December 31, 2015
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Traffic and Sanitation Enforcement Agents have some of the most thankless jobs in town — the public roundly disdains them, and the city too often treats them like second-class employees. This week, on the LaborPress Radio Show/Podcast, CWA Local 1182 President Syed Rahim talks openly about the many challenges his 3,000 uniformed members continue to face on the streets of NYC – and whether or not they are closing in on a contract that finally grants members what they’ve always wanted — well-earned respect.
Writing tickets and issuing summonses generates about $700 million annually for the City of New York, but the folks responsible for keeping municipal coffers full and city streets clear can only expect to earn a paltry $1,200 to $1,300 a month. The sad fact, according to Syed Rahim, is that Traffic and Sanitation Enforcement Agents can put in 30 years on the job and still never see their salaries top $36,000.
The unsustainable wages are even more shocking when you consider that the success of the Fight for $15 movement means that New York City’s Traffic and Sanitation Enforcement Agents are now actually lagging behind fast food workers at McDonalds and KFC.
Members of Local 1182 have been waiting six long years for a new contract. Rahim calls them “grossly underpaid,” and says that TEAs and SEAs are still looked upon as little more than “civilian employees” — despite wearing the uniform and representing the city in the harshest urban environments imaginable.
The deBlasio administration, with Robert Linn at the head of Labor Relations, has attempted to be judicious in dealing with the multitude of municipal contracts left in former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s conservative wake — but the head of CWA Local 1182 tells LaborPress this week that ongoing negotiations with the present administration are moving too slow.
Although Syed Rahim, says Local 1182 isn’t looking to buck the pattern of negotiation the administration has already established with the city’s other municipal unions, many other issues particular to both Traffic and Sanitation Enforcement Agents remain outstanding. Among them: instituting dual patrols.
That said, Syed Rahim left the WWRL studios this week confident that members will, in fact, have a contract by the end of January.
A new year promises new challenges and opportunities for the entire Labor Movement, and on this week’s edition of the LaborPress Radio Show/Podcast, we talk about what 2016 might actually hold for working families all over town. We also hear from 32BJ President Hector Figueroa who gives his candid take on the year ahead.
Tune into WWRL 1600 AM this Sunday morning at 11 a.m. to hear all of this and more. And don’t forget to catch up on all of our past broadcasts at www.lainvasora1600.com. Look for “New York Voices” and click on LaborPress.
This year marked the earliest beginning of the LaborPress Radio Show/Podcast — expect even bigger and better things in 2016 — with lots more provacative talk and in depth reporting to help you keep better tabs on the ever-changing workplace.