By Betsy Scheinbart
Robert Cassar, president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1182, rejected comments made last week by a former traffic enforcement agent who has accused the union of corruption.
Moses Green, founder of Concern Agents of Traffic, or CATS, a Jamaica-based organization whose mission is to educate Local 1182 members of their rights, spoke out against Cassar and the union he runs at CAT’s first annual summit meeting Sept. 16.
Green and Cassar both said unflattering things about each other in separate interviews, but Cassar said he is not angry with Green, whose complaints with the union stem from the transfer of traffic enforcement agents from the city Department of Transportation to the Police Department in 1996.
Green contended the transfer was illegal and that Cassar never informed the union members of their rights to protest the transfer.
Cassar disagreed with Green and cited the number of court cases he and his organization had brought against the union and the NYPD and lost.
Green filed and lost at least five improper-practice suits against Local 1182, which cost the union a lot of money, Cassar said.
“He took us to court over the last election,” Cassar said of Green. “Every move we made had to be made available to the state court judge.”
Cassar said the judge not only failed to find anything wrong with the election but actually praised the union for following the law perfectly.
As for Green’s call to unseat Cassar, who is serving his third term as union president, Cassar said: “I think he needs to get off me.”
Green formed CAT in 1998 after he said a co-worker was denied sick leave, worked through her illness and died. Green considers the CWA Local 1182 responsible for her death.
Cassar said the worker, Ramona Davis, never called in sick that day and even if she had, the decision to grant sick leave is a management issue, not a union privilege.
“The record will show that this agent never called in sick,” Cassar said. “What the hell does the union have to do with that? Management has the right to deny sick leave.”
Davis had high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems, Green said.
“She had a condition and she died,” Cassar said. “The [police] department did not make her sick.”
Cassar said Davis’ family would like Green to stop using Davis’ name in his organization’s flyers and T-shirts.
“They are really tired of this,” Cassar said. “They want this guy to leave their daughter’s name alone.”
Davis’ family could not be reached for comment by press time.
Green believes he was fired in 1999 because he brought Davis’ death to the attention of union and Police Department officials.
The NYPD found Green guilty of being “absent without leave for five consecutive tours,” according to the document describing his dismissal.
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.
Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.