TWU, ATU and MTA Begin Push on Worker Assaults

April 13, 2012
By Labor Press

A major conference is in the planning stages between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and unions representing its workforce who say their members are under siege from unprovoked assaults on bus and train operators. The half-day event at NYC Tech at 285 Jay Street, near to the MTA’s old headquarters building, is already being promoted on posters and flyers issued by both unions and the MTA.

TWU, Teamsters Come Out for Slain Florida Teen

April 12, 2012
By Ray Parker, Staff Writer

Hoping to add fuel to the national firestorm of protest against the shooting of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin, New York unions mobilized members and politicians in Union Square on April 9th. The small but energetic rally lasted two hours. On hand were TWU Local 100 Political Action Director Marvin Thomas, who wore a white hoodie -- now a symbol of protest against police brutality -- and Teamsters Local 237 President Gregory Floyd. Local political leaders included City Councilwoman Letitia James and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, among others.

MTA Chairman Envisions Linking Region's Transit Assets

April 4, 2012
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter
Joseph Lhota, Chairman and CEO of the MTA, opened his remarks at a construction industry forum on Tuesday, April 3 by thanking the members of the New York Building Congress for lobbying hard to ensure that the remaining three years of the MTA’s current five-year Capital Project is completely funded to complete four mega-projects currently under construction.

LaborPress asked Lhota now that the MTA doesn’t have to worry about financing the current Capital Project program, will that help the MTA to bring down its debt service?

TWU’s Tails of the City

April 2, 2012
By Ray Parker, Staff Writer

A lucky straphanger returning from a late-night concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on North 6th Street snapped the winning photo in Local 100’s “most distinctive subway rat” contest, the union announced today. Michael Savarino just happened to be at the right place at the right time (Bedford Avenue stop on the L train, 2 AM) to see two rats cavorting in a 50 cent bag of potato chips. Click!

Influential Legislators Back TWU Contract Fight

March 28, 2012
By Ray Parker, Staff Writer

Some of Albany's heavy hitters (apart from the three men in the back room) stepped on stage at Albany's Hart Theatre to endorse TWU Local 100's demand that their next contract not mirror the concessions agreed to by upstate unions.

A G Grows in Brooklyn

March 13, 2012
By Ray Parker, Staff Writer

An online petition generated by the labor-friendly Working Families Party is gaining some traction in the effort to persuade the often tin-eared MTA to continue a service enhancement to the G Train in Brooklyn. This past Saturday the WFP put out an e-blast saying that 2,000 Brooklyn residents signed the petition, and that the MTA was reconsidering its earlier decision to end the enhancement.

“MTA Can Pay!”

February 29, 2012
By Ray Parker, Staff Reporter

Fifty demonstrators from Local 100 and Occupy Wall Street packed the MTA’s public seating to capacity at the Authority’s monthly board meeting on February 29th. A dozen speakers brought Board Members’ attention to the fact that the MTA is choosing not to tap a reserve fund known as GASB-45, which has $490 million in surplus funds. Making the case that revenue exists to restore service and the fund the contract is now TWU Local 100’s central focus as negotiations move past the 45-day mark.

Transient Taxes for Transit

February 29, 2012
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter

The Hudson River Valley business community’s chorus opposed to the MTA Payroll Tax rang all the way down to the southern tip of Manhattan. Governor Andrew Cuomo caved in to the refrains, which will subtract $250 million in dedicated funding to the MTA. But more tax exemptions may be forthcoming, as the Freelancers Union notified its members it’ll be working hard this spring to end the tax on freelancers.

A Freelancers Union spokesperson said two separate bills are waiting for legislative action in Albany. Senators Andrew Lanza and Daniel Squadron introduced Senate Bill 6330 and Assembly Members Michael Cusick and Brian Kavanagh introduced Assembly Bill A9314A, which would exempt freelancers from paying the MTA Payroll Tax earning $50,000 or more annually.

NICE Bus to Implement Service Changes

February 28, 2012
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter
LaborPress reported in early January the new labor contract TWU Local 252 reached with the new private bus operator, Veolia Transportation Services, after the MTA and Nassau County couldn’t reach a new financial agreement to support public bus transit. We also reported, citing a report by Long Island Jobs with Justice, the potential for bus service cuts in Nassau based on the private company’s record in other cities.

Republicans line up for the MTA

Legislators Martin Golden and Nicole Malliotakis, and union leaders Angelo Tanzi (in foreground, ATU Local 726) and John Samuelsen (TWU Local 100) at the MTA Coalition briefing in Albany on Valentine’s DayFebruary 16, 2012
By Neal Tepel

State Senator Martin J. Golden (R,C,I –Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C-Brooklyn, Staten Island) had a convivial session with a dozen unions representing the workforce of the MTA – including New York City Transit, Metro North, various commuter lines, and Bridge and Tunnel operators. Meeting at the AFL-CIO building on South Swan Street in Albany Tuesday, February 14th, the legislators trumpeted a new bill they introduced ending fees the MTA now pays to the State Division of Budget for borrowing money for private investors.

Community Leaders "Ratting Out" the MTA

State Sen. Perkins speaks out against rats in front of a ratJanuary 9, 2012
By Neal Tepel

Local politicians frustrated over constituents' complaints about rats on the subways gave the MTA an earful outside the 181st Street IRT stop Thursday night. As rush hour crowds streamed out of the station, City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez talked about using the subway for 50 years and being angry about proliferating rats for at least as long. State Senator Bill Perkins handed out a 20-page "Report on Rats in the Subway," which revealed that 80% of riders surveyed described the rat problem as "severe or an emergency situation."

Local 726 Bus Operator Mourns Stricken Teenager

MTA Bus leaving Staten Island depotJanuary 6, 2012
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter
A bus operator has to go through rigorous training before he or she can navigate the roads with competing vehicles, pedestrians crossing the street without waiting for a red light and unpredictable weather during the day or night. But there are no training preparation or safety measures that can prepare a bus driver when someone decides to dart in front of an oncoming bus in an apparent suicide attempt.

Lhota Meets Labor

Morning Joe: Labor leaders of the MTA Coalition had coffee with MTA Chair Joe Lhota at DC 37. Lhota (at right, white shirt) talked with principals of MTA unions including TWU Local 100’s John Samuelsen, the ATU’s Angelo Tanzi, and at least 50 othersDecember 24, 2011
By Neal Tepel

No one among the fifty-odd labor leaders assembled in DC 37’s 5th Floor conference room could remember a comparable event: Virtually every union representing MTA workers in an unscripted and frank 90-minute discussion on Thursday December 22th with the MTA Chairman. Asked to meet with the members of the MTA Labor Coalition by John Samuelsen, head of the Coalition’s biggest union, TWU Local 100, Joe Lhota agreed without preconditions. He was accompanied by his Labor Relations Director, Anita Miller. The morning meeting was hosted by DC 37’s Lillian Roberts as a courtesy to DC 37 Local 375 President Behrouz Fathi, who represents MTA workers in engineering and technical titles.

Statement from Co-Chairs Robert Jackson and Fernando Cabrera on Governor Cuomo’s decision to sign Taxi/Livery Reform Bill into Law

Robert Jackson District 7 - Council MemberDecember 22, 2011
“Governor Cuomo’s agreement to sign the taxi/livery bill is a huge victory for the city, specifically the residents of Northern Manhattan, and the outer boroughs. The Black, Latino and Asian Caucus is very proud of having played a key role in leading the fight to get this bill passed and ultimately signed into law by Governor Cuomo. As the majority of the New York City Council, we have been clear about our position from the beginning and have consistently lent our support to the livery industry and communicated to our colleagues in the State legislature, including the Governor, that this is the right thing to do for the people of New York City. This legislation will finally address the needs and demand of the underserved communities in our collective districts.”

TWU Local 100 Demands Wage Increases

Local 100 members outside MTA headquartersDecember 16, 2011
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter

Outside the MTA’s offices at 2 Broadway about 2,000 TWU Local 100 members and a host of leaders from different unions in solidarity rallied after the union and agency finished their day’s negotiations. Apparently, the two sides still have a lot of negotiating before the contract expires in one month, as the union demands fair wage increases and the agency demands none.  

TWU “Lobby-ing” on Health Care Cuts

John Samuelsen, President TWU Local 100September 12, 2011
By Neal Tepel

A crowd of dozens of transit union members briefly took over the lobby of 180 Livingston Street, an MTA property in Brooklyn where transit worker health benefits are administered. Ignoring attempts by security to restrain the impromptu demonstration, they held signs and spoke angrily about broken promises. TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen, who was in the crowd, spoke to reporters, telling them that while MTA managers and executives enjoyed “gold-plated” health coverage, his members had been treated harshly during a health benefits transition earlier this year.

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