The people of New York City are waking up this morning to a major dilemma. THERE IS A NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT STRIKE. Everyone who lives and/or works in this city is affected.

I most make clear from the beginning that I am a Labor Union official with Laborers local 108 L.I.U.N.A. AFL-CIO and a delegate to the Mason Tenders District Council. However, in this letter to you I am speaking as an individual. This on to it’s self is perhaps a sign of the state of affairs within organized labor in this country. I, and real union men and women, in contrast to some Labor beaurocrats, stand with Transit Workers Union Local 100 President Roger Toussaint, it’s Executive Board and the rank & file who this morning walk picket lines instead of giving life to the Transit Authority.

The New York City rider ship is inconvenienced by the inability to get to our destinations in the fashion we have become accustomed to. This inconvenience is miniscule when compared to what the MTA has been putting us through over the years, both as riders and workers.

Over the years the TA has implemented fare hikes under the guise that it would go broke otherwise. THROUGH AUDITS, IT HAS BEEN FOUND THAT THE TRANSIT AUTHORITY HAS BEEN HIDING HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT BELONG TO THE PUBLIC. The T.A. used the same deceit to deny their workers decent wages three years ago.

NOW ON THE EVE OF THIS ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS THE TRANSIT AUTHORITY ENGAGED IN ANOTHER ROUND OF DECEITFULL MOVES. First it implemented a “Christmas giveaway” to the rider ship as a public relations ploy. In the end the riders of the T.A. system will be forced to pay back the gift through the upcoming fare hikes. Then on the week that the contract was due to expire, the T.A. passed a budget (based on a lowball $ amount) aimed at pretending there was very limited funds to put on the table for the workers. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT IN THIS COUNTRY, A TREND HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE THAT EVERYTHING ELSE IN AN OPERATION TAKES PRIORITY OVER IT’S HUMAN RESOURCES – THE WORKERS.

The main issue in contention bet ween the TWU and the TA goes beyond $s. At the core it is the attempt to roll back hard fought gains for working people. Everything from the 5 day work week, to the 8nhour work day, to every benefit like health insurance and pensions have been won through struggle. THE TRANSIT WORKERS UNION HAS DRAWN THE LINE AT NOT GIVING BACK THEIR PENSION PLAN – NOT FOR ITS PRESENT MEMBERS NOR FOR FUTURE HIERES BY THE TA. The TA wants incoming employees to pay 6% of their pension. The principle is that once the worker has to come out of their pocket for a benefit like pension or health insurance, the contribution increases with every contract. The TWU does not want to create a second class citi zen out of future employees. Holding this position by the TWU is not selfish as it would not affect the existing membership. It would definitely hurt the future transit workers.

BAD FAITH NEGOTIATIONS has been the standard by which NYC municipal employees have been dealt with. NYC police , Firemen, teachers etc have had to wait between 3 to 5 years to negotiate expired contracts. The TWU drew the line. NO MORE. The Chairman of the TA walked out of the negotiations, on the day that the contract expired, calling for biding arbitration,, a stacked deck of cards when dealing with government and process that would take away the right of workers the right of workers to ratify or reject the contract they must work (and live) under

After the contract expired, the TA put on the table what it called it’s LAST & FINAL OFFER, claiming the “bucket was empty”. The TA was counting on the threat of jail & fines under the Taylor Law, and the collective anxiety of the riding public which had already wait ed through one deadline, as a way of imposing their will on the workers. It did not work.

NYC Union Town
Local 100 TWU is on strike for wages , benefits, job protection DIGNITY & THE FUTURE workers of this city
The hemorrhage of workers rights stops here!
The Strike
All workers will be better for it