This morning Long Island Jobs with Justice and the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union were joined by Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Vision Long Island, TWU 252, Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) and other transportation advocates in a call for New York State to increase it’s contribution to non-MTA transit systems all across the state, especially on Long Island. Non-MTA transit systems, both up-and-down state, will once again see little or no additional state assistance if the proposed budget goes through; due to rising operations costs, pensions and healthcare Long Island buses cannot survive at the current state funding levels, we NEED more funding!
Garden City, NY—
On Tuesday, September 2nd, the day after Labor Day, bus riders and public transit advocates demonstrated outside of NICE Bus Headquarters where the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union released and delivered a “Bus Rider’s List of Demands” in response to the recent decision to increase bus fares to partially fill NICE Bus’ $3.3 million budget deficit. This fare increase comes with no plans to expand bus service.
If YOU could decide, what would you want YOUR additonal 25¢ to go to?
As a response, the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union launched the “My FAIR Increase” Campaign, demanding that Nassau County and NICE Bus give bus riders a public thank you for bailing them out! Aaron and Kimberly will be visiting bus terminals and bus stops until September 2nd to speak with riders about what they want their 25¢ to pay for (see the pictures). We will deliver these demands to NICE Bus on September 2nd, the day after the implementation of the fare increase, where we will demonstrate outside of the NICE Headquarters (700 Commercial Avenue, Garden City) at 6:30PM. We will also visit Nassau County officials on September 8th at their legislative meeting (1550 Franklin Avenue, Mineola) at 1PM (see flyer below for details).
This week, Executive Director Anita Halasz and Organizer Aaron Watkins-Lopez rode the bus with Nassau County Legislators Siela Bynoe (LD2) and Laura Curran (LD5) through their districts to speak to riders and find out what the experience for daily bus users is. With the threat of upcoming service cuts due to a $3.3 million deficit, the support of county Legislators is amazing! #NICEneedsNassau
Mineola, NY–Today, Long Island Jobs with Justice called for a transparency bill to be introduced by the Nassau County legislature as funds continue to come in from Superstorm Sandy. Executive Director Charlene Obernauer spoke at a meeting of the Nassau County Legislature, saying that more transparency is needed to ensure that funds are being spent appropriately, and that workers’ rights and OSHA regulations are being followed.
“There are a lot of investigations going on right now. We don’t know yet if anything has even been done wrong, but we do know, moving forward, that more standards need to be put in place,” said Obernauer to the Legislature on Monday afternoon.
Long Island Jobs with Justice has been watchdogging the Sandy rebuilding process since the storm, recently unveiling massive wage theft in a $10.1 million dollar Sandy contract on Fire Island. They believe that a bill would prevent these kinds of abuses from happening in the future.
“We don’t want this bill to be a bi-partisan effort, we want it to be non-partisan. Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding is a concern for all of us,” Obernauer concluded, urging the legislators to work together to create a better process for public funding in the future.
Watch Charlene Obernauer’s testimony at the legislature online here.