreshments will be served.

This month, we specifically honor the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others. International Women's Day takes place on Sunday, March 8th. Please join us as we celebrate women in transit and resolve to continue the fight for recognition and equality.

LaTonya Crisp
Recording Secretary, TWU Local 100

Video: Our Joyful Black History Celebration at the Union Hall

Our celebration took place on February 27th at the Union Hall.

Join us on March 16th for Quill Connolly Day

Join your Brothers and Sisters at Transport Hall as we celebrate the life and history of our Founder, Mike Quill, and his inspiration, Irish labor leader, patriot, and martyr James Connolly, who founded the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Joining us as special guests will be New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy; TWU International President John Samuelsen; Assistant General Secretary of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union (RMT) Steve Hedley (Britain's largest transit union); General Secretary of SIPTU (Ireland's largest industrial union) Joe O'Flynn; and TD (elected representative) of Sinn Fein (Representing Waterford, Ireland) David Cullinane. Entertainment will be provided by the Niall O'Leary Dancers and by singer Mary Courtney. In addition, traditional Irish fare will be served! Download the flyer here to secure your reservation.

Train Operator Reinaldo Lopez and his wife.
Train Operator Reinaldo Lopez and his wife.

Union Wins Fight as NYCT Reverses Stance on Tragic Birth

FEBRUARY 27 -- CBS News is reporting that New York City Transit, which initially denied contractual two weeks' paternity leave for Train Operator Reinaldo Lopez after his son was stillborn, has reversed course after the union intervened. See the story here.

Here's the video transcript:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A devastated Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker says the agency denied him paternity leave after his partner had a stillbirth. The union fought on his behalf for a month, and on Wednesday afternoon the agency announced a change.

They have already disassembled the crib, but still have not made the time to properly let go of their stillborn son’s ashes. Elyse Ortiz had a stillbirth on Feb. 2, eight months into her pregnancy. She is on maternity leave from a private sector job, but her domestic partner, train operator Reinaldo Lopez, said the MTA told him, “You get three days bereavement and we’ll take it from there.” “One of those days was spent with me in the hospital all day,” Ortiz told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.

Lopez contacted Transport Workers Union Local 100. The union contract reads “upon the birth of a child” a worker is “entitled to two weeks fully paid maternity/paternity leave.” “They told him that because the baby was dead he wasn’t entitled to paternal leave,” Ortiz said. TWU rep Eric Loegel said MTA Labor Relations told him the time was meant for bonding with a baby. Attorney Rania Sedhom has represented employers and explained. “While the law doesn’t discuss stillborn babies … but sometimes you do have to make exceptions for horrible scenarios,” Sedhom said.

In this case, the union helped reorganize Lopez’s vacation and sick time to get him two weeks off, but still pleaded with the MTA to reconsider. “It’s hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever been through,” Lopez said. “If your mind is not in the right place, you know, you shouldn’t be operating a train.” Former MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow told CBS2 he even called current chairman Pat Foye.

“Have a heart for a couple weeks. What’s the difference? It was cruel and he’s not a cruel guy,” Kalikow said. On Wednesday afternoon, Foye said the MTA changed course. “He’s going to get parental leave. I think everybody on our side was moved by our colleague’s situation,” Foye said.

Moving forward, the MTA said others in this unfortunate situation will get the same benefit. The union said it’s meeting with the MTA in the next few months to also incorporate the state’s paid family leave law into its contract.

Tuskegee Airmen Honored at Namesake Depot

FEBRUARY 17, 2020 – The Tuskegee Airmen – a now legendary group of African-American pilots who served in WWII with the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group and then became TWU Local 100 members after joining NYCT, were honored in a ceremony at the Bus Depot named for them in Harlem.
The ceremony was set up by the NYC Transit Veterans Employee Resource Group.

Also on hand were TWU Local 100 Veterans Committee Vice Chair Ron Gregory and Recording Secretary Joe DiPaola. The Black History Month event also featured former Congressman Charlie Rangel, whose good friend and former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton was one of the Airmen. Formerly known as the 100th Street Bus Depot, the facility was renamed the Tuskegee Airmen Bus Depot in 2012.

Here are the Airmen who subsequently worked for transit:
Reginald T. Brewster – Joined the NYCBOT as a clerk in 1948 while attending law school.
Victor A. Collymore – Worked for NYCBOT from 1947 to 1952.
Conrad A. DeSandies – Worked for NYC Transit in 1959 as a maintainer’s helper.
Harry R. Dickenson – Worked for NYC Transit from 1984 to 1989 as deputy chief engineer.
John R. Freeman – Retired as a manager, Operating Authority (OA) Surface.
Noel R. Harris – Began his career at NYCBOT in 1948 as an auditor for the Staten Island Depot.
Oscar W. Hawkins – Joined NYCBOT in 1949, holding titles of towerman, train dispatcher, train master, superintendent of Operations and Transportation before moving to Labor Relations in 1971. He retired from NYC Transit in 1987.
Austin D. McKenzie – Retired as an assistant train dispatcher in 1970.
Maury M. Reid, Jr. – Joined NYCBOT in 1948 as a railroad clerk. He transferred to Rapid Transit Operations and became the director of the RTO Training School, retiring as an assistant director, Office of Labor Relations.
Percy E. Sutton – Worked for NYCBOT from 1948 to 1953 as a subway conductor, token clerk, and waiter while attending law school.
Victor W. Terrelonge – Joined NYCBOT as a trolley motorman out of Coney Island. He advanced through the ranks of NYC Transit, retiring in 1984 as a safety coordinator. From 1984 to 2003, he served as a safety consultant to the Legal Department.
Fred O. Wilson – Joined NYCBOT in 1945 as a street car operator and retired as a bus operator from the Jamaica Bus Depot in 1

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