May 15, 2017
By Silver Krieger
New York, NY — CWA Local 1182 held a general meeting on Saturday, April 22nd, at the Hotel Pennsylvania in midtown Manhattan. The meeting covered many topics and encompassed awards given to a select few, as well as some retirees since 2015.
Politicians, Executive Board Members, attorneys and lobbyists for the union, members, and retirees were on hand. The meeting was chaired, and called to order by President of Local 1182, Syed Rahim. Mohammed Shahjahan, Secretary and Treasurer of Local 1182, conducted the meeting.
Shahjahan introduced guest Peter J. Abbate, Jr., Assemblyman of the 49th District, who has introduced a bill, 6468, that would grant peace officer status to traffic enforcement agents. “Day in and day out you face some of the angriest people in the street. I’m proud to have this bill, and we will try to get it out of committee and on the agenda,” said Abbate. Syed Rahim, President of Local 1182, then presented Abbate with an award for his service to the union.
Next, Stephen J. Mogila of Pitta, LLP, spoke to the members about the plan that is now set up for the members’ retirement fund. “It wasn’t easy, the City didn’t make it easy,” he said. Now, however, members can have input into their personal investments, and name a beneficiary, all online, at www.principal.com.
Rahim spoke next, telling those assembled, “It has been an honor and a privilege to represent you in the past 22 months. I want to acknowledge all the Executive Board Members and their hard work and cooperation.” He said that despite great achievements, “We still have a far way to go, to get the respect and fair compensation from the City of New York and the NYPD. My members do a lot of out-of-title jobs.” This issue was raised with the Police Commissioner, he said, and the NYPD agreed on that, and they want to give out-of-title money to Level I and II TEA’s. Rahim is also working for title change of the members, from Traffic Enforcement Agent to Traffic Enforcement Officer. He discussed this with the Police Commissioner on Friday, April 21st. Also of concern has been annuities and gain sharing. Gain sharing is a discussion between labor and management on enhancing productivity and reforming aspects of the TEA job which benefit the members and result in savings to the City. The savings would have to be measurable and would be shared with all agents. If an agreement is reached, it would result in additional compensation. Rahim also this discussed the gain sharing at the meeting with the Police Commissioner on April 21st, for the reason that some of his members are doing out-of-title jobs. The amount of the money would be determined by the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations; the Police Commissioner said he agreed, and would convey this to the Mayor. Also discussed was the upgrade of all Level I TEA’s to Level II, which the Commissioner agreed to as well. Eventually everyone will upgrade to Level II, Rahim said. Rahim then discussed the prescription cap of $3500, which he said was inadequate. “This is a very small amount of money. We are trying to increase the cap,” he said. He said the union had gone to the CWA for an increase for up to $7000, because the drug costs are rising, but hadn’t yet heard back. The next negotiation would be in January 2018. “We will demand more money for the health and benefit fund,” he said. Rahim also announced that seven college scholarships will be offered to members’ children. He then alerted the members that every 20 years there is a vote on whether or not to amend the Constitution, and asked all not to vote yes, but to vote no, saying that voting “yes” would jeopardize pension benefits. Rahim also said he was working to get the Peace Officer bill passed, by working with the Assembly and Senate, and that the union’s lobbyist was working on it. “Once I again, I thank all members for their support, friendship, and confidence which you have placed in me. We have to stand united. If we are divided, we can’t do anything,” he added.
Shahjahan then, prior to introducing the next speaker, Bob Bishop of Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno LLC, spoke about the title change issue. Bishop then took the podium, told the crowd, “When you meet politicians, your neighbors, or anyone in Albany, talk about passing 6468, sponsored by Peter Abbate.”
Vito Bishop of Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno spoke next, on the title change. “The City Charter has
no reference to ‘TEA’. We explained to the [Police] Department that they can change this. Traffic Enforcement Officer is the appropriate title. This name will influence the public. We will continue to meet with the Police Commissioner [about this].” He also told the members that they may be asked to participate in a letter writing campaign about the title change.
Next, former President of Local 1182 James Huntley was presented with an award for his service to the union.
Concetta Puglisi of Fagenson & Puglisi spoke next, speaking about solutions for members whose children become involved with drugs.
Stuart Lichten of Lichten and Bright spoke next about the amendment of by-laws related to the Sanitation Enforcement Agents which will be voted on in the next meeting. The amendment will eliminate the names of some SEA leaders.
Tammy Meadows, Vice President of Local 1182, then spoke about 9/11 related diseases. Members who worked in the vicinity and were affected are entitled to “get what is due to us,” she said, “not just police and fire-fighters.” She was followed by Patrick Hughes, of the WTC Health Clinic, who asked the people in the crowd to raise their hand if they were at ground zero, and said that they could enroll in a program that is federally funded and come to one of five clinics, once a year, for a monitoring exam. And, if illness develops, their health care will be paid for. Christopher Baione from Pitta and Baione, a victim compensation attorney, told members that he can help seek compensation for 9/11 illnesses.
Public Advocate Tish James then addressed the crowd, thanking them “for all you do in NYC.” She said she’d fought for them to get a raise and a better contract last year, and that she would work for future contracts.
Meadows then addressed the crowd again, urging the members to participate on lobby day, May 9th, by rallying for the title change to peace officer’s bill.
Lawrence Fagenson, of Fagenson & Puglisi, then told of scam phone calls people have been receiving, claiming to be from the IRS, saying that a payment must be made immediately, and threatening deportation, arrest, or prosecution if money was not forthcoming. Although the IRS now has hired private companies to call individuals about collecting taxes, real IRS agents will not make such threats, he said, and said to call his office if there were questions.
Next, Robert Grey of Grey & Grey spoke on assaults, slip and falls, trip and falls, and vehicular accidents that happen to TEA’s. “You have a dangerous job,” he said. “Every day TEA’s get hurt. You do have legal rights, including the right to file worker’s compensation claims. There are three things you must do if hurt on the job: report the accident to supervision within 30 days, file a claim with the state workers compensation board, the C3 form, and see a doctor who takes workers compensation.
Felix Ortiz, Assembly Member from the 51st district, and Assistant Speaker, then came on stage, thanking the people for “all they do to keep us safe.” He said it was important to get the passage of Bill 6468 done this session, and told people to make a call to state senators.
Next, recognition was given to a number of members who had performed heroic action in the line of duty. Sokumbi Olufemi, Executive Vice President of Local 1182, called the names and told the stories of each one.
Retirees were honored next, with each presented with an award featuring a clock, as well as a $200 gift check.
Secretary-Treasurer Shahjahan then told the members about the 2016 financial report.
Shahjahan also told the members about accomplishments of the new team from 2015-2017.
The meeting then proceeded with an audience Q & A.
In conclusion, Rahim said that all members will get their new raincoat in May. Also, he said that all members have received a PBA card, and to make sure that when a police officer pulls you over for a moving violation, show the PBA card and request a courtesy, and be on your best behavior. He thanked the members for participating, and adjourned the meeting.