New York Firefighter Sues Union For Injury


Updated: 02-14-2006 12:49:37 PM



By JEREMY OLSHAN
Courtesy of New York Post
http://www.nypost.com/

February 14, 2006 -- The firefighter who was critically injured while bicycling to work during the transit strike is suing the Transport Workers Union. By staging an illegal strike, the lawsuit contends, union boss Roger Toussaint "was well aware of the substantial interference its actions would cause upon the public health, safety and convenience of the people of the city."

Matthew Long, 39, a 12-year FDNY veteran, has undergone several operations and remains hospitalized, said his lawyer, Christopher McGrath.

Still struggling to recover from his injuries, Long, who worked at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was unable to talk yesterday.

"There is no precedent for this, but there is no question who put this situation in motion," McGrath said. "If they did not have their illegal strike, there is no question that this would not have happened."

Long was riding along Third Avenue on his way to work on Dec. 22 at the FDNY training facility on Randalls Island when he was hit by a bus chartered by Bear Stearns to transport its employees during the strike.

Bear Stearns, Academy Bus Tours, AME Transportation, to whom the job was subcontracted, and the driver, Bryant Barr, are also all named in the lawsuit.

The suit said the bus driver turned across traffic into Long's bike.

AME Transportation is a subsidiary of the Allen AME Church, run by the Rev. Floyd Flake.

Although all of the defendants have previously sent their prayers to the Long family, none, including Local 100, wished to comment on the suit yesterday.

A series of blood drives was held for Long in the weeks after the accident as he went through several surgeries.

Although the lawsuit, filed in Queens Supreme Court, does not specify a dollar amount, McGrath said Long will be asking for millions.

"The union has to be made aware of the consequences of their actions," McGrath said. "If they didn't strike, Bear Stearns wouldn't have needed to hire a charter bus in order to get their employees to work. Academy Bus wouldn't have had to subcontract it to AME."

Long's mother, Eileen, has blasted Toussaint for calling the illegal strike, and pleaded with a Brooklyn judge to throw the union leader in jail.

"Roger Toussaint was celebrating Christmas with his family, opening gifts and reaping the joy of his lawbreaking, illegal strike while my family was praying that my son would be alive to celebrate another day," she said.

McGrath said the union's role in the accident should not be minimized.

"What they did affected people's lives," he said. "And it will affect Matthew for the rest of his

life."

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