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Seventy percent of the employees of New York City Transit are black, Latino or Asian-American.

You call us “irresponsible.” New York City and New York State have slashed their subsidies for mass transit.

Mayors and  Governors have created a seemingly permanent Structural Deficit for transit which much be filled

by costly borrowing. Wall Street has profited, but Main Street has suffered.



NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority 

& Transit Workers' Union Announce Settlement   


Last night the executive board of the union, Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, voted 37 to 4 to approve the tentative 37-month contract. One member abstained. The city's 33,700 subway and bus workers are expected to vote on the agreement early next month; some are expected to oppose it out of unhappiness over having to pay toward health premiums for the first time.

The agreement calls for transit workers to pay 1.5 percent of their wages toward the premiums, cutting into the raises they receive. That comes on top of the fines of slightly more than $1,000 that most transit workers face for participating in last week's illegal transit strike.

The settlement calls for raises of 3 percent in the deal's first year, 4 percent in the second year and 3.5 percent in the third year. The subway and bus workers' current base pay averages $47,000 a year, and with overtime, their average yearly earnings total $55,000. . . .

Bowing to the authority's wishes, the union agreed to a 37-month contract instead of a 36-month contract, making the expiration date Jan. 15, 2009, rather than Dec. 15, 2008. That move will no doubt please Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the city's retailers, because it removes the risk of a paralyzing strike at the peak of the holiday shopping season. . . .

The agreement on health premiums will save the authority nearly $32 million a year. . . .

The Local 100 president, Roger Toussaint, . . . won sizable raises - although he originally demanded raises of 8 percent a year - and pressured the authority to abandon its demands for concessions on pensions and for treating future workers worse than current ones. . . .—Steven Greenhouse and Sewell Chan. “Transit Workers in Deal to Share Health Plan Cost.” ( NYTimes, December 28, 2005)

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Support New York Transport Workers Union Local 100

We call on the good will of all New Yorkers, the labor community, and all working people, to recognize that our fight is their fight, and to rally in our support with solidarity activities and events: show the MTA that TWU does not stand alone.Roger Toussaint

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Toussaint to Bloomberg: You are Shaming NYC


Dec. 21- Yesterday you used your position as Mayor of New York to call us "thuggish" and "selfish." How dare you? Our children turn on the TV to see the Mayor denouncing their parents as "morally reprehensible." Have you no shame?

As you know better than most, this strike was forced on us by the MTA. You know this because you share much of the blame. It is your provocative rhetoric about what givebacks we transit workers must accept for the next generation of transit -- our children and new immigrants -- that has pushed our members beyond the limits of their patience.

You all but demanded this confrontation, and now you act angry and surprised. You owe all New Yorkers an apology for poisoning the atmosphere around difficult labor negotiations.

You call us “irresponsible.” New York City and New York State have slashed their subsidies for mass transit. Mayors and Governors have created a seemingly permanent Structural Deficit for transit which much be filled by costly borrowing. Wall Street has profited, but Main Street has suffered. But you knew that already from your previous career. Now that the debt-servicing bill has come due, the MTA demands that we pay the price: worse health care and worse pensions.

But what about our conducting an "illegal" strike? What about the law? You are all over the media with high-minded talk about "illegal" behavior, castigating criminals and screaming that no one is above the law. Your hypocrisy knows no bounds. You must hope everyone has forgotten your biography: "Bloomberg on Bloomberg." You boast on Page 59 on how you started your rise to great wealth, great enough to enable you to buy the Mayor's office twice. You set up your office "...all without permission, violating every fire law, building code and union regulation on the books."

I guess illegality is in the eye of the beholder. A confessed lawbreaker has the gall to lecture 34,000 hard working people whose only crime is standing up for their families and for dignity and respect on one of the toughest, most dangerous jobs in New York.

Stop using transit workers as a punching bag to undo decades of pension gains for city workers. Stop demonizing transit workers in the eyes of the public.

Stop bullying and start acting like the Mayor you promised to be.

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New York Times Reports (excerpts)

"We thank riders for their patience and forbearance," President Roger Touissant said outside union headquarters this afternoon. "We will be providing various details regarding the outcome of this strike in the next several days."

In a speech that belied the union's tenuous position - it is already being fined $1 million a day - Mr. Toussaint seemed to cast the conflict in a social-justice context. In describing the struggle of his largely minority union, he invoked the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, saying: "There is a higher calling than the law. That is justice and equality."

The transit strike, the first in a quarter century, began at 3 a.m. Tuesday after negotiations between the union and the transit authority broke down over the authority's last-minute demand that all new transit workers contribute 6 percent of their wages toward their pensions - up from the 2 percent that current workers pay.

The authority has said it needs to rein in its soaring pension costs. Mr. Toussaint has argued that, under state law, it is illegal for the authority to insist on including a pension demand as part of a settlement.

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Not only that, but the mayor, the governor and editorial writers are denouncing the union as greedy and showing contempt for the law. The front page of The New York Post screamed, "You Rats." And the transit workers' parent union has come out in opposition to the strike.

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Mr. Toussaint also sought to throw Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki on the defensive by asserting that the dispute was essentially a showdown between hard-working New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet and a moneyed establishment. At the head of that establishment, Mr. Toussaint said repeatedly, is a billionaire mayor, out of touch with working-class New Yorkers.

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(Seventy percent of the employees of New York City Transit are black, Latino or Asian-American.)

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Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Tuesday (December 20) that union leaders had "thuggishly turned their backs on New York City" . . . minority leaders and union members attacked the mayor's conduct as objectionable, or worse. "There has been some offensive and insulting language used," said Roger Toussaint, the union leader. "This is regrettable and it is certainly unbecoming for the mayor of the city of New York to be using this type of language."

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The Rev. Al Sharpton, who called an evening news conference to blast Mr. Bloomberg, said in an interview: "How did we become thugs? Because we strike over a pension?"

"I do not think the language would have been used in a union that was not as heavily populated by people of color," he added. "And whether he intentionally did it or not, he offended a lot of people of color and he ought to address that, and come to the bargaining table."

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Mr. Toussaint  . . . cast the strike as part of a broader movement for social justice and invoked the civil rights movement, as he often does in his calls to respect the dignity of his workers. "Had Rosa Parks answered the call of the law instead of the higher call of justice, many of us who are driving buses today would instead be at the back of the bus," he said.

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Mr. Toussaint, who is originally from Trinidad, leads a union, now dominated by blacks, Latinos and Asian-Americans, whose members were once mostly of European descent. 

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Mr. Sharpton made the civil rights connection explicit, noting that when Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, he was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers' strike, a strike also held to be illegal.

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Toussaint: TWU Local 100 on Strike
Tuesday, December 20, 2005


With a one billion dollar surplus, a contract between the MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 100 should have been a no brainer. Sadly that has not been the case. Our contract expired on midnight Thursday. In an attempt to save mass transit and in deference to our riders, we postponed our deadline and attempted to continue talking to the MTA.

From the beginning, the MTA approached these negotiations in bad faith: demanding arbitration before even trying to resolve the contract. And hours before our contract expired, the MTA voted to spend its one billion dollar surplus -- a surplus which we believe continues to be understated by some one hundred million dollars.

The MTA knew that reducing health and pension standards at the authority would be unacceptable to our union. They knew there was no good economic reason for their hard line on this issue - not with a billion dollar surplus. But, they went ahead anyway, supported by the Bloomberg administration, which wants to overrun municipal labor unions and all city workers with down pressed wages and gutted health benefits and pension plans.

This has been combined with continued attempts by the MTA, joined by the Governor and the Mayor, to intimidate and threaten our members and their families. This is a fight over whether hard work will be rewarded with a decent retirement and over the erosion or eventual elimination of health benefits for working people. It is a fight over dignity and respect on the job; a concept that is very alien to the MTA. Transit workers are tired at being under appreciated and disrespected.

The Local 100 Executive Board has voted overwhelmingly to extend strike action to all MTA properties effective immediately. All Local 100 representatives and shop stewards are directed to report to their assigned strike locations picket lines or facility nearest you immediately. To our riders, we ask for your understanding and forbearance. We stood with you to keep token booths open, to keep conductors on the train, and to oppose fare hikes. We now ask that you stand with us.

We did not want a strike - the MTA, the governor, and the mayor did. We call on the good will of all New Yorkers, the labor community, and all working people, to recognize that our fight is their fight, and to rally in our support with solidarity activities and events: show the MTA that TWU does not stand alone.


*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

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#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

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#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

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#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
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#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

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#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 24 December 2005 




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Related files:  We Need Political Climate Change   Transit Workers' Union Announce Settlement