ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

January 29, 2013

2013.01.29: This Saturday – One year memorial for Ramarly Graham

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 5:06 pm

From: Herschel, Lucy
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 5:06 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Cc: Gusberg, Jessica
Subject: This Saturday – One year memorial for Ramarly Graham

From: Jess Gusberg and Lucy Herschel

Sisters and Brothers – this Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the death of Ramarly Graham, the unarmed 18yr old who as shot by the police in his own home in front of his 6 year old brother and grandmother.  (See attached resolution that many of our members here signed onto and was passed by the 1199 Exec. Committee)

The vigil starts at 2pm, this Sat., Feb 2,  at the house at 749 E. 229th Street in the Bronx at and will march to the precinct.  (take the 2 or the 5 to 225th St.) Please let us know if you can meet us up there. It would be great if we could have a Legal Aid and/or 1199 and/or ALAA contingent there.

Ramarly’s mom, Constance Malcolm, who is an 1199 nursing home member, and his father Franclot Graham have led a superhuman battle to demand justice for their son and all victims of police brutality, with weekly vigils as their house for the first 6 mos. followed by mass mobilizations for each of the court dates.  (Folks may remember that after the police officer who shot him, Richard Haste, was indicted, an army of cops showed up at the court house to cheer and applauded him).  Constance and Frank have been at the forefront of pulling together an alliance of families who have lost loved ones to police violence, including the families of Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr, Shantel Davis, Mohamad Bah, as well as Margarita Rosario, the Bell Family and more.  All of these folks, as well as Al Sharpton and Central Park Jogger defendant Yusef Saalam participated a powerful memorial dinner at the 1199 union hall in December, as well as supporting the family at the last court date in December.

The next court date is not until March 26th. We will be talking to management about getting release time for that date, as well as the trial once it happens, just as we have for the earlier dates.  Clearly, Haste’s attorneys are trying to drag this out as long as they can. This weekend’s vigil is an important step in keeping up the momentum.

Below is a message from Constance about the vigil this Saturday.

Good Day Ramarley’s Supporters,

It has been a while since our last email, but we have been organizing what and how we should honor our son Ramarley Graham.  February 2, 2013 will mark the one year date that NYPD officer Richard Haste kicked my apartment door down and murdered my son in my bathroom.

It has been a trying time for Frank and myself being that the holidays came and past and we could not celebrate because we didn’t have our son.  Let’s not forget and lets keep reminding the NYPD of what one of their comrade did on the evening of February 2, 2012 by coming out in the magnitude of numbers you did when you just heard and was sicken to your stomach of such an act. Let your presence be a constant reminder that we are not SLEEPING.  We will be rallying and memorializing Ramarley on February 2, 2013 in front of 749 East 229th Street, between Barnes and White Plains Road, Bronx, NY 10466.

Please see the attached flyer.  Frank and myself need your support.

Thank you for your continuous support

Constance Malcolm
Franclot Graham

2013.01.29: Thank you [K.]: Bargaining 2013

From: Edwards, Lisa
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 9:26 AM
Subject: Thank you [K.]: Bargaining 2013

At tonight’s JC’s meeting lets have a talk about process.  I do not know [K.] personally, but I want to thank her for calling into question the actions of the union leadership publicly and demanding that the EB return to the bargaining table. She was criticized harshly for “mischaracterizing” the actions of the EB.  However, but for her actions, we would not be where we are today, deciding on a negotiated contract offer, albeit a very poor one.  So thank you [K.] and everyone else on the EB whose vote was overruled but who knew sending that sorry initial offer to the membership was a cave in.  We should all thank her.

Once again,  I call for general membership meetings when issues arise that impact us union wide and that such meetings be scheduled in a timely manner during work hours.  We should also have monthly bargaining updates whether there is a lull in negotiations or not.  Lastly, we should have a candidates forum for elections during which both contested and non contested candidates can field questions, express their reasons for running for office and their plans for the future.  Process, transparency and process.  You can never get around that.

BTW.  Brooklyn, you are not alone.  Represent!!

In solidarity,

Lisa R. Edwards

Harlem Community Law Office

Former EB member and delegate from way back.

January 24, 2013

2013.01.24: Re: Trees and the fruit they bear

From: [D.]
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:05 PM
Subject: Re: Trees and the fruit they bear

I was on the EB for 2 bargaining negotiations under two different Union presidents.

While there are certain aspects of bargaining that should remain within the EB for reasons that should be obvious to a bunch of lawyers who negotiate for a living, there is nothing wrong with having an open debate about various options. In this day and age e-mail is the obvious vehicle for that. Sometimes it isn’t the worst thing in negotiations for the opposite side to hear that some folks aren’t jumping at the first offer on the table. And I don’t care if some supervisors hear that there are union members who don’t want them to get a bonus. I don’t know that I personally agree with that position but I’m sure glad it is out there.

Lastly, I am tired of some EB members hiding behind this idea that if we all know how they voted then negotiations will go down in flames. What a convenient, yet non-existent, rule. Since when shouldn’t we know if our elected representatives did a good job representing us? As a Senior Attny I’d sure like to know who voted against my interests, and I want to know that my Senior Attny reps did a good job advocating for me. If not, they won’t have my vote in the future.

January 17, 2013

2013.01.17: Samples of past updates on bargaining

From:  Morris, Susan
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2013 12:06 PM
Subject: Samples of past updates on bargaining

The following link provides samples of updates on contract negotiations the were regularly disseminated to the membership.

This is from 1999 bargaining, and the archive links lead to other years’ bargaining and status reports as well.

January 16, 2013

2013.01.16: School bus drivers’ strike solidarity

Filed under: Labor Solidarity — nyclaw01 @ 3:02 pm

From: Herschel, Lucy

Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 10:57 AM

To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members

Subject: School bus drivers’ strike solidarity

First of all, if you are a parent of a child effected by the strike, I hope the City resolves this soon so that you may go back to your normal lives. A lot of parent groups have spoken out on behalf of the drivers, because they know who important union protections are to their children’s safety.

I was at a picket line this morning. The workers were fired up. They know that if they loose this fight, they loose job security and many of them will be out of a job come the Fall. Bloomberg talks about saving the City money, but as the folks I spoke to this morning pointed out, if they loose their jobs they will be forced into unemployment, welfare, homelessness etc., costing the City and the State money.

This folks are already a step away from poverty. The women I spoke to all make around $24-25,000 a year. They have no paid sick time, so a day not worked is a day without pay. They also only get paid for 40 weeks a year and have to apply for unemployment for every school break. Bloomberg is insisting that his hands are tied, but it was the City manufactured this whole crisis. Below is an article that explains what the strike issues are.

A list of picket location is attached. Picket lines are 24/7.

Analysis: Don Lash

School bus drivers plan strike

The city wants to save money, no matter what the cost to safety, explains Don Lash.

January 16, 2013

SOME 9,000 school bus drivers, mechanics and attendants in New York City are set to strike on Wednesday, January 16, in defense of decent working conditions and the safety of the students they serve.

Months ago, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) essentially set out to provoke a strike in order to break the union, as part of a long-term strategy to reduce spending on pupil transportation.

“This is the New York equivalent of Scott Walker’s attempts to strip workers in public services of their wages and benefits,” said Larry Hanley, president of the 190,000-member Amalgamated Transit Union. “That’s what it’s intended to do. It is an assault on the foundation of decent wages and decent health care and decent retirement standards.”

The city claims that it has no choice in the matter, insisting that a court ruling compels its negotiators to end the inclusion of job protection clauses in contracts it negotiates with private bus companies.

Fortunately for the DOE–although not for the children riding the buses and the workers charged with delivering them to and from school safely–the mainstream media have limited themselves to repeating the DOE talking points that Amalgamated Transit Union (ATTU) Local 1181 is determined to force an “illegal” strike which will harm children and inconvenience parents.

“This is a strike against our children,” said DOE Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott at a rare Sunday press conference on January 13. “It is illegal as far as what they are asking us to do, and they are hurting our most vulnerable children, and it is unacceptable.” But a strike has been precisely the outcome that the city wanted.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE EMPLOYEE Protection Provision (EPP) that the city claims is now “illegal” was a major victory when the union won a three-month strike in 1979. Ever since, the city has required bus companies entering into contracts with the DOE–which does not own and operate buses itself–to prioritize experienced union drivers, mechanics and attendants in hiring. This means that a bidder can’t hire cheaper, inexperienced personnel in an effort to give itself a competitive advantage in crafting a low bid.

Bus personnel, who perform a difficult and stressful job and are entrusted with ensuring the safe transport of 152,000 children each day, have a base level of job security, even if their company fails to secure a contract or loses a route. Equally important, students are protected from a “race to the bottom” among bus companies competing to lower labor costs at the expense of safety and professionalism.

Bus companies objected to the EPP because it cut into their profits, but the city defended the EPP against lawsuits filed by bus companies. The city argued that there was an obvious connection between safety and the experience level of bus personnel. After a series of court rulings in favor of the bus companies was affirmed by the state’s highest court in June 2011, the city lobbied to have the state legislature pass a bill that would allow it to continue to include the EPP in its bidding process.

At that time, the city took the position that the bill was necessary “to ensure stability for vulnerable children” and to avoid a strike that would disrupt the lives of students and parents. In July 2011, the bill passed both houses without controversy and was sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.

Then, the city abruptly reversed itself and asked the governor to veto the bill it had just shepherded through the legislature. In doing so, it went back on everything it had been saying for years about the connection between competent and experienced personnel and maintaining high safety standards. Cuomo obligingly vetoed the bill.

What changed the DOE’s mind? The only possible explanation is that the DOE decided that saving money by eliminating the EPP and sparking a race to the bottom to lower labor costs was simply a higher priority than safety and stability.

The city, of course, knew that scrapping EPP would infuriate the union–in fact, it convinced the state legislature to pass the legislation it later called on the governor to veto by telling lawmakers that a strike would certainly follow if EPP wasn’t protected by legislation. By rejecting this protection as soon it was achieved, the city was calculating that it could defeat Local 1181 by forcing it into a strike.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

LOCAL 1181 has consistently said that it did not seek a strike, but has been left with no other option because the city is refusing to negotiate over EPP by citing its “illegality”–even though the city first supported then opposed the legislation that would have resolved the issue.

Rank-and-file members of the union are now working with a coalition of parents, and they are ready to fight if the city won’t budge. At a rally and press conference on January 6, parents and groups working to improve transportation services joined several hundred bus drivers and attendants. Rank-and-file members of the union blocked traffic on Broadway near City Hall, only letting city buses through.

The crowd was so large that the press conference was moved to a nearby park. But the union leadership missed an opportunity to address the crowd by only speaking during the press conference and then only into reporters’ microphones. No effort was made to amplify the statements of the leadership for the rank and file or parent supporters.

Nevertheless, the parents who attended the rally connected the issue of job security with the safety and well-being of their children. One parent of a child with autism who spoke to Free Speech Radio News said she was worried non-union drivers wouldn’t have the know-how to drive her special-needs child to school. In all, special-needs students make up 54,000 of the 152,000 kids transported by union drivers.

Bus personnel appear to have a strong sense of their collective power, despite the threats of injunctions and sanctions from the bus companies and insults from Chancellor Walcott and billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While the union may have some catching up to do in mobilizing parent support, there is an existing network of supportive parent groups, including Parents to Improve School Transportation, the From Day One Coalition, and Common Sense Busing.

The last strike involving yellow-bus personnel was in 1979, a completely different era in terms of municipal labor relations in New York. It will be vital for public employees, particularly in education and transit, to rally to the support of Local 1181 and to demand that their unions do likewise.

Supporters and allies will also have to work hard to broaden support among the parents of the approximately 1 million public school students. As the solidarity shown by parents during the strike of the Chicago Teachers Union this fall demonstrated, public school parents are recognizing that the attacks on teachers are closely connected to the attacks on their children. Similarly, this attack on bus drivers, attendants and mechanics is part of a broader war on public education and the rights of workers.

January 13, 2013

2013.01.13: FW: DAY OF OUTRAGE – Central Park Five Case Heats Up – demo Thurs., Jan 17th

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 11:04 pm
From: Codling, Antonia
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2013 11:04 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: FW: DAY OF OUTRAGE – Central Park Five Case Heats Up – demo Thurs., Jan 17th
Please let me know if you’re able to serve as a legal observer for the demo this Thursday.

From: Sistasplace []
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2013 9:23 PM
Subject: DAY OF OUTRAGE – Central Park Five Case Heats Up – demo Thurs., Jan 17th

DAY OF OUTRAGE! Central Park 5 Case Heats Up
As the civil case for justice for the Central Park 5 proceeds in the Federal Court House at 500 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan onThursday, January 17, 2012, the heat turns up in the street. Onthe same day the December 12th Movement and the Freedom Party, have called for a massive protest under the theme “Black Nation, Black Nationalism and Pan Africanism or Perish,” to be held one block away at Foley Square at Duane Street and Lafayette Street at 4pm calling for a “Day Of Outrage” demanding the long overdue justice and reparations.
Many view this critical case as a microcosm of the systemic oppression of the Black and Latino community. Five young men, Kharey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, and Antron McCray were wrongfully convicted 23 years ago in the brutal rape of a white investment banker dubbed “The Central Park Jogger” case. The teens spent 6 to 13 years inprison. The protest is also in resistance to the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy as a violation of the human rights of black and latino men in New York City.
At a recent forum in Harlem, spokesperson Omowale Clay declared, “In 2013, our people must have unity in action. We must push for self reliance, self determination, and become our own liberators. Every aspect of our lives is under attack. The only way we can fight and win is together and in the streets. We will get reparations for these young brothers now!”
The case has gained momentum in the past few months during the latest court hearings as community activist have mobilized to fill the court room. The New York City Police Department and Mayor Bloomberg’s administration have relentlessly stalled any progress on this blatantly open and shut case of police abuse and injustice. Serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the crime, the only DNA found at the crime scene was his, and the five men have been exonerated. Yet, they still refuse to admit any wrong doing.
More and more people are demanding the case be settled, particularly since the resent screenings of the David McMahon, Ken and Sarah Burns documentary focusing on the case. A Daily News Op Ed piece on Dec 24 demanded the case be resolved as quickly as possible, NYC Comptroller John Liu recently held a press conference urging a settlement.
Even former Assistant District Attorney Linda Fairstein, who called the shots in the original case felt the need to come out to the last court hearing. Ms. Fairstein had never shown her face in any court proceedings since the five teenagers went to prison on false charges with no physical evidence.
“Twenty three years of injustice have past so far. It’s time for the people of this city to stop Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg’s iron grip on injustice.”

January 11, 2013

2013.01.11: Legal Observer Request for a Rally in Support of the Central Park 5

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 2:48 pm

From: Codling, Antonia
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2013 4:52 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Legal Observer Request for a Rally in Support of the Central Park 5


Please contact me if you are willing to serve as a legal observer for this rally in support of the Central Park 5 – next Thursday, January 17, 2013 @ 4:00 p.m.

Also, please send out the attached flyer and post widely to list serves and your email list.

Thanks so much for your support!

January 7, 2013

2013.01.07: Social Justice Events

Filed under: Islamophobia,Palestine,Political Prisoners,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 2:52 pm

From: Torres, Azalia
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2013 2:40 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Social Justice Events

[Union Free Speech Notice: Like messages about any number of other issues, this is protected speech*] 


Today: Mon., Jan. 7, 6-8 p.m.

Jews For Palestinian Right of Return
As Jews of conscience, we call on all supporters of social justice to stand up for Palestinian Right of Return and a democratic state throughout historic Palestine — “From the River to the Sea” — with equal rights for all.
Full text:
Join Facebook event page:
Endorse: or e-mail

Today: Mon., Jan. 7, 6-8 p.m.

Global Solidarity with Palestinian Hunger Striker Issawi
Join us to tell the whole world that you are against administrative detention in which the Palestinians are detained with no charge or fair trial.
Location: Israeli consulate @ 800 2nd Avenue, Manhattan
FB event page:

Tues., Jan. 8, 2-3 p.m.

NY ❤ the Tar Sands Blockade
To educate the public about Tar Sands, the Keystone XL Pipeline, and the Tar Sands Blockade, and to explore ways we can resist fossil fuels closer to home, like the Spectra Pipeline and the approved Rockaway Pipeline.
Location: Union Square Park
FB event page:

Tues., Jan. 8, 3:30 p.m.

Press Conference and Vigil for Justice for Growing Incidents of Racial and Gender Violence
To address the growing incidents of racial violence targeting members of AMEMSA (Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian) communities across New York City, and the horrific rape and death in India.
Location: Jackson Heights Plaza (37th Road between 73rd and 74th Street) – Near the 7 train
FB event page:


**Collective Bargaining Agreement, §§ 3.5 (“The expression of personal religious, political, social or economic beliefs of each and every attorney is fully guaranteed and will never constitute grounds for discharge or relief from an individual assignment unless, in either instance, it can be demonstrated that such expression has, or will, directly interfere(d) with, and detract from, representation of a Society client so as to render said representation less than at the highest level of competence and effectiveness.”) and 1.5 (“The Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.”).


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