August 1, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco
Queens, NY – Over the next 13 weeks, the latest class of NYPD Traffic Enforcement Agents will learn how to keep the City of New York moving, directing heavy traffic, issuing summonses, responding to emergencies and more. And on Friday, the latest 117 men and women to step up to those daunting challenges were introduced to the union dedicated to their ongoing health and welfare.
Under the prior administration, low paid Traffic Enforcement Agents or TEAs, suffered without a contract for roughly six long years. This year, however, under the leadership of CWA Local 1182 President Syed A. Rahim, new recruits wearing the NYPD patch can expect to attain Level II status faster than ever before at a base salary of $37,500.
The precedent-setting labor agreement CWA Local 1182 has managed to secure with the City of New York contains a restructured "step up" salary plan that also includes “gain sharing” features covering out-of-title work, or duties TEAs are called upon to perform that fall outside their normal job description.
"My fellow brothers and sisters, I welcome all of you to NYPD Traffic where we hope you will really have a great career," Rahim told new recruits assembled inside NYPD School Safety Headquarters at 28-11 Queens Plaza North. "We promise to represent all of you and make sure your working environment is good – that's our job."
While some stake out long careers as Traffic Enforcement Agents, others use their experience on the streets as a springboard to become police officers, correction officers and school safety officers.
The union is now actively working to attain official uniform status for TEAs, in part, so that their work experience can be applicable for Police Academy credits.
Local 1182 Vice-President Tammy Meadows urged new recruits to be career-minded, strictly obey all NYPD rules and regulations, and to avoid "complacency."
"You need to move around," Meadows said. "It's easy to get complacent. But if you have charges, you're not going anywhere. Be respectful of that [NYPD] patch."
Wearing the NYPD insignia and issuing unwanted summonses, can, in fact, be dangerous for TEAs. Local 1182 Executive Vice-President Sokunbi Olufemi advised new recruits not to be overly zealous when hitting the streets of New York for the first time.
"Your life is more important – don't be too aggressive," Olufemi said.
Mindful of the very real dangers that everyone who represents the NYPD sometimes face, Local 1182 is also pursing bulletproof vests for all TEAs. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is reportedly supportive of the move, and the union is currently surveying members about their desire to actually wear the vests.
"Safety and security is an important issue for you," Rahim said. "When you go out issuing summonses the public is not going to be happy about it. They may push you…you don't know what could happen.”
There are now roughly 3,000 Traffic Enforcement Agents working the streets of New York.