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Trainspotter

Transit Union Leader Vows No More Strikes

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With the transit workers’ union suffering from financially crippling penalties for its illegal strike in 2005, the union’s president pledged in recently filed court papers that the union had no intention of going on strike again “now or in the future.”

 

Roger Toussaint, the president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, made the pledge in an affidavit seeking to restore the union’s right to automatically collect dues from members’ paychecks. The 38,000-member union was fined $2.5 million and stripped of what is known as dues check-off as punishment for its 60-hour strike in December 2005, which violated the state’s Taylor Law barring public-sector unions from going on strike.

 

The union has been hobbled by the loss of automatic dues collection, and its revenues appear to have fallen by millions of dollars, though many members have continued to pay dues.

 

The statement, submitted in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn in late October, is a contrast to the fiery words that had become Mr. Toussaint’s trademark before and during the strike. It also goes further than Mr. Toussaint has in the past to state that the union will not strike again.

 

The city, which strongly opposed an attempt last year by the union to win back its dues collection rights, will not block the union’s motion this time, officials said Friday.

 

“We are not going to oppose getting their check-off back because they have finally done what the law and the court said they have to do, which is say, ‘We will not strike again,’ ” said the city’s corporation counsel, Michael A. Cardozo, the Bloomberg administration’s top lawyer.

 

Justice Bruce M. Balter is scheduled to hold a hearing on the union’s request on Monday in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

 

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, representing New York City Transit, submitted papers on Tuesday saying the agency would not oppose reinstatement of automatic dues collection.

 

That, along with the city’s new position, made it appear likely that the court would allow the dues check-off to resume.

 

Mr. Cardozo said that even with Mr. Toussaint’s latest affidavit, there were no guarantees that the union would not some day strike again. But he said that the union might face even heavier financial penalties next time.

 

A spokesman for the union declined to comment.

 

Local 100 has long had a reputation as one of the city’s most aggressive unions. The local has struck three times since 1966 and threatened strikes on two other occasions. During the 2005 strike and afterward, Mr. Toussaint seemed to revel in the role of combative labor leader. He spent four days in jail in April 2006 for his role leading the illegal strike. When he came out he vowed, “We are not backing down.”

 

While such words helped him in his rise to the leadership of the union and after, his concession to the court could undermine his support among union members. Mr. Toussaint must run for re-election as local president next June. The union’s current contract expires in mid-January.

 

Mr. Toussaint’s affidavit, which is dated Oct. 21, says that the union “does not assert the right to strike against any government” and that the union “has no intention, now or in the future” of conducting or threatening a strike against the transit agency.

 

In September 2007, in the earlier effort to regain the check-off, Mr. Toussaint signed an affidavit saying that the union did not assert the right to strike, omitting the statement about the union’s future intentions.

 

At that time the transit agency, which has made a priority of improving labor relations, said it would go along with the union’s request. But the city demanded that the court refuse.

 

In a November 2007 ruling, Justice Balter sided with the city, saying the union must unequivocally pledge not to strike again by submitting sworn statements by Mr. Toussaint and all members of the union’s executive board.

 

The union appealed, and last month an appellate panel altered Justice Balter’s decision, saying that the union could submit a single affidavit but that it should also renounce any future intention of carrying out a strike.

 

That prompted Mr. Toussaint’s new affidavit , which was accompanied by a resolution backing him that he said was passed by the executive board. His affidavit said a vote on the resolution was conducted by telephone.

 

But on Friday a member of the executive board denied being told that the board was taking a formal vote on the resolution. The board member, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from Mr. Toussaint, opposed the resolution.

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Serves them right. Unions need to be careful with how they act, unless they want to end up like the union workers over at GM that are about to be without jobs due to their own greed.

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How does it serve them right, I am a union member I am not proud of how the union handles certain issues, but if you wanna be a sucker and pay your money into your own medical then you can go work for Mcdonald's then. The strike wasn't about greed it was because TA wanted the employees to pay for their own medical if I wasn't mistaken.

 

There were also other reasons behind the strike that included the pension which I believe the TA wanted to raise the age limit of retirement to 62 years. Also there was an issue with work place conditions and other issues including using the restroom while operating the trains, and buses. Which there is still an issue with to this day in the subway if an employee has to take an emergency bathroom break while in service supervision makes a big deal outta of if.

 

So yea I don't know how the bathroom subsidizes in being greedy but read up on unions specially this union. It use to be one of the most feared unions in the city now its like paying the mafia if you ask me they arent much help and are scared of management lol.

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I pay for my medical. I have co-pay for anything when I need to use GHI. My union doesn't cover my medical fully. I have no sympathy for the Transit Union especially after they crippled NYC and ruined my work commute. I had to use up my vacation time so I could get paid during the strike. Unions need to look at whats going on with the automotive union at GM. The TWU could have surely came to an agreement with the MTA without going on strike. My union does so with the NYC Dept of Education. We get our contracts renewed without any issue.

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No offense, but transportation union & teacher union are nothing alike. I admire the skill it takes to stand at the front of a class & do your thing, but it pales in comparison to the work done by transit agencies. You think parents students ignoring you is irritating, try dealing with a passenger stopping up the system by refusing to pay or some such. That, plus driving a bus or train or collecting tolls is far more hazardous and stressful. You might put in long hours as a teacher, but imagine work being so hard on you that they have federal laws limiting consecutive work hours. Not to mention transit usually operates for most of the day if not 24 hours. Please try to put stuff into perspective.

 

- A

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I'm not a teacher. I work in the Superintendent Hearing Office where we do Hearings for kids that get suspended from schools. My union is DC-37 which is NYC's Largest municipal public employee union. I'm not saying the workers don't work hard. They work very hard. What I'm debating is the usefulness of Unions in today's society. Sure they were great back in the days when workers used to be sealed in factories with no breaks. They helped Workers get lots of benefits but lately, with the economic crisis, they've been more of a bad than good.

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I'm not a teacher. I work in the Superintendent Hearing Office where we do Hearings for kids that get suspended from schools. My union is DC-37 which is NYC's Largest municipal public employee union. I'm not saying the workers don't work hard. They work very hard. What I'm debating is the usefulness of Unions in today's society. Sure they were great back in the days when workers used to be sealed in factories with no breaks. They helped Workers get lots of benefits but lately, with the economic crisis, they've been more of a bad than good.

 

If you didn't have a union, DC 37, Teamster, or TWU you wouldn't have any benefits at all. No private company or municipality anywhere in the USA has to give you anything or would give anything without the union's fighting for it. Imagine your employer making you work on all holidays for straight pay and no time off. No sick pay or lunch break. Should we break the unions and go back to the early 20th century and the "be happy you have a job" mentality?Perhaps between hearings you should re-read some of those history and civics books the Education Dept. provides to it's students. It's not the workers who are running the businesses or municipalities into dire financial straits, it's the inept politicians, CEOs, and directors who have screwed up big time. You seem to imply that the workers should pay the price.

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Unions protect worker rights & safety. Yes, they can sometimes be unreasonable. No, they are not useless in today's world, in fact in this day & age of unparalleled corporate & administrative greed they are more important than ever.

 

- A

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If you didn't have a union, DC 37, Teamster, or TWU you wouldn't have any benefits at all. No private company or municipality anywhere in the USA has to give you anything or would give anything without the union's fighting for it. Imagine your employer making you work on all holidays for straight pay and no time off. No sick pay or lunch break. Should we break the unions and go back to the early 20th century and the "be happy you have a job" mentality?Perhaps between hearings you should re-read some of those history and civics books the Education Dept. provides to it's students. It's not the workers who are running the businesses or municipalities into dire financial straits, it's the inept politicians, CEOs, and directors who have screwed up big time. You seem to imply that the workers should pay the price.
My uncle is a Mechanical Engineer with a AECOM|DMJM Harris and none of the Engineers have any unions, yet he just took a vacation last week with the benefits he has with the company. He has everything. Sick leave, vacation time, good pay, health insurance. All of that without a union. Edited by Y2Julio

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"Unions protect worker rights & safety. Yes, they can sometimes be unreasonable. No, they are not useless in today's world, in fact in this day & age of unparalleled corporate & administrative greed they are more important than ever"..........I agree totally metsfan.....but this Roger has to go.....he will sell out his own mother I am afraid!!!

 

Unions rule!!!!! :)

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"Unions protect worker rights & safety. Yes, they can sometimes be unreasonable. No, they are not useless in today's world, in fact in this day & age of unparalleled corporate & administrative greed they are more important than ever"..........I agree totally metsfan.....but this Roger has to go.....he will sell out his own mother I am afraid!!!

 

Unions rule!!!!! :)

 

I'm a member of TWU Local 100 and I can assure you that the MTA would run roughshod over the workers if there was no union. They've been screwing us for years with a union, without one they'd have total domination. Right now they plan on sticking the wood to John Q. Public for their own financial miscues and Roger Toussaint won't stick up for us or you. Time for a change at Local 100.

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"Unions protect worker rights & safety. Yes, they can sometimes be unreasonable. No, they are not useless in today's world, in fact in this day & age of unparalleled corporate & administrative greed they are more important than ever"..........I agree totally metsfan.....but this Roger has to go.....he will sell out his own mother I am afraid!!!

 

Unions rule!!!!! ;)

 

I'm a member of TWU Local 100 and I can assure you that the MTA would run roughshod over the workers if there was no union. They've been screwing us for years with a union, without one they'd have total domination. Right now they plan on sticking the wood to John Q. Public for their own financial miscues and Roger Toussaint won't stick up for us or you. Time for a change at Local 100.

 

I wholeheartedly agree. I pay my dues and stuff, and when time comes, I am voting for change. Roger did this to get automatic dues reinstated. An honest union president wouldn't do this, and would get to the root of why people won't pay willingly. If they say, "cause you are the problem", they would find out why they are the problem, and correct themselves. He is about himself, and the money he is losing in his pocket. With dues being reinstated, he will get his money regardless of his performance. Him saying this is for our benefit, so the the union won't break is a cop-out. If members are breaking the union financially, well the are telling you something Roger. That many aren't paying do to laziness, and wanting a free ride. Most are doing it, cause they are fed up.

 

For those not paying, I can understand if they are doing it cause they are fed up, but if the union does fully break, well then be prepared for 30-62, and say good-bye to good benefits. Pensions would stay, but we would pay alot more towards it, and healthcare........

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For those not paying, I can understand if they are doing it cause they are fed up, but if the union does fully break, well then be prepared for 30-62, and say good-bye to good benefits. Pensions would stay, but we would pay alot more towards it, and healthcare........

 

I got news for you. If the shop became non-union, then we could kiss our pension goodbye, period. The MTA would love nothing more than to do away with the pension and replace it with a partial match 401(k) or 457.

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Serves them right. Unions need to be careful with how they act, unless they want to end up like the union workers over at GM that are about to be without jobs due to their own greed.

 

It used to be when one union gained benefits, other unions would say "Me Too".Now,when one union gains benefits, other unions say "Take them away" because we don't have them. There is no solidarity, only jealousy. DC37? Please.

Edited by SpikeMauler

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