WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Board of Legislators. September 8, 2020:
The County Board Committee of the Whole will quiz Con Edison and New York Electric and Gas in a teleconference with the power executives appearing by zoom to respond to their alleged “inadequate” response to Tropical Storm Isis last spring.
Board Chairman Benjamin Boyin said, “After Storms Quinn and Riley in 2018, we were assured things would be better next time. But nothing has changed. When confronted with Isaias, the results were just as inadequate. From the over-reliance on mutual assistance, to inadequate in-house resources, the system remains broken. We want to hear that substantial changes are coming.”
The meeting is not open to the press or the public. You may see a stream live on www.westchesterlegislators.com . A link to the stream will go live when the meeting begins. Be patient.
It has come to my attention that persons I have emailed in the past have received emails from John Bailey, asking if they could do me a favorand when they write back they are asked to send money through gift cards.
My email list has been hacked, and the email is not, repeat not from me. (Even I got the email).
Please do not pay attention to it, just delete it. And do not open any future emails saying “From: John Bailey.”
WPCNR NEWS AND COMMENT. By John F. Bailey. SEPTEMBER 7, 2020. Reprinted from the CitizeNetReporter Archives:
It is Labor Day 2020.
Look back at the history of the labor movement, workers have always had to fight and die to make progress.
Because management is not fair, equitable, or humane. They don’t care about you as a person. They use you up. Use you. And when you get hurt. Too bad. And now our feckless Supreme Court has taken away the class action suit.
Business and government “internships” today are a nice word for slavery without whips.
Labor Day first made its appearance when low wages and long hours were protested against in the mid-nineteenth century during the American Industrial Revolution.
Management works for themselves, always.
Oregon instituted the first Labor Day in the 1870s, and New York in the 1880s.
The National Labor Day Holiday came about because of national outrage over two violent strikes that were ended by armed intervention by the military and private detectives, the notorious “Pinkertons.”
Let’s go back to the 1890s and learn what Labor Day is all about. It’s not about a day off. It is a memorial day. It’s not about “good job.”
The gay 90s were not so gay if you were a worker.
They were a time when the so-called robber barons thought nothing of bringing out private security forces to shoot strikers. They lowered wages with no mercy. It was all about them, their mansions, their fortunes, their tax-free profits. (No income tax before 1913, folks).
In the Homestead, Pennsylvania steel factory strike in 1892, Andrew Carnegie, the steel baron, wanted to lower wages to make the Homestead factory more profitable. (Instead of pulling down statues, they should change the name of the Carnegie Institute. Mr. Carnegie was no saint.)
Steelworkers in Homestead Pennsylvania, made $10 a week, working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, as much as 84 hours a week.
Carnegie’s Deputy Chairman Henry Frick wanted to pay them less, and attempted to bring in non-union laborers to replace them.
Two thousand union workers barricaded the plant.
Frick hired Pinkerton Detectives to disperse them. On June 29, 1892, “Pinkertons” killed 7 union workers with gunfire, and injured “countless” others and three Pinkertons were killed.
The Governor called in the National Guard to restore order. The armed intervention broke the Amalgamated Association union.
After this, according to “Steelworkers in America” by David Brody, wages of steelworkers at Homestead declined 20% from 1892 to 1907 and workshifts went up from 8 hours to 12 hours (96 hours a week).
What a great fellow, Carnegie. What a humanitarian! That’s your robber baron. He’d fit right in with today’s Wolves of Wall Street, and our national leadership wouldn’t he? He’d be in the Trump cabinet.
This union-killing in Pennysylvania was followed by the 1894 Pullman Strike in Pullman Illinois.
George M. Pullman, the creator of the sleeper car, housed his workers in Pullman City, Illinois, and charged them rent.
In the depression of the early 1890s, in 1893 wages at the Pullman Palace Factory fell 25%, but Pullman did not lower his rents to his workers.
The rent, if not met, was deducted from worker pay.
Pullman was a garbage person.
A nice guy, George Pullman. He could run a bank today, couldn’t he? He could run an airline and an airliner manufacturing company.
On May 11, 1894 workers with the American Railroad Union under the leadership of the great Eugene V. Debs, started a wildcat (unauthorized) strike in protest of Pullman’s policies.
On June 26, 1894, union members refused to service trains with Pullman Cars in their consist, to leave Chicago, delaying the U.S. Mail.
Twenty-four railroads in an organization called the General Managers Association announced that any switchman who refused to move rail cars would be fired.
Mr. Debs and his union stood their ground.
Debs said if any switchman was fired for not moving Pullman Cars, the union would walk off their jobs. On June 29, 50,000 union men quit.
Union supporters stopped trains on rails West of Chicago.
President Grover Cleveland was asked by the railroads to use federal troops to stop the strike.
(Does all this sound familiar? Right out of today’s political rhetoric.)
When Debs went to Blue Island to ask railroad workers there to support the strike, rioting broke out, tracks were torn up. Railroad cars were burned.
The Attorney General of the United States Richard Olney, at the urging of the railroad owners, obtained an injunction July 2 that declared the strike illegal.
When Debs’ union members did not return to work, when they did not return to work—-
President Cleveland sent federal troops into Chicago.
Troops opened fire on strikers attempting to stop a train traveling through downtown Chicago.
Debs and his union leaders were arrested for disrupting the delivery of mail.
Twenty-six civilians were killed for disrupting the mail.
Because the mail could not be delivered. Because the mail could not be delivered…how pathetic.
Debs, the union leader, stopped the strike.
Debs was sentenced to six months in jail and the union was disbanded. To my knowledge no federal troops who killed civilians were prosecuted.
A number of railroad workers were black listed and could not get a job on a railroad in the United States.
It was the first time federal troops were used to break up a strike.
Pullman workers were forced to sign a pledge they would never strike again.
The threat of the federal government stopping strikes lead to an end of strikes for at least 8 years.
President Cleveland, though, was facing reelection in 1894.
And, here’s how Labor Day became a national holiday.
Union leaders and citizens were alarmed at his handling of the strike.
As PBS put it in a documentary in 2001:
“But now, protests against President Cleveland’s harsh methods made the appeasement (italics WPCNR) of the nation’s workers a top political priority. In the immediate wake of the strike, legislation was rushed unanimously through both houses of Congress, and the bill arrived on President Cleveland’s desk just six days after his troops had broken the Pullman strike.
1894 was an election year.
President Cleveland seized the chance at conciliation, and Labor Day was born. William Jennings Bryant ran for the Democratic Party and the Populist Party in 1896, losing to Republican William McKinley.
Then came a sea change in the great coal strike of 1902, when another “exemplary” capitalist J. P. Morgan fought the coal workers.
It happened in the coal fields of Easton, Pennsylvania, when the United Mine Workers headed by John Mitchell struck the coal operators pushing for an 8-hour day.
The coal operators employed private police and the Pennsylvania National Guard to protect non-union workers.
President Theodore Roosevelt summoned the parties to the White House to bring settlement of the dispute by arbitration. After 6 months, the coal miners won a 9-hour day and a 10% increase in wages.
T.R.’s personal intervention lead to Selig Perlman, economist and labor historian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, saying “this was perhaps the first time in history a labor organization tied up for months a strategic industry without being condemned as a revolutionary menace.’
The 1902 leadership of the great Teddy Roosevelt resulted in elimination of private police forces long used by management to combat workers.
When Governor Samuel Pennypacker became Governor of Pennsylvania, Pennypacker created the Pennsylvania State Police in 1903, the first in the nation to supplant the independent organizations hired by management that were little more than strong-arm boys.
The lesson of Labor Day is to remember the bravery of the union leaders who put their members first, did not make deals, did not sell out their members,(and I might add, succomb to politicians’ whining) and held out for the good against managements that were neither kind, humane, fair, or appreciative of their workers’ contribution to their corporate success.
Management never is. They talk a good game but it’s all talk. Look at the Covid firings.
So American workers should remember the struggles and the leadership of Debs and Mitchell. And the strikers and civilians who were shot down in the street for stopping delivery of mail, for God’s sake!
They introduced a new era of workers’ rights at the costs of their lives.
The battle against worker exploitation never ends. It’s still happening today.
Let’s stop it. Let’s fight it. Let’s boycott the robber barons, and vote out the scalywags in Washington, D.C. All of them.
GREENBURGH REVIVAL WITH AMAZON, TESLA, SHOPRITE COMING TO TOWN
GREENBURGH SUPERVISOR PAUL FEINER ON HIRING AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR TO BRING GREENBURGH BACK AND PREVENT GHOST TOWNS
COUNTY EXECUTIVE GEORGE LATIMER, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS JOSEPH RICCA ON MENTAL ISSUES IN STUDENTS AS SCHOOLS OPEN
THE UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS DEAL TO GO BACK TO NYC CLASSROOMS. CAN IT WORK?
THE GAMBLE TO LIMIT INFECTION IN WESTCHESTER SCHOOLS WITHOUT A TESTING PLAN.
JOHN VORPERIAN OF WPTV’S “BEYOND THE GAME” ON TOM SEAVER
WPCNR COUNTY HEALTH BULLETIN. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. September 4, 2020:
The Westchester County Department of Health has been notified that a second priest has tested positive for COVID-19 at Holy Innocents Catholic Church, located at 431 Bedford Road in Pleasantville. To date 2 priests and one church staffer have tested positive.
Anyone who attended the following services must quarantine, as required by the New York State Department of Health, for 14 days (regardless of a negative COVID-19 test) from that last visit to the Church during these days:
• August 24 – Morning Mass
• August 26 – Morning Mass
• August 29 – First Communion Ceremonies
• August 30 – ALL MASSES
Contacts of contacts, meaning secondary exposed people, are currently not at risk and do not have to quarantine.
The County is currently working closely with the Church, the Archdiocese of New York, the Pleasantville School District and the Village and will continue to update the public as information becomes available.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) New York State Hotline
The New York State Department of Health has set up a hotline at (888) 364-3065 where Department of Health experts will be available to answer questions regarding COVID-19.
COVID-19 Hotline numbers for the public:
People under self-quarantine and medical providers seeking information: (866) 588-0195
People inquiring about testing: (888) 364-3065
General Information: call 211
AMAZON,TESLA, SHOPRITE COMING TO GREENBURGH–HOW IT HAPPENED
HIRING AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR — WHY?
HOW THE TOWN OF GREENBURGH IS BEING AFFECTED BY COVID-19– FINANCIAL IMPACT ON THE NEW BUDGET
AND MORE ON “PEOPLE TO BE HEARD” — THE PROGRAM WHERE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, HAVE THEIR SAY–SIXTH YEAR OF INTERVIEWS THAT MATTER TO YOU PERSONALLY
WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. From a White Plains CitizeNetReporter. September 3, 2020.
The following is an official communication from the United Federation of Teachers, the New York teachers union on Covid-19 testing procedures under which the union has agreed it will proceed with returning to New York City schools September 21:
New York City will make COVID-19 testing readily available for all its residents, including children, at over 200 locations across all five boroughs. NYCDOE encourages all its students and school-based staff to get tested within seven days of reporting to buildings and at regular intervals throughout the remainder of this crisis. In order to support testing, New York City will prioritize testing for NYCDOE students and staff and rapid communication of test results at any of its 34 city-run testing locations.
Once in-person learning has commenced, the NYC DOE will implement the Random Sample Survey of COVID-19 in Schools, a robust program of repeated random sampling and COVID-19 testing of adults and students present in DOE schools.
- Obtain written parental /guardian consent for students to be tested in school from every possible student/parent at the beginning of the school year and continuously throughout the school year, including consent to have results shared with NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Test & Trace Corps, and Department of Education as necessary. Parents will be informed that, as testing is performed throughout the year, if parental/guardian refuses to provide consent for a student who has been selected randomly for testing, the student will be moved to the remote learning cohort.
- Obtain consent from teachers and staff to have results shared with NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Test & Trace Corps, and Department of Education as necessary.
- Establish mandatory time every month at each school dedicated to conducting
the Random Sample Survey of COVID-19 in Schools beginning October 1. The percentage of individuals to be tested
will be determined by the number of students enrolled in the school who have opted
into blended learning in order to create a statistically significant sample
- 20% of the individuals in schools with fewer than 500 students
- 15% of the individuals in schools with 500 to 999 students
- 10% of the individuals in schools with 1000+ students
- Test and Trace Corps and DOHMH will utilize a sampling technique based on standard protocols, in consultation with outside experts.
- All UFT titles will be required to participate in the Random Sample Survey of COVID-19 in Schools program. In the unlikely event a UFT member is selected for random testing and refuses, they will go on unpaid leave.
- Other school staff will also be asked and are expected to participate in the Random Sample Survey of COVID-19 in Schools program.
- Specimen collection will be conducted or supervised by appropriate
personnel from City agencies, outside organizations, and/or outside contractor
- Each school’s need for testing support will be evaluated based on the number of students and teachers that must be tested
- Self-collection kits for COVID-19 PCR testing will be an option, but other testing methods will be evaluated and considered for potential use as they become available.
- Test and Trace Corps and DOHMH will provide kits to each school each month to collect specimens and will work with DOE to collect specimens on site in each school each month (or, in certain circumstances, at an appropriately designated off-school site or at home as necessary).
- Students and staff are required to report any positive test result, either taken independently or through this random COVID-19 testing program, to the DOE
- There will be a weekly meeting of all stakeholders to review the implementation of the Random Sample Survey of COVID-19 in Schools program and resolve any issues that arise in the process.
Early Warning Signs
The health and safety of students and staff are of the utmost priority when considering reopening schools. In order for school buildings to reopen and stay open, the percentage of positive tests in New York City must be less than 3% using a 7-day rolling average. School buildings will need to close and revert to fully remote learning for all students if the percentage of positive tests in New York City is equal to or more than 3% using a 7-day rolling average. It is important to note that the above threshold is just one trigger for closing school buildings, but may not be the only trigger. For example, a decision to close all of the school buildings in the City would be made if there were recurrent, uncontrolled outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools, even if the overall case rates across New York City were to remain low. Likewise, a decision to close individual schools would be made where there were multiple cases of COVID-19 identified (see “School Closures”).
If any zip code within NYC reports a percentage of positive tests of 3% or higher using a 7-day rolling average, the city will deploy additional testing efforts within the community, including, but not limited to, increased testing of individuals in schools, opening new testing sites, door-to-door canvassing and targeted robocalls. The closure of school buildings within these communities, if necessary, will continue to be governed by the “School Closures” policy set forth herein.
WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS NEWS AND COMMENT. By John F. Bailey September 2, 2020:
There are 8 days before schools reopen in Westchester County.
Westchester County has a policy at the present time that the county will not schedule Covid-19 tests for parents or guardians for their children. What the County Department of Health will do is provide a list of places parents can contact to schedule a test. That policy has to be changed and aggressively revised.
New York City agreeing with the United Federation of Teachers to Covid-Test 10% to 20% all students and staff monthly, after New York City Schools open September 21 changes the game.
Teachers have once more shown the light.
It is unclear if the tests will be made on the first day of school and then another round one month later.
The teachers’ stand for sanity, is a wakeup call to this health decision in Westchester County not to supervise testing — especially before students come to Westchester schools, or as they come to school for the first time
The opening of Westchester schools should be delayed to make an effort to enhance this policy by the County Health Department arranging to test every child for covid, whose parents are returning them to school, before the children return to school.
The effort to get the NYC economy with children and teachers paying the price started up by opening schools without any kind of testing, corrected by the United Federation of Teachers by monthly testing in schools is a big step towards doing the opening of schools intelligently and more safely.
Not enough, though. I suggest test children and teachers and staff when they come in to school the first time, immediately identifying in the first week Covid-positives.
To get ahead of covid spread in county schools, Westchester County should offer test scheduling through County Health Department supervision and personnel on a crash basis for the next two weeks to assure that no child returns to school without a medical clearance they have not tested positive for Covid.
Two weeks ago, the county reported to WPCNR they would not schedule tests for parents, that it was up to the parents or guardians to pick from lists of centers offering covid tests, provided by the County Department of Health, on the county website.
Pre-return-to-school testing is the most vital tool to counter the seriousness of the coronavirus ability to spread rapidly, painfully, preposterously demonstrated by the shutdown of New Paltz SUNY with over a hundred infections of returning students who spread the disease in a week.
There has been no explanations from the county as to why the county health department cannot step up and supervise test scheduling, (vastly aiding harried parents), except for liability to the county.
Why wouldn’t the health department want to make sure children are safely covid-free before going back to school When I first learned the Health Department did not want to schedule tests, when it was announced two weeks ago, I was stunned. The State Department of Health should be just as concerned.
I was also shocked that school districts as part of the health forms information they require every year from parents and guardians did not require parents to have their children tested within a month, two weeks or a week of school opening (the closer to opening the better), as having passed a covid-19 test negative with an official paper documenting the result. If the children had not had a Covid test, they would not be allowed to return to school.
There is still time parents and public health officials to require this. And make a mid course correction.
There is still time to delay school openings, as NYC has, to get this done.
The County has to request a school opening delay to get this done.
Thanks to the United Federation of Teachers, the bar has been set higher to reopen the NYC schools.
If Governor Cuomo is concerned that there will be outbreaks in schools as he is reported in the news story in The New York Times, he should make an Executive Order requiring Covid testing before the kids come to school.
It is too bad the colleges did not think of this, as part of students’ health documents.
The governor should divert the testing upstate to the school populations opening up.
If Westchester County test centers, public and private do not have the testing kits available, that is another issue, and it can’t be done.
But there is no excuse for not having adequate test kits available. The state is doing upwards of 80,000 tests a day. So a lot of people are being tested.
How about children, they’re people, too. Our most precious people.
School Districts should think seriously about delaying and getting test kits to test their incoming students. And the state and county should get the tests to them or administer them in an urgent manner.
A delay can be made up.
Lives end forever.
Delay and test.
All Registered New York Voters Can Request a Ballot Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of New York’s absentee ballot portal where voters can directly request an absentee ballot for the upcoming November 3rd election. The Governor acted by Executive Order to allow any voter concerned about risk or exposure to COVID during the ongoing pandemic to request an absentee ballot.
“As the November election approaches we know that many voters feel vulnerable in the midst of this pandemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “In line with the sweeping reforms we have implemented to make it easier for New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote, today we launch the online portal through which every registered voter concerned about COVID-19 can obtain an absentee ballot. Voting is the cornerstone of democracy and we want each and every voter to feel safe and secure in the exercise of voting.”
Last month, Governor Cuomo signed into law sweeping election reforms that will make it easier for New Yorkers to vote and be counted in November. These new measures Include allowing absentee ballot applications to be submitted to the Board of Elections immediately, allowing a voter to get an absentee ballot due to risk or fear of illness including COVID-19 and ensuring all absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day or received by the Board of Elections without a postmark on the day after the Election will be counted. Ballots with a postmark demonstrating that they were mailed on or before Election Day will be counted if received by November 10.
The Governor also issued an executive order to bolster and support New Yorkers’ right to vote. The order requires county boards of elections to take concrete steps to inform voters of upcoming deadlines, be prepared for upcoming elections and help ensure absentee ballots can be used in all elections.