Police arrest man who punched pregnant NYCHA worker for not thanking him after he held door open

The sick lunatic who attacked a pregnant 22-year-old NYCHA worker because she didn’t thank him for opening the door has been nabbed, cops said Thursday. The NYPD Warrants Squad apprehended Darryl Guillyard, 32, for the March 5 attack at his home in the Chelsea Houses on W. 26th St., officials said. He was brought to the 10th Precinct stationhouse and charged with assault. His arraignment was pending. The victim, Lakeeya Walker, told police she was cleaning a building at the Chelsea Houses when Guillyard opened a door for her. When Walker didn’t thank him, Guillyard threw coffee at her face, punched her repeatedly and throttled her neck, the victim, who is 10-weeks pregnant, told WABC 7. After she fell to the ground, he kicked her and told her to “suck my d---,” cops said. “He was basically saying, ‘I’m going to kick that baby out of your womb,’” she told WABC. “It’s crazy. I don’t know this man from mudville. How does he know I’m with child?” Walker, who believes she was set up, suffered minor injuries. Guillyard has been arrested seven times before, most recently for robbery in 2007, officials said. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Sixteen Manhattan biotech workers who pooled their cash to buy Mega Millions lottery tickets have hit a $58 million jackpot

It’s a biotech bonanza. A group of 16 workers at a Manhattan biotech company who pooled their cash to buy Mega Millions tickets have won a $58 million jackpot, lottery officials announced Wednesday. The ceremonial prize check will be presented to the group Thursday at the store where they bought the winning Quick Pick Millions ducat — Carlton Cards in Penn Plaza on March 24. Lottery officials declined to disclose the winners’ names before the press conference. The store on the bottom floor of the busy transit hub has become the unofficial Lottery gaming center of New York; more Lottery tickets have been sold there than at any other location in the state, records show. Carlton Cards is decorated with signs proclaiming big Lottery wins — including two $1 million jackpots — at the shop, which will get a $10,000 bonus for hawking the winning ticket. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Former Forever 21 worker was called ‘disgusting’ and ‘hot mess’ by her bosses while transitioning to woman: lawsuit

Bosses at a Forever 21 in Brooklyn acted eternally juvenile — mercilessly mocking an employee who was transitioning to a woman as “disgusting” and a “hot mess,” court papers say. “You used to be a hard worker when you were a guy, but not anymore,” Alexia Daskalakis, 22, quoted one of her managers as saying. They then fired her without explanation. “I was devastated. You put all your hard work into working for one company, and they respond by being ruthless,” she told the Daily News. “It hurt.” Alexia was Anthony Daskalakis when she started working as a sales associate at the popular clothing chain in Kings Plaza four years ago. The Brooklyn native was then promoted to visual merchandiser, where her duties included putting up store displays. Her problems began in January 2014, when she told her manager she was transitioning to a woman - which is what she’d felt like all her life. She said her parents had joked that when she was a baby, she “wouldn’t use the blue blanket - only pink.” “I always played with Barbie dolls, and wore my mom’s high heels and clothes,” Alexia said. She said she knew transitioning at work was going to difficult, but it was something she had to do. “I wrestled with it,” she said, but “I work hard. I figured my work ethic could trump any discrimination.” She told her supervisor what she was doing, and “began dressing in a more traditionally feminine manner, such as wearing more form-fitting clothing and applying more traditionally feminine makeup.” Co-workers and customers were supportive — “They'd say, 'You look great!' and were very nice,” she said - but not her bosses. Her immediate supervisor, Patrick Walmsley, began treating her with “increasing contempt” - yelling at her in front of co-workers and Continue Reading

City parks worker violates ethics rules by accepting Godiva liqueur gift, gets fined $1,000

A $15 gift of chocolate liqueur turned sour for a “sweet” Brooklyn Parks Department manager whom the city fined $1,000 for accepting it. Cristina Badillo, 40, was fined for running afoul of city ethics rules after taking the Godiva liqueur and an $8 box of Whitman’s chocolates as a gift from a grateful arborist whose tree-pruning application she processed, according to a Conflicts of Interest Board disposition published on Wednesday. The arborist, who is not identified in the ruling, had gone to Badillo’s office to see if he could get a permit to prune a Brooklyn tree for “religious purposes” at the end of August 2013. After it was approved, Badillo — an office manager with the department’s Brooklyn Forestry Office, where she has worked since 2007 — emailed him the permit at his request. A week later, he showed up at the office with the bottle of liqueur and the chocolates. “The private arborist told me that the items were for you ‘being sweet,’ ” Badillo told the Conflicts board. “I did not understand at the time that it was intended as a gratuity.” It’s unclear how the city found out about the modest gifts, but Badillo was hit with the hefty fine — 43 times what her combined gift value was worth — because accepting the presents was a violation of rules that forbid city employees from taking presents from “any person whose interests may be affected by the public servant’s official action.” Badillo didn’t even keep all the treats to herself. She told the board that she shared the chocolates with her co-workers. She took the liqueur home, she said. Her father, Angel Badillo, 70, defended her Wednesday night. “She didn’t do anything wrong with that,” he said at the family’s Brooklyn home. His daughter wasn’t the only city official who got in trouble with the Conflicts Continue Reading

Workers at Midtown Chinese restaurant zap customer with stun gun during argument over 75 cents

Two workers at a Chinese restaurant stir-fried an irate customer with a stun gun after he claimed he was overcharged by 75 cents, cops said Thursday. The fight broke out between the 35-year-old penny-pincher and two employees at New Panda restaurant on Ninth Ave. at W. 41st St. around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, said a Port Authority spokesman. Workers Gary Zheng, 37, and Robert Zheng, 41, brought the argument out to the street, then punched and zapped the customer who refused to cough up three additional quarters, cops said. The restaurant workers were nabbed by a Port Authority police officer and charged with assault. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘Sharknado 3’ in danger as workers strike

This movie could be fin-nished. A labor strike on the set of “Sharknado 3” has put the Syfy film in danger of missing its July premier. 40 workers on the kitchy sequel walked off the job Monday seeking a union contract for the production. The film Editors Guild tweeted Wednesday: “No contract, no airborne marine mega-predators!” The movie franchise has been a boon to the Syfy channel, which — save for the toothy B-films — has suffered from a dearth of buzzless programming for years. The latest installment is supposed to feature its stars, played by Ian Ziering and Tara Reid, trying to survive shark-filled tornados that will "cause mass destruction in the nation's capital," with the rampage careening from Washington to Orlando. Continue Reading

Tuna company, 2 managers charged after worker cooked to death at California canning factory

LOS ANGELES — Bumble Bee Foods and two managers were charged by Los Angeles prosecutors Monday with violating safety regulations in the death of a worker who was cooked in an industrial oven with tons of tuna. Jose Melena was performing maintenance in a 35-foot-long oven at the company's Santa Fe Springs plant before dawn Oct. 11, 2012, when a co-worker, who mistakenly believed Melena was in the bathroom, filled the pressure cooker with 12,000 pounds of canned tuna and it was turned on. When a supervisor noticed Melena, 62, was missing, an announcement was made on the intercom and employees searched for him in the facility and parking lot, according to a report by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. His body was found two hours later after the pressure cooker, which reached a temperature of 270 degrees, was turned off and opened. The company, its plant Operations Director Angel Rodriguez and former safety manager Saul Florez were each charged with three counts of violating Occupational Safety & Health Administration rules that caused a death. The charges specify that the company and the two men willfully violated rules that require implementing a safety plan, rules for workers entering confined spaces, and a procedure to keep machinery or equipment turned off if someone's working on it. Rodriguez, 63, of Riverside, and Florez, 42, of Whittier, could face up to three years in prison and fines up to $250,000 if convicted of all charges, prosecutors said. Bumble Bee Foods faces a maximum fine of $1.5 million. The state's occupational safety agency previously cited the San Diego-based company for failing to properly assess the danger to employees working in large ovens and fined it $74,000. Bumble Bee, which has appealed the penalties, said the company improved its safety program after the tragedy. "We remain devastated by the loss of our colleague Jose Melena in the tragic Continue Reading

City eyes funds to improve facilities at old sanitation garages for female workers

The City Council wants to spend $2.7 million to get dungeon-like facilities for female sanitation workers out of the Dark Ages. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the funds — paired with another $2.5 million in the city’s proposed budget — could finally bring bathrooms, showers and lockers for women at old city garages into the modern era. She said the money, included in the Council’s response to Mayor de Blasio’s proposed budget, will “afford our female sanitation workers the dignity and respect they deserve.” “We entrust New York City sanitation workers with the important responsibility to keep our streets clean and safe,” she told the News. “However, for female sanitation workers, a tough job can become even more difficult with the lack of adequate, functioning bathrooms and locker rooms.” Many old city garages still have jerry-rigged changing areas for female sanitation workers, the Daily News reported last month. And even though women joined the ranks of New York’s Strongest almost 20 years ago, several garages have no facilities at all for women. “The women on this job are tough, but this problem has been getting worse and worse over the years,” said Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association, who recently testified before the City Council with several female workers. They showed photos of leaking roofs and shower stalls covered with filled roach traps, broken tiles, and peeling paint. Dimly lit facilities in the Bronx 4 garage led to a nickname “The Dungeon.”  Nespoli said the City Council and de Blasio Administration need to make the funding a priority during budget negotiations. The Council must approve a final budget by the end of June. “I’m glad the Council is responding but we really need to get this to show the women in the DSNY that Continue Reading

Connecticut farm worker dies after corn collapses on him

A Connecticut farm worker died Monday after a pile of milled corn collapsed and buried him, police said. Donald Merchant, 54, was using equipment to move corn from a large mound at the Square A Farm in Lebanon when some of it toppled onto him when he got off the vehicle. The South Windham man was found unresponsive by other farm workers, who dug him out. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly before 5:30 p.m. Square A Farm did not immediately return a call for comment. With News Wire Services Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Home health workers join ‘Fight for $15’ to increase minimum wage

Home health care aide Rosemarie Rumbley makes $10 an hour caring for a woman who was paralyzed during routine back surgery — but when it comes to her own health insurance, she has to rely on Obamacare. Rumbley, 57, raised two kids as a single mom by working 12 hours a day, seven days a week for most of their childhood. When she started in the industry, she earned $3.35 an hour. Now, she’s one of the 80,000 unionized city home health aides who make $10 — but another 70,000 nonunion health care workers earn minimum wage, which until recently was $8 an hour. “Listen, when you have people working, working hard, all day, and they can’t get health care or put food on the table or pay the rent, that’s a problem, a big problem,” said Rumbley. “And that’s all of us, that’s where we are.” According to George Gresham, head of the powerful 1199 SEIU health care workers union, the pay for aides like Rumbley is “incredibly, painfully low.” That’s why Gresham, a close political ally and early endorser of Mayor de Blasio, is bringing home health care workers into the Fight for $15, a national movement to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. “We’re going to be out there on April 15, alongside the construction workers and all the others,” he said. “As a matter of fact, if I’d been leading this movement, I would have started with the home health care aides, because so many people rely on them to care for their families, they trust them and when they learn what they make, they are shocked,” he said. Gresham, whose mother was a home care aide, said he was heartened to see the historically insular construction trades had joined the Fight for $15 movement. “Their voice broadens the discussion and we’re happy to march alongside them,” he said. There Continue Reading