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TEA Officers Salute At Awards Ceremony

December letter to the members

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December 1, 2015

Sisters and Brothers:
It has been a very hectic four months since you elected me as your President. Let me take this opportunity to update you on the work that I and my colleagues on the Executive Board have been engaged in to significantly improve the pay, benefits, and working conditions of Traffic Enforcement and Sanitation Enforcement Agents. I am devoting all of my energy and union resources to the task of bargaining with the City to make significant gains for our membership. Towards this end I have retained top professional talent to help in the effort and we have been meeting and are continuing to bargain with the City to markedly enhance our job.

I have requested our professional team to explore and research all options to ensure that we negotiate the best contract possible for our membership. This includes legal options and arbitration if the City doesn’t bargain in good faith. We have submitted a list of financial and non- financial demands designed to improve our compensation, benefits and working conditions. First and foremost is the demand to significantly restructure our pay schedules. Presently virtually none of our members reach the maximum rate of pay because it’s at the discretion of NYPD. This has a detrimental effect on the paychecks of all our members and reduces their pension benefits upon retirement. New York City has saved lots of money at the expense of our work force. Our union over the last two decades has attempted to amend the pay schedule but the City refused. I am committed to achieving this goal.

While we are laboring under a difficult dynamic because of a compensation pattern set by 85% of the unions I believe we can achieve real gains by being creative. We are exploring a number of options including extending a new contract by a couple of months which will result in additional money for our members. Our negotiator is also discussing gain sharing for new tasks that the City is asking our members to perform. An example is the Auto Collision Response, where some of our members are participating in a pilot program replacing police officers by responding to accidents and completing reports. I have made it clear to the City that if we don’t receive additional compensation for the citywide expansion of this out of title task we will file grievances.

Other financial demands include improved longevity payments, overtime pay and the implementation of an annuity plan that will bolster compensation upon retirement. Non-financial demands include improving the working conditions such as ensuring that vehicles are clean and well maintained and other work day rules. Bargaining is a process of give and take.

While we realize that we won’t achieve all the demands we are proposing I believe that some are non-negotiable. Restructuring our pay schedule to improve the present and future pay of our members is in the non-negotiable category.

I am fully aware that the membership has been patiently waiting for a contract settlement and retroactive pay. I am working hard to provide you with a contract that has significant improvements for the hard work we do for New York City. I am balancing the need for a quick resolution with a fair contract. I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to make concrete changes that will improve our pay, benefits and working conditions.

Once again, thank you for your support and patience. Rest assured I am doing everything possible to provide all our members with an agreement that will include significant improvements. My hope is that fairly soon you will have a ratification vote.

I want to wish all of you and your loved ones, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Blessed New Year!

In Solidarity,

Syed Rahim
President
CWA Local 1182

MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT RAHIM

Sisters and Brothers:

I would like to thank all of you for electing me president of Local 1182. Whether you voted for me or not, I am here to represent all of our members to the best of my ability.

My first priority is negotiating a better contract. We have not had a new contract for six years, as former Mayor Bloomberg refused to give us a raise. Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered us a 10 percent salary increase. That is not enough.

We are generating lots of revenue for New York City, but we are grossly underpaid. Some of us make barely more than the minimum wage. We even have some members staying in shelters.

We are demanding significant improvements in base pay and other benefits for our TEAs and SEAs. We deserve to be paid a salary that enables us to earn a decent living and compensates us for the physical risks of the job. I have hired lawyers, a lobbyist, and an economist to help us win what we are worth.

Our safety is my other priority. Last month, ten of our members were assaulted by motorists in the Bronx alone. Assaulting a traffic enforcement agent is a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison, but that law is not adequately enforced. I will work to see that it is strictly enforced. We are scheduling meetings with the Police Department and the borough district attorneys.

I also intend to improve our working environment and increase our benefits. I will keep the membership fully informed about all developments at the bargaining table.

I came here to serve you better. I am working for all my brothers and sisters in Local 1182.

In solidarity,

Syed Rahim
President
CWA Local 1182

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