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We're Ready to Rally on the 15th!

I'll Be There!

Thousands of TWU Local 100 members have signed the pledge cards -- posters are going up at every work location in the transit system. Just click on the arrows to see the show! We are building to the biggest rally in years to tell the MTA: We demand a fair contract! Be there and check out our new contract website here.

Local 100 Mourns Bus Operator Larry Sheppard, Died on the Job

Larry Sheppard, a popular veteran Bus Operator who was recently married, passed away at the Kingsbridge Depot Thursday. Sheppard, 56, was found in his car by a co-worker, Depot Chairman Richard Fields said. The cause of death was not immediately clear. Sheppard didn’t report after his swing shift ended but management never alerted the union, union officials said. He was supposed to pull out of the depot at 2:18 p.m.

Sheppard was found unresponsive in his car at approximately 7 p.m. by a co-worker who noticed his car was running and went to investigate, Fields said. He had nearly 30 years on the job. “He was very well liked,” Fields said. “He was very well known and liked.” A longtime Long Island resident, he was recently married and moved to Newark, N.J. with his two young children, officials said.  Funeral arrangements have not yet been set.

TWU Local 100 Mourns Mike Jerome, 64

OCTOBER 31 -- The TWU Local 100 family today is mourning the loss of longtime officer, activist, and staffer Mike Jerome, who passed this morning at home from pancreatic cancer. He leaves his wife, Elise deJong, and his son, Gabriel, and many other relatives and friends. Mike served in the rescue and recovery effort at Ground Zero and received the union’s medal of recognition on September 7, 2016 from Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips and Administrative Vice President Angel Giboyeaux.

A machinist by trade who worked in the wheel and axle shop at Coney Island Overhaul, Mike was devoted to bettering the lot of his fellow workers through fighting management and strengthening labor solidarity within our union. A committed Socialist, he was active in various radical and revolutionary organizations for all of his adult life.

Mike Jerome became the director of Grievance and Discipline in 2001, and later Health Benefits Coordinator. In an article printed in the union’s newspaper in December 2001, that reflected his philosophy, he wrote: “We need to stop the write-ups before they happen. That means building strength and unity right at the work sites and crew rooms…we need to build member anger at management injustice and use that anger to build solidarity.”

He will be remembered as a man who was selflessly devoted to others and to the union cause. Local 100 President Samuelsen said: “Mike kept on giving to the Union, from his activism on the shop floor to his dedicated work as a union staffer. His spirit lives on whenever transit workers fight for better working conditions.”

TWU Mourns Jerry Dabrowski, Lighting Maintainer

TWU Local 100 mourns Lighting Maintainer Jerry Dabrowski, who died in active service. There will be a viewing on Monday, October 24, from 2pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm at Meigel Funeral Home at 6418 Flushing Ave, in Maspeth N.Y. 11378. A Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, October 25, at 11am at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church 61-21 56th Road, Maspeth N.Y. 11378

-- John V. Chiarello,Division Chairman, Line Equipment Signal

Monique Brathwaite with Union Rep Duvet Williams in her hospital bed
Monique Brathwaite with Union Rep Duvet Williams in her hospital bed

Update on Signal Helper Monique Brathwaite

 I report with great sadness that our sister Monique Brathwaite, a probationary signal helper and mother of four boys, had her right arm amputated below the elbow by surgeons at Harlem Hospital because of extreme nerve damage. Monique, 36, was gravely injured Oct. 7th when she had an accident involving an electrified third rail.

Please keep Monique and her family in your prayers. You can contribute to a Go Fund Me page to help Monique and her family with their expenses at the following link:
https://www.gofundme.com/2tl33o4

-- John Samuelsen, President  

Get on the Bus!

BY PETE DONOHUE

Get on the bus. If you are hoping and praying that a majority of Americans dump Trump on Election Day, you should be optimistic. The recent polls strongly indicate that The Donald has finally insulted and groped his way out of contention.

But Trump has been down before. As Sean Trende recently wrote on the RealClear Politics website, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has significantly led Trump in the polls several times over the last 13 months. He then came back each time and tied it up, or narrowed the lead to a bit more than a statistical sliver.

So the most that anyone can really say about the race is this: Trump probably won’t get the keys to the White House. Probably. Most likely. That’s not good enough considering the character Trump has demonstrated and the ramifications a Trump presidency will produce. As everyone now knows, Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women and getting away with it because he is rich and famous. For years he pushed the racist claim that the first African-American president wasn’t legitimate because he supposedly wasn’t born in the United States, a shameful lie that he knew full well was a shameful lie.

Trump also has promised to fill the Supreme Court vacancy with a proven ultra-conservative judge. That will enable the Republican Party to continue, and perhaps finish, their onslaught against unions in America. That also would enable the Republican Party to take away a woman’s right to decide whether or not she continues a pregnancy. It’s a decision for each individual woman to make, not a government bureaucrat. There are many other reasons, of course, why the Republican Party candidate must be stopped. Probably and most likely are not good enough odds.

On Saturday, Oct. 22nd, the Transport Workers Union locals in New York and New Jersey will be sending buses to Philadelphia, Pa., a crucial battleground state, to demonstrate support and campaign for the Democratic Party ticket. Buses will be departing 7:30 a.m. TWU Local 100 and TWU Local 101’s Union Hall at 195 Montague St., Brooklyn.

Come to Philly. Take a stand with us against sexism. Take a stand against racism. Take a stand against union busting. Get on the bus.

(To register for the bus trip or obtain more information, contact Dawn Sobers at (646) 319-7621 or email PAC@TWULocal100.org. Give your name and contact info)

We Mourn Signal Maintainer Alex Lazano; Arrangements are Tomorrow

TWU Local 100 mourns Signal Maintainer Alex Lazano, who succumbed recently to an illness. He was promoted from Signal Maintainer Trainee and he passed Signal school. He will be missed. There will be a wake tomorrow, Tuesday, October 11. from 2pm to 5pm and from 7pm to 9pm at the Fredrick Funeral Home, at 192-15 Northern Blvd Flushing, NY 11358. A funeral will follow Wednesday at Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 52-18 Bowne Street, in Flushing, NY. -- John V. Chiarello, Division Chairman, Line Equipment Signal.

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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