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by Marty Goodman 12/11/06

Below is a press release concerning the fast moving situation that followed an assault by a pro-company goon on Jose Serrano, the recently elected reform depot chair for Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1181 at United Bus in the Bronx. The assault took place last Friday.

Serrano had challenged intolerable conditions at the bus company, which is under contract with New York City, Westchester County and New Jersey to transport children to school. The workforce is heavily Latino, African American and Haitian. There are a large number of women drivers.

But, just before our press conference this morning, Serrano was informed that he had been fired. The frame-up of Serrano includes outlandish charges of assault, drunk and disorderly conduct, extorting money from the boss, entrapment, attempts to solicit bribe, attempted entrapment, insubordination, etc. Serrano was fired by the proprietor Laraine Lia Costellano.

These outrageous attacks on Serrano are attacks on the right to organize. The labor movement must defend this courageous union activist!

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. The location is not yet available but a picket may be called. Call me at 212-781-5157 for updates. An arbitration hearing may follow.




CONTACT: JOSE SERRANO 347-513-7297 (ATU Local 1181 Depot Chair)
MARTY GOODMAN 646-898-7328 (member, TWU Local 100 Exec. Board)
JOHN MOONEY 917-770-4082 (Vice-President TWU Local 100)

December 9, 2006

JOSE SERRANO, A RECENTLY elected union reformer, was punched in the face last Friday on the property of United Bus Companies in the Bronx, a school bus company under federal scrutiny for possible mob ties. Serrano was assaulted in front of some 20 employees and United Bus co-owner Frank Brucha. The attack is part of a pattern of escalating retaliation against Serrano for his aggressive defense of employee rights.

Serrano charged Angel Gutierez, a mechanic known to be pro-management, with assault and harassment. Serrano?s glasses were broken but he did not strike Gutierez back. Instead, Serrano called the police. Serrano was seen later by the North Central Bronx hospital and released Friday evening. Doctors said Serrano had sprained his foot during the incident. A test for alcohol proved negative.

After striking Serrano, Gutierez struck a mechanic in the nose.

Serrano was elected in October as Bus Depot Chair For Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transportation Union (ATU). Serrano claims the attack was retaliation for challenging illegal company practices. Serrano says members are routinely denied overtime pay and forced to drive grade-school students in unsafe buses. In addition, 428 employees have only one toilet at a company garage.

Serrano believes the violence Friday stemmed from an attempt by Angel Guiterez to set Serrano up to be fired. Guiterez urged Serrano to drink an alcoholic beverage on company property, grounds for dismissal. An employee loyal to the company was conveniently on hand with a camera to photograph Serrano drinking, but Serrano did not drink the liquor. Guiterez hit Serrano in frustration.

United Bus is under contract with the public school systems of New York City, Westchester County and parts of New Jersey. Serrano has contacted several government officials about corruption and the gross mistreatment of employees at United Bus. There has been no response.

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