I have been a proud member of this Local for 45 years. I started in the industry working for Varsity School Bus in August 1977. I began sweeping floors and fueling school buses in the shop at the Brooklyn yard on Fountain Avenue. In my early days, I was often used to filling in as a driver and/or an attendant. In 1979 I was part of the 14-week school bus strike after a bid by New York City removed employee protections. The strike ended with the city agreeing to the Employee Protection Provision (EPP) which enabled experienced school bus workers to maintain tenure, wages, and benefits in the city school bus system. Although the EPP protected the workers, it did not protect Varsity School Bus and so as a result of the loss of work caused by the bid I was laid off in July 1979 by Varsity. In October 1979, Varsity acquired Command Bus which was one of the seven private lines in New York City operating mass transit routes (years later to become MTA Spring Creek Depot). As a shop employee of Command Bus, soon after I ran for a shop steward and won, starting my career with the union.
In 1989 I was offered by Local 1181 President John Ambrosio a position with the funds of Local 1181 and began working in the disability department. In 1996 I became an Executive Board Member of ATU Local 1181-1061. In 2003 I was elected Recording Secretary and between 2009-2022 I was elected President/ Business Agent. During my tenure as President of this great union, I have governed this through the most trying years this local union
has ever endured.
In January 2013, we engaged in an industry-wide strike that brought our fight for the EPP in NYC to the forefront and enabled us to secure a pledge from then NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio to reinstate the EPP, which ended our five-week strike.
After the strike, the Companies in NYC I was negotiating with on the members’ behalf declared an impasse and imposed a contract on the members that reduced wages amongst other things. I immediately took the position that the impasse was illegal and filed a NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) charge against the companies. As the star witness, I testified for days at the Labor Board fighting for the members’ rights- we won! Most of our
members received their back pay. I made sure those new contacts had no reduction in wages and they protected our Medical Benefits and Pensions.
While all of that was going on, I began a campaign to win the support of local politicians and parents in the City of New York including City Council Members, the Public Advocate, the Comptroller, Parents Activist Groups, and the new Mayor, so that we can restore the EPP and secure decent jobs for our Drivers, Matrons, and Mechanics. My administration (on a higher level) gained the cooperation of State Senators and Assemblymembers so that they
may once again try to pass into law an EPP Bill.
Though some of my opponents during those dark days kept saying the union was weak, I never gave up hope that we could win the EPP back and I will continue to fight for the EPP with the new administration of ATU Local 1181-1061. I have testified several times at City Council hearings and held Press Conferences advocating the return of the EPP.
For Long Island, ParaTransit, MTA Bus, Rockland, and Westchester I continued to negotiate contracts and represent our members there better than companies covered by other labor contracts in those areas. During my aggressive leadership, we continued to organize the unorganized and secured a contract with MV WAV, bringing in over 200 new members and adding NYC TLC For-hire drivers to this Local.
As President, I negotiated for the first time in the NYC contracts in 2010 that members who retire will have medical benefits. During my tenure and hard-fought negotiations, contracts in the MTA, Paratransit, Long Island, Rockland, and Westchester have moved forward by increasing wages and company 401k contributions among other improvements. Under my previous leadership (and now w/ the new administration), the current NYC contracts are moving forward once again including saving our medical plan and restoring benefits that we lost in the past. As former President of this Local, I also served as a member of the New York City Central Labor Council, Executive Board member of the Long Island Federation of Labor, and former Vice President on the NYS AFL-CIO Executive Council. I partnered with parents groups to work together to lobby State and City officials to promote safe reliable transportation
As Chairman of the Trustees of the Medical and Pension funds I have secured a healthy pension fund for the members’ future and will continue to do so. To say it has been a privilege and honor to represent this Local and serve as President/Business Agent between 2009-2022 is an understatement. I am proud to be a member of this Local and will forever support ATU Local 1181-1061!