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NYC DOT Commissioner Trottenberg: "We're really trying to have a partnership with the TWU and the MTA"

Greg Mocker of WPIX-TV, reporting on February 19, drew out City officials on the question of why NYCT Bus Operators are being arrested after traffic accidents under the new Vision Zero law. In response to a question from the reporter, NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said: "The point of Vision Zero is not to target bus drivers. We're really trying to have a partnership with the TWU and the MTA, and make things safe for everybody." In the same newscast, TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen spoke on camera, making the point that Bus Operators are being arrested in cases where no recklessness has been shown, and that they are expected on the one hand to navigate busy intersections where pedestrians are walking on the one hand, and then are being arrested when accidents happen through no fault of their own.

Daily News Columnist Pete Donohue's Take on Bus Operator Arrest

FEBRUARY 16 -- In today's Daily News, transit reporter and Columnist Pete Donohue gives his take on the arrest of Bus Operator Francisco de Jesus under "Vision Zero" guidelines, which Donohue calls "zero common sense." His intro to the article:

Francisco de Jesus, 58, was arrested after he accidentally struck and injured a 15-year-old girl in Brooklyn Friday. Under prior mayoral administrations, de Jesus would have received a ticket charging him with a non criminal traffic violation. But under Vision Zero, he was brought to a precinct like a common criminal.

Read the column here.

Union Safety Team's Urgent Warning as Coldest Temps of Winter Hit New York

Exercise Extreme Caution While Working in the Cold

This entire week will be bone chilling cold, and that presents extra dangers and hardships for transit workers, especially those working on elevated structures, where wind is also a factor. Please refer to our "Working in the Cold" advisory for further tips and warnings on the dangers posed by this extreme weather.

TWU Responds to Arrest of Bus Operator after Brooklyn Accident

Local 100 President John Samuelsen and Vice President JP Patafio lashed out at the arrest of one of our Bus Operators after a tragic accident in Brooklyn under Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero plan.  The Daily News and the New York Times had the most comprehensive pieces.

Read Pete Donohue's take here.

The Times reported that Samuelsen "called the girl’s injury a tragedy but said the city and its police force were putting drivers in an impossible situation by arresting them for accidents." The paper quoted him as follows: “They navigate incredibly difficult streets loaded with pedestrians, and they do this without any enforcement on the pedestrian end of things,” Mr. Samuelsen said, adding, “To arrest an operator for an unintentional accident is really just absolutely outrageous, illogical and anti-worker.”

Standing Strong: TWU Sec-Treas. Phillips and Attorney Rubenstein Announce Civil Suit

STANDING STRONG: TWU Local 100 Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips joins attorney Sanford Rubenstein as he announces a civil suit filed against those who contributed to the death of NYCT Bus Operator William Pena one year ago. In this video, Pena’s wife Nancy Rodriguez also talks about her husband’s death from the perspective of a year’s passing. Dozens of TWU Local 100 members joined Phillips, Rubenstein, and Nancy Rodriguez as the attorney announced the civil suit and described what it alleges.

Video also available on TWU Local 100's Facebook page.

In Pena Case, Atty Rubenstein Files Civil Suit Against Establishments that Served Whilby

FEBRUARY 12 -- One year to the day after drunk driver Domonic Whilby drove a bread truck full on into a city bus driven by Bus Operator Willie Pena, killing him, attorney Sanford Rubenstein, acting on behalf of Willie's widow, Nancy Rodriguez, and his daughter, Gabrielle, served fancy club 1Oak, the Dream Hotel, and two trucking companies with a 303 count civil lawsuit for damages. Bus Operator Willie Pena, a career NYCT Bus Driver and TWU Local 100 member, was proceeding down 14th Street in the early morning when Whilby's truck came flying down 7th Avenue. Pena, who drove out of the Quill Depot and had 17 years on the job, was pronounced dead at the scene. Whilby, who was partying with his uncle, actor/model Tyson Beckford, and model Shanina Shaik, was not cut off by bartenders when he should have been, the suit says. Additionally, the trucking firm failed to secure the idling bread truck, enabling the drunken Whilby to steal it and and go on his fatal joyride. Whilby is currently at Riker's awaiting trial on a raft of charges including Murder in the Second Degree. At the press conference, TWU Local 100 Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips spoke of the sadness of the union family at the one year mark and of our determination to stay the course until justice is served. Nancy spoke movingly to the assembled press corps about the void in her and her daughter's lives now that Willie is gone.

TWU Mourns Passing of Mary Lawe

Mary Elizabeth Lawe (nee Heaney), widow of the late John E. Lawe, who served as President of Local 100 from 1977 to 1985, and International President from 1985 until his death in January 1989, passed away on Feb. 9, 2015.

Mrs. Lawe, a native of County Longford, Ireland, was a much loved and respected figure in both union and Irish circles for many years. She is survived by her son, Desmond, and daughters, Deirdre and Patricia.

Arrangements for Mrs. Lawe are as follows: Viewing: Weigand Brothers Funeral Home, 49 Hillside Ave., East Williston, NY. Friday February 13, 2015 from 2:00pm to 4:00 pm and 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 9:30am at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Manorhaven Blvd., Port Washington, NY 11050.

The Family requests that in lieu of flowers a donation may be made in Mary Lawe’s name to one of the following: Doctors Without Borders or St. Jude's Children Hospital.

Union Mourns Jaime English, Collecting Agent

Local 100 is mourning the tragic death of Brother Jaime M. English, a Collecting Agent since 2001.  Police are still investigating the circumstances of his death by gun shot in the crew room of his reporting location at 14th Street and Seventh Avenue on the evening of Monday, February 12th.

No matter what the investigation ultimately yields, we have lost a good union Brother, who was a husband and father.

Co-workers expressed shock at the news, and remembered Brother English as a friendly, easygoing person, who was well-liked by his co-workers. There will be a viewing at the St. John's FBH Baptist Church at 1016 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, between Downing & Irving Place on Wednesday, February 18th. The viewing will be from 9AM to 11AM, followed by a service at 11AM.

Co-workers have begun a collection to help Brother English's family deal with their immediate financial crisis.  Anyone interested in donating, please contact Tommy Carpen at 347-724-2223.

VIDEO: Pres. Samuelsen, MTA CEO Prendergast salute rank & file transit workers at Hometown Heroes awards

At the January 29 Hometown Heroes in Transit Awards, labor and management partnered with the NY Daily News to salute rank and file transit workers. Both TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen and MTA CEO Tom Prendergast talked about the value and importance of the workforce.

Empire Blue to members: Beware of scam emails

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield warns of scam emails targeting Empire members. These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem (Empire’s parent company), and the emails include a “click here” link supposedly for credit monitoring. These emails are NOT from Anthem or Empire.
If you receive such an email:
• DO NOT click on any links in the email.
• DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way.
• DO NOT supply any information on the website that may open, if you have mistakenly clicked on a link in the email.
• DO NOT open any attachments that arrive with the email.
Empire also is NOT calling members regarding the cyber attack and is NOT asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.
Empire says it will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service about the cyber attack with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring. Empire has announced that affected members will receive free credit monitoring and ID protection services.

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