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Head of Corrections Worker Union to Discuss Bus Delays on Rikers Island

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is accusing the president of the Corrections Officers Union, Norman Seabrook, of deliberately ordering a slowdown in the delivering of inmates from Rikers Island to courtrooms across the city, Seabrook hasn't commented, but on his weekly radio show he said he would address the issue on Monday.

Seabrook, a former corrections officer himself, has headed the Correction Officer's Benevolent Association for 18 years and is credited with getting his workers extraordinary benefits. His union was the only one to support Mayor Bloomberg's first run for mayor.

Now, the mayor is calling for him to be investigated.

Martin Horn, who worked with Seabrook for seven years as a former Commissioner of Correction and Probation, told WNYC that delaying buses leaving from Rikers was a tactic used in the past during labor disputes. Horn has argued for decentralizing the city's prisons because of this issue.

"It really creates this bottleneck, this choke point that is very easily used and puts the city and its judicial system at some risk," he said.

On Monday, several Department of Correction buses leaving from Rikers Island were reportedly prevented from transporting inmates, on the same day that one inmate, Dapree Peterson, was scheduled to testify in the Bronx against two correction officers accused of beating him.

Mayor Bloomberg said city lawyers would process a complaint and penalize union leadership if the allegations are true.

Speaking on WWRL Friday morning, Seabrook said he'll explain on Monday. "I'll give them all an opportunity to hear the truth. Let them put in their paperwork for injunctions, let them do everything it is they're supposed to do, let us do what we have to do," he said.

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