By Betsy Scheinbart
Moses Green, founder of Concerned Agents of Traffic, an organization that has accused their local union of corruption, called the group’s first annual summit meeting at Roy Wilkins Park in South Jamaica Sunday.
The meeting, held at the main picnic area of the park, was attended by about a dozen adults and nearly as many children, but only a few of them had traffic enforcement backgrounds.
Green, a former traffic enforcement agent, is an outspoken opponent of the union that represents New York traffic agents, the Communications Workers of America Local 1182, headed by Robert Cassar.
“That local president had taken unionizing back 50 years,” Green said of Cassar.
Most of Green’s criticism of the union stems from the transfer of traffic enforcement agents from the city Department of Transportation to the police department in 1996.
Green claims the transfer was illegal because it was not voted on by the members of Local 1182. “The president [Cassar] told us we had no options,” Green said.
Cassar did not return phone calls requesting comment by press time.
Green further claims that union members have been denied rights given to them in the CWA constitution and in the by-laws of Local 1182.
“They keep members in the dark and unaware of their union rights,” Green said.
CAT’s goal is to make CWA Local 1182 members aware of their rights and to call for the expulsion of Cassar as president of the union.
Flora Porter, a former traffic agent, said she supports CAT’s efforts. “They’re trying to get members informed of their rights, because they are not aware of a lot of things,” Porter said.
She said the union is “not working for the members, they are working for the management and that’s not fair to the members.”
Green formed CAT in 1998 after a co-worker was allegedly denied sick leave, worked through her illness and died. Ramona Davis, who suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments, died in a hospital a few days after she tried to call in sick, Green said.
Green is holding the CWA Local 1182 responsible for her death.
Green believes he was fired in 1999 because he brought Davis’ death to the attention of union and police department officials.
“They wanted to get rid of me — by any means possible,” Greens said of the union and the NYPD.
The NYPD found Green guilty of being “absent without leave for five consecutive tours,” according to the document describing his dismissal.
But Green was injured on the job in 1990 and took sick days to receive treatment and visit the police department’s counseling services unit, he said.
He also believes he was fired under an administrative code written for police officers, while traffic agents are not police officers, he said.
His attempts to be reinstated as a traffic agent have failed.
Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.