Municipal Government

Public Affairs Strategist Goes to Bat for Traffic Agents

January 29, 2014
By Marc Bussanich 

New York, NY—Traffic agents know all too well the rigors of enforcing parking rules throughout the city. There was a time when motorists expressed their frustration over a parking ticket by assaulting traffic agents. But thanks to CWA Local 1182 enduring the rigors of the legislative process, traffic agents can do their jobs more safely today. 

Violet Moss is a senior vice-president at a public affairs firm who’s played an important role in securing legislation in Albany and the City Council that have benefitted traffic and sanitation enforcement agents.

For example, Moss worked with Local 1182’s President, Robert Cassar, to impress upon members of the New York State Assembly the need to keep an important state labor law on the books.

The New York Labor Law, Article 7, Section 215, which passed as part of the 2012-2013 Executive Budget, calls for prohibiting employers from establishing or maintaining a quota policy of tickets or summonses.

“The law was about to sunset but Mr. Cassar and I worked hard to ensure that the law didn’t expire, thereby protecting traffic agents from quota demands by employers,” Moss said.

Back in 2012, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a plan to privatize the city’s parking meters because he said it would save the city millions of dollars. The City of Chicago privatized their parking meters in 2008, which angered many Chicagoans because the price of parking skyrocketed.

“We worked with the Comptroller’s Office and the plan to privatize New York’s parking meters was abandoned because there was an immediate push back from John Liu and other unions,” said Moss.

Moss noted that it’s all about traffic and sanitation agents getting the respect they deserve because they do so much to keep the city moving and clean.

“They are the city’s unsung heroes. It was heartening to hear the new Police Commissioner, William Bratton, acknowledge their work when he was sworn in.”

Now with a new City Council and Mayor, Moss explained that she and Robert Cassar will remain focused on any and all bills introduced in the city or Albany that may potentially disempower traffic agents or place them in situations on the job that could be troublesome.

“We met with a lot of candidates seeking office last year and let them know that we’re not just going to endorse because we like you; we want to hear how are you going to help traffic agents who help bring in a lot of money for the city, probably $2 to $3 million annually.” 

While the union has already met with the new mayor, Bill de Blasio, Moss said the union is hoping to work with the new commissioner at the Office of Labor Relations, Robert Lin, over the issue of “physical and “taxing.”

“We’ll be conveying to the new commissioner the importance of including Levels 1 and 2 onto the ‘physical and taxing list’ of which Levels 3 and 4 agents already enjoy. Levels 1 and 2 perform work that is similar to other employees already on the list,” Moss said. 

With the Office of Collective Bargaining recently ruling that traffic agents can bargain as a uniformed force with the city, it seems traffic agents have come a long way. 

“I think I’ve been successful by helping people understand the important contributions traffic agents make,” Moss said.

Follow Marc on Twitter marc@laborpress.org

 

January 28, 2014

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