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FBI

Rioting NYC Transit Worker to be Fired

Will Pepe an MTA laborer identified as a participant in Capitol insurrection

Kris LaGrange's picture
Jan 09, 2021

Following the attack on the United States Capitol on Wednesday by Trump supporters, there has been a nationwide manhunt for the perpetrators. That manhunt has come back to New York where a laborer at Metro-North was found to have participated in the failed attempted coup on the US Senate and Congress. 

Will Pepe, a union laborer, works at the railroad’s Brewster Yard. After the FBI released photos of the insurgents, MTA security personnel informed management that they believed Pepe was an active participant in the deadly riot that killed 5 people, including a cop. Fifty other cops were seriously hurt or injured in the attack. Metro-North is one of the train systems that makes up New York City's world-renowned MTA, where security is always at an all-time high given constant terrorist threats in NYC. Immediately after management was informed, they suspended Pepe without pay saying that he improperly called in sick on the day of the riot. They are expected to fire him in the coming days after giving him his due process through his union’s contract.

The MTA also issued a statement saying, “Effective immediately this individual has been suspended from Metro-North without pay and will be disciplined in accordance with their collective bargaining agreement pending an investigation,” MTA spokesman Ken Lovett said in a statement. “This alleged conduct is abhorrent and goes against the values of Metro-North, New York and the nation.”

Pepe, age 31, lives in Beacon, NY a northern suburb of New York City. He is a member of the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers, 32 BJ SEIU. “We had no knowledge of this individual’s participation in the events of that day, and we are disappointed that anyone would engage in that type of conduct,” said Dean Devita, a rep for National Conference of Firemen and Oilers (NCFO), SEIU.

The union also put out a more general statement about the riot saying “The NCFO abhors the actions taken by those who invaded the U.S. Capitol on January 6. We had no knowledge of this individual’s participation in the events of that day, and we are disappointed that anyone would engage in that type of conduct. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration and the new Congress, and specifically to working with both branches of government for positive pro-worker policies and advancement of transportation and infrastructure projects.”

UCOMM understands that many blue-collar union ranks are still somehow divided on Trump. While more and more termination cases like this will be made public in the days and weeks ahead, the terror actions of people like Will Pepe were given life out of the reality some local unions failed to roll out political education programs out of fear of backlash from their FOX News infected membership. National and international unions urged local leadership to engage their members on why Trump is bad, but some chose not to.

Political Action Committees (PAC) find that arguing with Trumpers on the job is both exhausting and often results in a negative outcome. Some PAC leaders instead chose to ignore Trump talk at work, allowing this dangerous cancer to fester under the blanket of silence in union workplaces.

Silence means consent, so if a deranged worker never heard his local union leader come out against Trump, they then could assume that their union approves of their President.

SEIU Local 32BJ is not alone in failing to prevent members like Will Pepe’s from carrying out terrorist acts on our nation. Pepe did so because his beloved 45 told him to do so and his union probably never said he could not. Calling in sick is a right bargained for in his collective bargaining agreement. Union leadership may not have known, but I bet you a chicken sandwich that some of his co-workers very well knew.  

Sadly, every union in the AFL-CIO has local unions who failed to educate their members on the dangers of Trump's America. Even us here at UCOMM share in the responsibility. We oftentimes did not push leadership enough to attempt to educate the Trumper in the union ranks. Instead of saying “Vote for Biden,” some unions just said, “Go out and vote.” This has happened in all sectors and industries, especially in education, and the union movement shares in owning a piece of it and the burden of correcting it over the next four years. Will Pepe is not the end of exposing our weakest links, it is just the beginning.

The damage is done, and the repercussions are coming. The FBI is still looking for several people involved in the attack. You can click here to see if you recognize any of them and you can report the insurgents by clicking here.

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