As the MTA’s contract with the Transport Workers Union Local 100 was set to expire at midnight last night, hundreds of workers gathered in the bitter cold outside the negotiations at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown for a raucous rally where they were joined by several local politicians.
“I’ve been bargaining for the better part of the last 48 hours,” TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said. “I’m going to go back into that hotel and I’m going to tell the chairman of the MTA, I’m going to tell the governor to take their petty demands and shove it.”
Demonstrating the traction that the issue has among elected officials, a plethora of prominent officials have signed a letter to the CEO of Cablevision, James Dolan critical of what they feel are anti-union efforts on behalf of the company. The list includes several top 2013 candidates in Comptroller John Liu, Speaker Chris Quinn, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, as well as other notable names like Reverend Al Sharpton, Minority Leader John Sampson, Congress Members, Council Members and more.
“We are very disappointed that Cablevision refused to participate in the public, union-management debate this past Wednesday, over the merits of union representation for your Brooklyn workforce,” the letter begins. “This debate would have provided an opportunity to bring conversations about joining the union out of the darkness of your ‘captive audience’ meetings and into the public where Cablevision, union organizers and workers could have an open discussion.”
Manhattan Borough President and possible 2013 mayoral candidate Scott Stringer blasted the New York City Department of Education at a press conference today following the publication of a New York Times report documenting the DOE’s failure to claim millions of dollars in federal Medicaid reimbursements for services provided to students with special needs from 2006 to 2010. Mr. Stringer called for hearings investigating the missed reimbursements, which he described as a missed opportunity to curb school budget cuts and evidence of widespread problems at the DOE.
“This calls out for state and city hearings immediately, there’s no time to waste. This agency has been going down this perilous path for many years, but nobody could have imagined that, when it came for reimbursement, they would fail so miserably. I am shocked and I am outraged,” Mr. Stringer said.
Strongly Worded Letters
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew sent a letter to all 51 members of the City Council asking them to support the “Fair Wages For New Yorkers Act,” better known as the “Living Wage Bill.” “Millions of New Yorkers are struggling just to make ends meet, and our members–their teachers and other educators–are seeing the effects of that harsh reality in our classrooms everyday. Children who are not being fed, clothed or housed properly cannot hope to concentrate,” Mr. Mulgrew wrote. ”The passage of the ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act’ would be a step towards improving the lives of millions of New Yorkers, and consequently, their children,” wrote Mr. Mulgrew.
Strongly Worded Letters
In a letter sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo and ten Albany legislators Monday, Communications Workers Union of America District 1 Health Care Coordinating Council Chair John Klein urged the lawmakers to prohibit the controversial natural gas drilling procedure known as hydrofracking in New York. In addition to communications workers, the CWA represents roughly 15,000 people working in the health care industry. “I am writing regarding concerns we have about the hydrofracking process and its potential impacts on human health and the environment,” Mr. Klein wrote. “As health care workers, we would be on the front line of any public health problems that result from hydrofracking.”
Changes of Heart
Less than three months after he filed papers to run for mayor in 2013, Teamsters union President Greg Floyd told Capital Tonight’s Liz Benjamin he’s not actually going to enter the race. “Six weeks ago I made a decision, along with my executive board, we had a discussion, that I would not be running for any public office in New York City,” Mr. Floyd said. “And I’ve since ceased any campaign finance raising. … I’m telling you I am not going to be a candidate for any city office in 2013.”
Mayor Bloomberg briefed reporters this afternoon on a potential school bus strike that would affect over 152,000 city students. Workers from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1181, which includes 75% of the city’s school bus drivers, are warning of an immediate potential strike if the city doesn’t agree to their contract negotiation demands. At the press briefing, Mayor Bloomberg outlined steps the city will take if bus drivers walk off their job and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott called the strike “shameful.”
a share of the occupie
The City Council’s progressive wing and their labor allies threw their support behind the Occupy Wall Street protesters, backing “the day of action” the movement has planned for Thursday.
The New York City correctional officers union is holding an “Occupy Rikers Island” protest at the entrance to the jail in order to protest Department of Correction Commissioner Dora Schriro’s cuts to security posts.
The cuts, the union says, have led an alarming rise in jail violence and a record high in assaults on correction officers.
The city’s Corrections Department has had to undergo the same rounds of budget cuts that other city agencies have as the Bloomberg administration has struggled to balance budgets in the wake of the recession.