The strike was in 2005. But for Transit workers, bad things next started happening to them again in 2010 beginning with mass layoffs in TA/OA; the closing down of First Transit (700 members lost their jobs); a new Tier 6 pension – the first pension rollback in 35 years; a contract settlement delayed two years with MTA Bus left out; health benefit contributions increased to 2% instead of reduced as was clearly the trend established as of the (pre-John Samuelsen) 2009 contract, along with a host of other concessions in between. Strangely nothing bad happened (concession wise) in 2006, or ’07, or ’08 or ;09 – only when John Samuelsen took office?!?
Or is it that the MTA had no further need for Mr Samuelsen and quickly turned on him after helping him get elected and using him to disrupt Local 100?
Mr Samuelsen and his apologists claim that the members and the Union were too weakened and disunited after the strike and that’s to blame for all that went wrong. So how did that work, exactly? The bad things were miraculously suspended, postponed for the 4 years after the strike?!? Not to also mention that we came out of 18 months of dues revocation to negotiate a positive contract at the end of 2008 – in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the great depression of the 1930’s. That defies common sense. In fact, it is just spin.
The spousal benefit in MTA Bus was quietly conceded to the MTA; swing rooms for bus drivers were illegally closed; the Step/Apprenticeship program for the entry level titles shut down as were commitments regarding women in non-traditional jobs, along with new promotional opportunities (new helper title with $1.70 premium and $4.00 training premium for maintainers ) for our cleaners to move into the trades … so many of the provisions that the MTA hated and wanted out of – gone!
Rather, the evidence is that after the strike – despite the difficult situation – Transit workers and Local 100 were not to be taken for granted and were more respected across the labor movement. Transit workers proudly identify themselves as TWU, Local 100 today, before just as MTA employees, and, they proudly wear their strike colors and bandannas even today. In fact, Samuelsen and Downs themselves lay false claim to that legacy of militancy (especially when they appear out there in public) – even while they so viciously attack the legacy of our strike at every turn, because, they have NO – zero – connection or continuity to the fight and fighters who stood up to the MTA. They are no better than scabs, worse maybe – because, while claiming to be progressive and even militant, they worked to undermine and cripple us. At every chance they got, they were the Party of NO! Just like the right wing conservatives in the U.S of today. And likewise, their actual record and performance since Jan 2010, in other words what they have done or did – rather than what they said, their words, promises and spin – stand as the best evidence of what their coded words: Let’s ‘Take Back Our Union’ was really about .
“Until the lions have their own historians, tales about the hunt will always glorify the hunter” – African proverb.
Transit workers are encouraged to visit the face book page (“Transit Strike”) and “filckr” accounts linked to this page, find yourselves, look for friends and co-workers. Please invite others to do likewise and also to submit any additional information for sharing on this blog.