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A devastated Nancy Rodriguez, William Pena's widow, stands with MaBSTOA VP Richard Davis and Pena's brother, Alex.
A devastated Nancy Rodriguez, William Pena's widow, stands with MaBSTOA VP Richard Davis and Pena's brother, Alex.

Drunk Driver Convicted in Death of Bus Operator William Pena

The joyriding drunk driver who killed Bus Operator William Pena was convicted Friday of vehicular manslaughter and other charges in Manhattan Supreme Court. Domonic Whilby, 25, could be sentenced to at least eight years in prison - and as many as 25 years behind bars, ADA Randolph Clarke said.

Whilby stole an 18-ton delivery truck and careened down 7th Ave. on the early morning of Feb. 12, 2014. He slammed into Pena’s M14 bus, killing Pena and injuring several passengers. During the trial, Whilby’s defense attorney said he was too drunk to know what he was doing.  Whilby became extremely intoxicated earlier at a VIP party that his famous uncle took him to at the 1OAK club on W. 17th St., according to trial testimony. While the Supreme Court jury found Whilby guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and aggravated vehicular homicide, the panel acquitted him of other charges, including the most serious: depraved indifference murder.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had the following statement: “Because of Domonic Whilby’s reckless decisions, a beloved family member and public servant is dead. This was a devastating and utterly preventable tragedy. My heart goes out to Mr. Pena’s family, friends, and coworkers, as well as the four other pedestrians, passengers, and motorists who were injured that day.”

Brother Pena’s widow, Nancy Rodriguez, who has carried on a long and courageous campaign for justice for her husband, broke down in tears after the verdict was read. Responding to a question from a reporter from the New York Times about the message sent by the jury’s failure to convict on counts involving criminal intent, she said: “I think it’s horrible, the message that is being sent. An innocent man goes to work. What went wrong that day was that he got to work on time. He was doing his job and he gets killed.”

“Our hearts go out again to William's family,” TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said. “This has been a terrible and long ordeal. I’m absolutely awed by the their strength and perseverance. They worked tirelessly for more than three years to keep William’s memory alive, and to keep this case in the public’s view. They are union heroes. He would be proud.”

Outside the courtroom, MABSTOA VP Richie Davis expressed the feelings of his fellow Bus Operators: “It’s not a just verdict for the Bus Operators of New York City Transit,” he said. “They come to work to make an honest living and go back home to their families safely. One was murdered. We did not get that top charge [depraved indifference murder] that we were looking for. That would have served justice. From our eyes, [Whilby’s] intent was there, from signaling his left turn, to maintaining his distance as he drove, to making contact with the bus in a deliberate way. It’s pure murder for us. We’re very unhappy with the verdict.

Whilby has been in jail since the day of the incident, and will remain there until sentencing by Justice Gregory Carro on Tuesday, April 25th.

Union, Family Wait for Verdict as Pena Case Goes to the Jury

It’s all up to 12 New Yorkers, men and women who have mostly likely taken countless rides on MTA buses and subways. It’s their task now to decide the guilt or innocence of Domonic Whilby, whose actions while driving an 18-ton truck caused the death of Bus Operator William Pena three years ago.

Was Whilby so drunk on alcohol and high on marijuana that he lacked the ability to know what he was doing when he stole the truck and slammed it into the M14 bus, as the defense contends? Or was he a man with a high tolerance for alcohol, who made dozens of conscious, rational decisions as he piloted the stolen truck, injuring four men and killing one -- revealing him to be utterly unconcerned for anyone’s life but his own?

Jurors are now considering Whilby’s guilt or innocence on 17 counts ranging from depraved indifference murder to grand larceny. Listening to the closing statements in the courtroom were 50 union members and friends of William Pena’s family, including TWU Local 100 VP for MABSTOA Richard Davis, Division Chair Donald Yates, and American Airlines workers represented by TWU Local 501. Family attorney Sanford Rubenstein joined Davis and Pena’s widow, Nancy, in a press conference outside the courthouse as deliberations began.

Pena Case Goes to Jury Thursday, March 23rd

Both the prosecution and the defense have now rested in the murder trial of Domonic Whilby, who drove a truck into Bus Operator William Pena's M14 bus early on the morning of February 12, 2014.

After three weeks of testimony, the case will now be handed to the jury. This is the time for the jurors to see the support of fellow transit workers for William's family, who will all be present, and see that we are united to demand justice for the killing of a transit worker who died in the line of duty, serving the citizens of New York.

At 10 AM, we will hear the closing statements of the prosecution (ADA Randolph Clarke), and the defense (Attorney Laura Miranda) as well as the instructions to the jury from Judge Gregory Carro.
Be there to show that we all stand together.

DATE: Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
Time & Place: 10AM, NY Supreme Court
Criminal Term -- 100 Centre Street Manhattan
Part 32 -- 13th Floor
Be early: Security Check
Please remember to wear MTA/TWU colors.
 

Scribe Pete Donohue (left foreground) with LES Chair John V. Chiarello, MOW VP Tony Utano and, seated, the three who made the difference for a supervisor.
Scribe Pete Donohue (left foreground) with LES Chair John V. Chiarello, MOW VP Tony Utano and, seated, the three who made the difference for a supervisor.

Lighting Maintainers Save the Day

A trio of quick-thinking Lighting Maintainers is being credited with saving the life of a NYC Transit foreman who suffered a heart attack on the road. Anthony Jacondino, Michael Anderson, Mampatteth George and foreman Richard Michel had just left the 14th St. crew quarters in their NYC Transit truck on Saturday when Jacondino sensed something was wrong with the supervisor.

“I heard a wheezing sound, like someone having an asthma attack,” Jacondino said. “I looked over at Richie and asked if he was ok. He wasn’t moving at all. I tapped him on the shoulder but he didn’t respond. He was motionless.” Without hesitation, Jacondino directed his co-workers to stop the vehicle and look for a police officer to flag down. Jacondino, meanwhile, called 911 for an ambulance. Amazingly, a NYPD patrol car was in traffic directly behind the signalmen’s truck.  Two officers performed CPR. Paramedics jolted Michel with a defibrillator, essentially jump-starting his heart to keep him alive.

Paramedics took Michel, a married father with two daughters, to Beth Israel Hospital. As of Thursday, Michel was in a medically induced coma. MOW Vice President Tony Utano and Line Equipment/Signals Division Chairman John Chiarello went to the crew quarters Thursday morning to congratulate Jacondino, Anderson and George for keeping their cool and making the right moves in such an emergency.

“They acted quickly and correctly, and saved a life,” Utano said. “They deserve a lot of thanks and praise.” Chiarello vowed to nominate the Lighting Maintainers from 14th St. for a Hometown Heroes in Transit Award next year. The Daily News will soon be announcing the 2016 winners and will hold a joint award ceremony with Local 100 in April.

Quill Connolly Day Comes to Queens

TWU Local 100 members packed the IBEW Apprentice Hall in Queens on March 15th for the inaugural event of the James Connolly Irish American Labor Coalition. The rousing event featured an address by President Samuelsen, and a speech about the current positive outlook in Ireland for unification of the country by Martin Kenny, Sinn Fein TD for Sligo, Leitrim,West Cavan & South Donegal. IBEW Local 3 Business Manager Chris Erikson and William Lynn, IUOE Local 30 Business Manager and Executive Director of the newly minted group, also spoke to the crowded room.

The James Connolly Irish American Labor Coalition is a new organization of American labor organizations who are pledged to carry on the spirit of Connolly, who was martyred in 1916 as an organizer who died for the cause of Irish freedom. President Samuelsen is a member of the Coalition's Board of Directors. We foresee an exciting partnership between Local 100 and other unions under this banner.

TWU Local 100 Mourns Thomas William Ohlmann, 1961-2017, Electronic Equipment Maintainer Level 2

Brother Thomas Ohlmann, a thirteen-year veteran with NYCT who worked in the Central Electronics Shop in Woodside, was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Southold. He lived in Medford with his beloved wife Andrea. He was a loving husband, son, brother and good friend. All who knew him loved him. He loved the outdoors, cycling, camping and playing with his dogs Splash and Maple.

Tom served as a faithful Minister of Jehovah, at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in East Patchogue, Long Island, NY. Tom was a loyal and faithful servant of his God Jehovah. Revelation 21:1-5, John 5:28, 29. In lieu of flowers, Tom asked that you consider donations to the Jehovah's Witnesses World Wide Work at www.jw.org/en or https://apps.jw.org/E_DONATE.

The arrangements are as follows: There will be a visitation at the Nolan & Taylor-Howe Funeral Home, Inc. at 5 Laurel Avenue, Northport, New York from 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Saturday, on March 4, 2017.

A funeral service will be held at the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall at 18 E. Woodside Ave., Patchogue, New York at 7:30 pm on Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dayan Hunter, a TWU Member, is on the right. His brother Dave is at left.
Dayan Hunter, a TWU Member, is on the right. His brother Dave is at left.

TWU Mourns Brothers Dayan and Dave Hunter

TWU Local 100 mourns the passing of Dayan Hunter, 47, and his brother, Dave Hunter, 44, who died in a horrific crash on the Bronx River Parkway near East 233rd Street shortly after midnight on the morning of February 17th. Dayan was a Cleaner at the Kingsbridge Bus Depot in upper Manhattan. HIs brother worked at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and was a member of Local 1199.

The brothers will have a homegoing service on Monday, February 27, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 777 East 222nd Street in the Bronx. Reflections will be from 10 AM to 11 AM with the service starting promptly at 11 AM. The burial will be at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in Hastings on Hudson, New York.

AAA staffers open ballot envelopes in preparation for scanning on Feb 15th.
AAA staffers open ballot envelopes in preparation for scanning on Feb 15th.

AAA Contract Ratification Tally, By Division

The American Arbitration Association (AAA) has provided the TWU Local 100 Elections Committee with an official final tally of ballots on the ratification vote for the contract covering TA, OA and MTA Bus members. As reported at the close of business on Wednesday February 15, 2017, the rank-and-file membership endorsed the contract by an overwhelming 70-30 percent margin with 10,540 voting YES and 4, 571 voting NO. Here is the vote count by division, in the order they were counted by AAA.

Division Votes "YES" Votes "NO"
Stations 1,414 394
Car Equipment 1,300 630
Train Operators 517 803
Surface Maintenance 317 110
Surface Operators 934 478
Conductor / Tower 390 746
LE/S 1,345 234
Track 412 364
Structure 612 168
Power 280 166
MaBSTOA Div. 1 752 150
MaBSTOA Div. 2 637 209
MABSTOA Maintenance 664 68
MTA Bus 928 45
Unknown Division 38 6

TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said of the ratification:

"I want to thank rank-and-file transit workers for their strong show of support in ratifying this agreement with the MTA.  They recognized that the contract provides wage increases and other economic enhancements that will keep transit workers ahead of inflation, and fully protects their health coverage and wins important medical benefit gains without the concessions that are enshrined in city and state public sector patterns. It secures an unprecedented "me too" wage guarantee with the LIRR unions, which have the right to strike and are governed by federal law and wage patterns set by the national freight and commuter railroad sectors. The contract does not lock us into a long-term commitment, which provides an important hedge against any unforeseen spike in inflation.  For the first time, this contract has secured an agreement from the MTA to hire and utilize in house forces to retrofit the older parts of the transit infrastructure to provide clean, comfortable and safe crew areas for our sisters in transit. Over the next several months, our union will be plotting the course for 2017 and 2018, knowing that the potential of a national right-to-work bill and other destructive anti-trade union laws are likely coming our way. In this age of national political uncertainty, we must unite or risk great harm. In the coming months, I will be making extraordinary efforts to unify Local 100 to face this oncoming battle."

NYCERS Customer Service Relocated

This is from our retirement system, so please take note! Download the flyer here.

Due to an unforeseen emergency, New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) Customer Service located at the mezzanine level of 340 Jay Street is closed until further notice. Please Note: Until NYCERS restores all services, appointments are available for RETIREMENT and DISABILITY applications ONLY at 335 Adams Street. In order to schedule an appointment, please call (347) 643-3000. New York City Transit employees who wish to file any other forms (other than disability and retirement) such as Application to Purchase Service Credit, Application for Loan, etc. may submit the notarized forms to NYCERS staff at 335 Adams Street. Alternatively, completed forms may be mailed to NYCERS. Please mail completed forms to: New York City Employees’ Retirement System 30-30 47th Avenue, 10th Floor Long Island City, NY 11101

Balloting Extended to Feb. 15, 2017

In response to reports from officers and members in the field that many still had not received contract ballots as of Thursday Feb. 2, 2017, the Local 100 Executive Committee has directed the American Arbitration Association to push back the ratification count to Wednesday Feb. 15, 2017.  That gives members an extra five days to get ballots back to AAA.

While no ballots will be opened or counted until the day of the count, the Executive Committee extended the deadline to afford the greatest opportunity possible for all votes to be cast and counted.

If you do not receive your ballot by Friday Feb. 3, 2017, or if your ballot is damaged, please call the AAA Duplicate Hotline 1-800-529-5218 Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  The cutoff date to call AAA for duplicate ballots is Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.

The Executive Committee reiterates its FULL SUPPORT for ratifying the contract and urges all members in good standing to VOTE YES.

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