John Lyons, left, of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1179, addresses the Queens Civic Congress at a forum to address a dearth of bus service in Eastern Queens. Other panelists included Phil McManus, center, of the Queens Public Transit Committee and Mark Henry, president of ATU Local 1056.
Among the worst-kept secrets in the city is that the Queens Civic Congress and the unions representing MTA bus drivers would like to see more bus routes in the eastern half of the borough.
And at a joint meeting on Tuesday, with a representative of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on the panel, both groups discussed plans to make their wishes a reality.
If you closed your eyes and listened, the steps of Borough Hall sounded more like the tunnels of a West Virginia coal mine on Thursday.
In keeping with a Labor Day theme, Borough President Melinda Katz kicked off a press conference celebrating unions and hardworking Queens residents by singing a few bars of “Sixteen Tons,” a song made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford about the arduous life of a coal miner, which has become synonymous with hard, honest labor since its 1955 release.
Mayor de Blasio’s plan to subsidize the wages of private school bus drivers with $42 million in taxpayer funding is worrisome for the precedent it could set. It’s also legally suspect.
Some members of the City Council seem to realize this, but they’re likely to vote to approve the plan today, Aug. 21, anyway, because they believe the workers who will benefit are underpaid.
John Liu, center outlines his public transportation platform last week along with Assemblyman David Weprin, left, Linda Newman and Mark Henry, president and business agent of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1056.
Shortly after he was kicked out of the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference in 2013, people in Albany and Southeast Queens began calling him the man without a party.
Now locked in a primary battle for his political survival and a federal corruption trial restarting in January, state Sen. Malcolm Smith apparently can only watch as every party leader, elected official and natural Democratic constituency group lines up behind former Councilman and Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie.
Gladys McDaniel, right, of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1056 asks a rider at the Parsons Boulevard-Archer Avenue subway station on Friday to back the call for more city, state and federal money for mass transit and related infrastructure.
The battle for dedicated mass-transit funding moved from the seats of government to the streets of Jamaica last week.
Locals 1056 and 1179 of the Amalgamated Transit Union went to the Parsons Boulevard-Archer Avenue subway station in Jamaica on Friday to enlist public backing in their effort to get increased funding from the city, state and federal government for increased service and infrastructure.
It doesn’t take too many rush-hour trips up and down the Woodhaven-Cross Bay Boulevard corridor to become an expert on just where the bottlenecks and traffic islands can slow traffic to a crawl; and where service lanes make right-hand turns impossible.
But the city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last week proposed alleviating all that with the creation of a Select Bus route, along with bus lanes, new road markings and in some areas reconstruction of lanes, islands and intersections to improve the traffic flow.
When the union representing school bus drivers and matrons called off a one-month strike in February 2013, then-Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio was among the many political supporters who said they would, if elected, re-examine the issue that led to the picket lines — employee protection provisions.
Local 1811 of the Amalgamated Transit union on March 27 organized a rally outside City Hall prior to a City Council Education Committee hearing on EPPs.
In November, Queens voters sent four new members of their City Council delegation to City Hall. They replaced members who had key positions in previous Council sessions.
When the four new lawmakers — Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) — received their committee assignments last week, they all found themselves in different levels of power.
Despite the brutal race for City Council Speaker that left the chairman of the Queens Democratic Party at odds with Mayor de Blasio and the ultimate winner, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan), the borough was not left out when key committee chairs and other powerful posts were doled out Wednesday.
In fact, it will be a Queens member, second-term Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who will be the new majority leader, the second most powerful job in the body and second-in-command to Mark-Viverito.
If it has wheels, it made headlines.
Issues involving bicycles, illegal motor scooters, out-of-control SUVs, striking school bus drivers and pungent trash trains all made their way onto the Chronicle’s pages in 2013.
School bus drivers and patrons marched outside Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1811’s office on Woodhaven Boulevard in Ozone Park last Thursday.
School bus drivers and patrons took to the picket lines last Thursday.
But this time, they weren’t protesting the city or the bus companies; the target of their ire was their union.
Transit union leader Daneek Miller topped a crowded Democratic field on Tuesday night, taking the party’s nomination for the 27th District Council seat now held by Councilman Leroy Comrie.
Unofficial totals posted by the Board of Elections on Wednesday had Miller atop the six-candidate field with 24.35 percent of the vote.
Say this about the battle to replace Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) in City Hall — voters will not lack for choices in the Sept. 10 primary.
Comrie, the popular dean of the Queens delegation, is being forced out after 12 years by term limits. And while there has been rampant speculation about the Councilman’s future ranging from Borough Hall to the state Senate, the battle to replace him has been one of the most hotly contested ones in the city.
I write to support overriding the mayor’s veto of two important pieces of legislation important to our community and city — the bills known as the Community Safety Act. I joined a rally of concerned Council members, justice advocates and residents July 18 to make clear my support and help push back against the tremendous pressure being put on courageous Council members who put their constituents, justice and public safety first.
When race or ethnicity is the determining factor to question or arrest an individual, society sends the wrong message. In knocking on thousands of doors in, and campaigning throughout, Council District 27, covering all or part of Addisleigh Park, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Queens Village and St. Albans, I found that young people of color made clear the devastating impact that profiling inflicts on them. The practice should be illegal.
No New Yorker should be singled out because of his or her ethnicity; these bad contacts only widen the divide of distrust between police and the communities they serve. The then-New York attorney general’s 2001 report confirmed that the NYPD applied “stop and frisk” tactics more ag
gressively and broadly to African Americans and Latinos than to whites.
The police commissioner must be held accountable to the law’s reporting requirements and its ban on profiling.
As a community and labor activist, president of Amalgamated Transportation Union Local No. 1056, which represents drivers and mechanics who work for MTA New York City Transit’s Queens Bus Division, co-chairman of the MTA Labor Coalition of 29 unions and more than 60,000 workers, and a longtime southeast Queens resident, who has worked with our community’s young people including as a co-founder of Brothers Unlimited, which assists families in need, and as a mentor with United Black Men of Queens and Life Camp, I know our community needs this reform.
That’s why I support the Community Safety Act and advocate overriding the mayor’s veto.
The writer is a candidate for City Council in the 27th District.
Democrats running for the City Council in the 27th District have their differences on some aspects of education.
But all said they believe in having more local control over instruction and curriculum in a candidate forum held Monday night at the Campus Magnet Educational Complex in Cambria Heights.
I. Daneek Miller, head of the union that represents NYC Transit’s bus drivers and mechanics in Queens, has announced his candidacy for the City Council in the 27th District.
Miller, 51, is president of Amalgamated Transportation Union Local No. 1056, and is co-chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Labor Coalition, which represents 29 unions and 60,000 workers.
“We pledge, if elected, to revisit the school bus transportation system and contracts and take effective action to insure that the important job security, wages and benefits of your members are protected within the bidding process, while at the same time are fiscally responsible for taxpayers.”
So said five Democratic candidates for mayor — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, former Comptroller Bill Thompson and former Councilman Sal Albanese — in a letter that urged Amalgamated Transit Union 1181 to end the school bus strike it had inflicted on the city for five weeks.
“As Local 1181 has always said, our top priority is the safe transport to and from school of our City’s children. With that in mind, our Executive Board voted earlier this afternoon to suspend the five week strike, and return to work on Wednesday, February 20t
Washington may soon intervene in the school bus strike that has left parents of about 150,000 New York City school children scrambling for alternative transportation since last week.
The National Labor Relations Board has stepped into the dispute that is pitting the Bloomberg administration against more than 7,000 school bus drivers.
Workers of the world — give us a break.
On Wednesday the already hard-pressed families of Queens and the rest of New York City had yet another unnecessary burden placed upon them when school bus drivers and aides with Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union went on strike.
More than 150,000 city children were looking for rides to school this week.
A yellow school bus driver union representing roughly 9,000 drivers called a strike starting Wednesday over the city’s plan to bid more than 1,000 routes, but not include provisions in the bid contracts that protect the jobs of current employees.