New York, NY – Sergeant Bill Morrissey, a 20-year NYPD veteran and union delegate, is working on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis. LaborPress recently talked with him about the challenges he and the rest of his brothers and sisters are facing on the job.
The Bronx-born and Pennsylvania-raised Morrissey has a lot of tough assignments — not the least of which is home schooling his four children, ages 6, 8, 10 and 12.
Morrissey works the night shift, 3 p.m. to midnight. He grew up in a union household. His dad was an electrician and a member IBEW Local 3 for 40 years.
“That’s how I got my union roots,” Morrissey says.
He began his NYPD career patrolling the Lower East Side on the streets of Alphabet City. After 10 years, Morrissey took the sergeants exam and moved over to the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush where he’s been ever since.
In 2013, he became an SBA [Sergeants Benevolent Association] delegate. Later, in 2017, Morrissey became the Brooklyn South director of the SBA. He is now the head union delegate for all the patrol precincts in Brooklyn South.
Up to one-third of the sergeants within Morrissey’s command are out sick. Thankfully, there have been no deaths, but as many as 20-percent of members have tested positive for COVID-19.
LP: What are the dangers facing your members now?
SBM: The biggest concern from members is the fear of bringing [COVID-19] home with them. Some members are immunocompromised, and are concerned about their health because of contact [with the public] at work. Some have family members that are immunocompromised. Going forward, the mental aspect will be challenging. Those who have it and are self-quarantined and have come out and might have a fear of being re-infected…I know guys who had it and have been hospitalized for two weeks. It was physically painful. They are scared of being re-infected. It’s so new and nobody knows. Some members have loved ones who have passed away and no one has been able to mourn properly. Members [themselves] have passed away and we have not been able to mourn properly. This is a big thing – in the future we will have to deal with this as unions. Also, families where one person has lost their job because of this [face challenges].
LP: What aspect of the job has been the most challenging for you?
SBM: The amount of D.O.A.’s we are answering to is unreal. What we would answer to in a week in my command we [now] answer to in a day — it’s surreal.
LP: Do your members have the PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] they need?
SBM: Yes, we have it. I generally wear it. It depends what I’m dealing with. If I go into residences or if I’m having interactions with the public, yes.
LP: What is the union doing for its members?
SBM: Earlier in the month, the SBA office got PPE and distributed it to all ranks. Also, every Sergeant gets a daily Coronavirus bulletin via email. Any information they’ve acquired to keep the members informed goes into the bulletin. It also goes up on the Twitter page.