June 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our Annual Dinner Dance was a huge success. We had several important guests in attendance including New York State Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and former New York City Comptroller John Lui.

John Lui is currently running for State Senate in Queens and has received the endorsement of the NYC and NYS Coalition of Operating Engineers. Former NYC Council member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., a candidate for Congress in New York’s 11th District covering Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, also attended.

The most important attendees were the nearly 600 members, families and friends who showed their support by participating and enjoying themselves. I thank all those who placed ads in our Journal and the 150 plus members who donated to the event by purchasing a ticket even though they were unable to attend.

Most of you have heard about and read certain details of the UFT’s new contract. The deal they reached is equitable and sets a pattern for us and other municipal unions to follow. That is not to say that we will get the exact same deal paid out over the same period of time. Oneobvious difference is our contract anniversary dates are different. Nothing is a “given” and everything is subject to our own successful negotiations. As I have stated on numerous occasions, I will not settle for anything less than the full raises and retroactive payments which I believe we are entitled. I have contacted the Mayor, met with Chancellor Fariña and spoken to the Office of Labor Relations about setting dates for negotiations as soon as possible. I will keep you apprised as things progress.
When I met with the new Chancellor, we discussed the many issues that affect the members of Local 891. I stressed the importance of bringing our contract up to date, and bringing the contracts of our workforce up to date as well. We discussed the need for a restoration of building al- location cuts and an increase in supply allocations. I expressed our opposition to privatization. The Chancellor recounted some past experiences with Custodian Engineers both good and bad. She stated that the schools seem to be in better condition and the Custodians generally are more responsive to the school administration and community then they were in the past. If she visits your school, make it a point to introduce yourself as the Custodian Engineer and a proud member of Local 891.
Vice President Matthew Wile is retiring as a Custodian Engineer. As of Friday May 2, 2014, he has resigned his position as Vice President. We all wish him the best of luck. Matt is in the process of exhausting his accumulated vacation and terminal leave and will be working for us in the meantime as a direct employee. I have appointed him as a Special Assistant to the Business Manager for the remainder of time he works for Local 891. Adhering to the rules of the Constitution of the International Union of Operating Engineers, the four remaining Chair Officers have voted unanimously to elect Jeffrey J. Bilek as the new Vice President. I have appointed Recording-Corresponding Secretary Frank Byrne to assume the release time position when vacated by Matthew Wile.