Asbestos Handler, Assistant City Highway Repairer, Associate Park Service Worker, Associate Urban Park Ranger, City Seasonal Aide, High Pressure Plant Tender, Motor Transport Worker, Motor Vehicle Operator, Motor Vehicle Operator Supervisor, Senior Motor Vehicle Operator Supervisor, Plant Filter Operator, Plant Maintainer, Skate Guard, Summer Youth Field Supervisor, Supervisor of Motor Transport Worker, Traffic Enforcement Agent Level III, Traffic Enforcement Agent Level IV, Urban Park Ranger.
from Local 983 Election Committee
Local 983 members Jolifer Noe, Carmen Rodriguez, Nativa Palmer, Eric Auguste, and Richard Rivera argued that allowing members to vote remotely violated the Local 983 Constitution. They sued the Election Committee and the union, and asked a judge to stop the election. They asked the judge to compel the Election Committee and the union to allow only in-person voting. The Election Committee was opposed to this, and, among other things, argued that the Local 983 Constitution did not require in-person voting.
The judge disagreed with the Election Committee and ruled that the Local 983 Constitution required in-person voting. He also dismissed the Committee’s concerns about the risks that in-person voting presented to our members. In a June 10 Order, he directed the Election Committee to provide him with an “Election Plan” that was consistent with his order, which also said that the Election Committee could not hold the election until the judge “vacates” his June 10 order.
The Election Committee disagreed strongly with the judge’s June 10 Order. We thought that (a) the Local 983 Constitution does not require in-person voting, and (b) that forcing members to run the risk of COVID exposure if they want to exercise their right to vote was wrong, not required by the Local 983 Constitution, and not required by the law.
The Election Committee’s lawyers appealed the June 10 Order, asking the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court to “stay” the June 10 order until it ruled on the appeal. On June 23, a judge from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court issued a brief order that said the judge who issued the June 10 Order could not set a date for the Local 983 election.
On July 19, a panel of five Appellate Division of the Supreme Court judges issued an order saying that the judge who issued the June 10 order could not set a date for the election until the Election Committee’s appeal was decided.
The rest of the June 10 Order remains in effect, and the Election Committee is obligated to follow it. The June 10 Order requires the Election Committee to prepare an Election Plan, submit it to the people who sued, and then submit it to the Court. The Committee did just that and an Election Plan set an August 18 election date.
As the June 10 Order states that only in-person voting was allowed, and because the Election Committee has a duty to follow that order, the Election Plan said there could only be in-person voting.
To be clear, the Election Plan we submitted was done with the strong objection of the Election Committee, which believes that the court had no power to restrict voting to in-person only. We believe that by disallowing any other form of voting, and by compelling in-person voting, the court is putting members at risk of exposing themselves to COVID if they want to vote. However, because the Election Committee has a duty to follow the June 10 Order, we issued an Election Plan that obeyed that order.
While the Election Committee submitted the Election Plan, it did so “without prejudice to its pending appeal and pending motion under CPLR Section 5519.” In plain talk, that means that the Election Committee submitted the Election Plan because the court ordered us to do so in the June 10 Order, but we did not give up our legal arguments that the June 10 Order was wrongly decided. Since both the June 23 and July 19 orders of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court said that the lower court cannot set a date for the election, as of today, no election date has been set.
On July 20, the lawyer representing Jolifer Noe, Carmen Rodriguez, Nativa Palmer, Eric Auguste, and Richard Rivera asked the judge who issued the June 10 order to force the Election Committee to hold the election on August 18, and to force members to vote in-person if they want to vote.
The Election Committee opposed that request for two reasons:
The Election Committee still thinks it is wrong to force members to vote in-person because doing so will put members at risk of COVID exposure. We think that members should be able to vote remotely if they want to; it’s the safer option and it’s not forbidden by the Local 983 or AFSCME constitutions.
The July 19 order of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court's forbids the judge from setting an election date until it decides on the Election Committee’s appeal of the June 10 order, and that has not yet happened.
On July 26, the judge who issued the June 10 order heard arguments from the lawyers, agreed with the Election Committee, and decided that he did not have the power to order an election be held on August 18.
What does this all mean for you, the Local 983 member?
First, it means that there is no date set for the election. If anyone tells you that there is a date for the election, they’re wrong.
Second, it means that the Election Committee is still fighting for you, the members, to be allowed to vote remotely, and fighting against the attempt by Jolifer Noe, Carmen Rodriguez, Nativa Palmer, Eric Auguste, and Richard Rivera to force members to vote in-person. The Election Committee is doing this because we do not want a single member to catch COVID while waiting online to vote. We believe the Local 983 and AFSCME constitutions do not forbid remote voting.
Finally, it means that the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court will decide whether the judge who issued the June 10 order was right to do so. Until then, no election date will be set.
We will update you when we get more information.
Local 983 Election Committee
All information about membership meetings and other Local 983 events can be found on the calendar page.
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In compliance with a June 10, 2022, order issued by Supreme Court, New York County, the Local 983 election of officers previously scheduled for June 14, 2022, will not be going forward on that date. The Local Election Committee will be communicating with the membership in the near future regarding when the election will be held and the details of how it will be held.
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We are asking our traffic family to come together once again to help one of our own, TEA 3 Roderick Holder, who was suspended by NYPD while towing in the 42 PCT area. Brother Holder declined a direct order to tow a vehicle under a Bogus NO Parking Anytime sign nailed to a tree. If you would like to contribute to help our union brother, call our Local 983 Bronx Tow Shop Steward Sandra Lynch at 917.796.2645. Any amount will be appreciated. Donations are not for legal assistance as Local 983 has already assigned him legal counsel. In Solidarity!
So, here we are, with a new website we are really proud of that provides our members with all the information that they previously needed to contact the Local 983 office to obtain. While the entire site is open to everyone, the Benefits section is private and open only to members and retirees who were all provided with individual passwords. If you did not receive yours, please call the Union office to obtain it.
This year has been full of change. Our country has a new President and Vice President. New York City has finally started to re-open after almost 18 months of pandemic shut down. New York State’s governor resigned amidst a sexual assault scandal, and we now have our first female governor with Kathy Hochul. New York City is about to get a new mayor, and the City Council, for the first time, could very well have a majority of female members after the November General Election.
Throughout all of this, we have learned that we, as organized labor, cannot always control what goes on outside, but we can often play a part in making change. With DC 37, we supported many candidates for City Council who won their primary elections and are en route to win in November as well. These are candidates who have proven to be on the side of labor, who have shown they will support us when we need them, and we know will have an open-door policy when we come knocking.
And, throughout all of this change, we have learned that what we can control is what goes on inside of our own Local 983 house. These past couple of years have shown us that when we work together and stand together, we become stronger and more resilient. Everything we do as an Executive Board is for the betterment of our 3,000-plus members. Our Union is about you. So be sure to scroll down and sign up for our emails, our Union updates, and our newsletters. It’s the best way for us to keep in touch with you and for you to know what’s going on with your Union.