News from TWU Local 100

Car Equipment, Stations Mourn Terminal CTA Valdemore Richardson, 49

The Union is mourning the passing of Valdemore Richardson, age 49, a Terminal Cleaner who worked at the Stillwell Terminal on the A.M. tour in Coney Island.  Brother Richardson was in the process of purchasing a home in Mountainville, NY, when he unexpectedly passed away on Monday, October 4th.

Stations VP Robert Kelley who has been assisting the Richardson family during this difficult time, described Brother Richardson as a world-class husband and loving father.  CED VP Shirley Martin also described Brother Richardson as a well-liked individual who will truly be missed by his co-workers.  

Brother Richardson leaves behind his wife, Shatisha Richardson; daughter Summer Rayne, 6 years old; and two children he lovingly called his “bonus children” Kayla Jade, 18 years old and Chase Anthony, 13 years old.  Shatisha stated her husband loved his job and his MTA family.

Brother Richardson was an honorable family man who loved and cherished his family and wanted nothing more but the best for them.  His in-laws told Local 100 that Valdemore’s family was his life and everything else came second as far as what was important to him. Valdemore’s wife, Shatisha, during this difficult time, was able to jokingly share with us that not only did she love her husband, she actually liked him a lot!

Enrollment Period to Opt-in/Opt-out & Change Medical Plans Starts Oct 15

All active members in TA/OA and MTA Bus should shortly be receiving these cards in the mail. They are reminders that Oct. 15 - Nov 15 are the dates to change your medical plan or make other changes in your coverage. Questions? Call the BSC at 646-376-0123.

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Live on CNN: Bus Operator Rosa Almonte Explains How She Brought Her Passengers to Safety

Bus Operator Rosa Almonte, out of Fresh Pond Depot, came to the Union Hall on Friday for a live interview with CNN about how she brought her passengers through raging floodwaters on Queens Boulevard. The national TV broadcast showed America something about the guts, determination, and professionalism of transit workers.

Update: MTA Vaccination/Testing Program

The MTA is rolling out its COVID-19 vaccination/testing program.

If you are unvaccinated, you have a choice -- you can get the shot or be tested. Testing will take place on transit property and on company time. If testing is not available at your reporting location, you do not have to do anything. Management may, however, direct you on company time to go get tested at a nearby site.

The MTA has directed both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers to inform management through the employee portal of their vaccination status. If the MTA changes its position and moves to make vaccination a requirement of continued employment, TWU Local 100 will file a lawsuit and fight against such a mandate in court.

See the testing locations and schedules here.

The MTA is directing vaccinated workers to notify management using this link.


Transit Workers Recognized for Heroic Role in Flood Rescues on Subways, Buses

SEPTEMBER 2 -- NYS Governor Kathy Hochul called a press conference today at Fresh Pond Depot to praise the actions of Bus Operator Rosa Almonte, who drove her bus through raging waters to bring her passengers to safety last night. The widely circulated video of her bus opens the video. Joining Gov. Hochul and Bus Op Almonte at the press event were public officials and TA Surface Vice President JP Patafio. Subway workers were also recognized widely in press coverage. Watch our site for a full recap.

Union Commemorates 20 Years Since 9/11; President Utano Gives Remarks

AUGUST 31 -- It's been 20 years since the Attack on America. More than three thousand transit workers responded to the rescue and recovery effort, the bulk of them assigned there by NYCT, others who volunteered. On August 31, TWU Local 100 held our seventh commemoration of the event, as we continue to press the media and the larger community to recognize the sacrifices of transit workers on that fateful day. As is our regular practice, we awarded 9/11 Medals to our members who have become seriously ill due to toxic exposures on 9/11 and who have received compensation from the federal government under the Zadroga Act. 14 of those Medals were awarded in this ceremony. Also, Recognition Pins were given out to members who served at Ground Zero. TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano spoke at the event.

Update: MTA Vaccination/Testing Program

A Message from TWU Local 100:
What You Should Know About the MTA’s Vaccine/Testing Program

What You Should Know

The MTA, as every other City and State Agency, is currently developing a program to deal with State and City regulations on vaccinations and testing. The MTA Says that 70 percent of its overall workforce is already vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, all you need to do is make sure the MTA knows.

Go to the MTA’s online Employee Resource Center:

When the MTA implements the program, here is what will happen:  If you are not vaccinated, you may be subject to testing as often as once a week. The MTA told the union that testing will be at work locations and on company time.

MANAGEMENT HAS NOT FINALIZED ITS TESTING PLAN.  In other words, if you are not vaccinated, you don’t have to do anything except wait, and stay informed.

The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given full and final approval to the Pfizer Vaccine, and is expected to approve the other major vaccine providers products (Moderna, J&J) in the near future. Local 100 believes that you should not be forced to get the vaccine if you don’t want it.  If the State forces the MTA to reverse its current position on choice of vaccine or testing, we are prepared to go to court. Obviously, Covid must be taken seriously.  630,000 Americans have died of Covid, including more than 100 TWU Local 100 members.

We will keep you informed of all updates as we get them from the MTA.

Union Wins Tier 6 Refunds

Local 100 has reached an agreement with the MTA that will result in refunds of thousands of dollars to Local 100 members. Local 100 President Tony Utano uncovered a serious error in how the MTA is calculating paycheck deductions for some Tier 6-covered transit workers who exceed the overtime cap (currently approximately $17,000 for 2021) under the Tier 6 plan.

Before turning to litigation, President Tony Utano addressed the issue in a letter to the MTA last month.  The MTA subsequently admitted their error after meeting with Utano and union counsel Denis Engel. As a result, the MTA has committed to correcting the situation as soon as possible, probably as soon as September, and to provide refunds to those who have been overcharged. They could not commit to a timeframe for refunds – but Utano made clear that any and all such refunds must be paid as soon as possible. Until the MTA completes a comprehensive review, the authority can’t state how many members will be receiving refunds.

According to the Tier 6 plan covering transit workers (Transit Operating Force 25-Year/Age 55 Retirement Plan), an employee should only be paying pension deductions based on his/her 40-hour pay rate, plus earned overtime up to the cap set by the plan in a given year.

A worker whose base rate, for example is $70,000, will pay pension deductions on that amount plus overtime up to approximately $17,000 in 2021.  Therefore, deductions should stop at $87,000 in this example for the rest of the year.  However, the MTA has been deducting contributions from certain members not yet identified on all monies earned over and above the cap, according to them, since 2015.  The MTA believes that a computer programming error is the cause of the problem.

“We will closely monitor how the MTA rectifies this situation,” said Utano.  “It will take time for them to correct it and get the overpayments back to our members caught up in this situation.  But we are determined to ensure that management complies with the statute quickly.”  

Local 100 will be providing periodic updates on this developing victory for pension justice.

50 Years Plus for Brooklyn Bus Operator

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In the Photo: President Utano and Recording Secretary LaTonya Crisp with Bus Operator Cristo, Cristo’s son and daughter, and the Honor Guard.

AUGUST 11 -- It was a packed house at the Flatbush depot Wednesday as Bus Operators, managers, and union leaders all came together to honor Bus Operator Silverio Cristo for an amazing feat: 50 years on the job. And he’s not done yet.

Cristo, 81, said he has no plans of retiring. He’s going to keep doing what he’s done – quietly, humbly, and reliably – since 1971: safely get Brooklyn riders to their destinations.

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