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
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.
. . .
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)
* * *
New York Transport Workers Union Local 100
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
* * *
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
* * * *
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.
* * * *
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.
* * *
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.
* * * *
percent of the employees of New York City Transit are black,
Latino or Asian-American.)
* * * *
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
* * *
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
"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
* * *
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.
* * * *
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
* * *
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
* * *
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
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
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
* * *
* * *
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus
By Charles C. Mann
a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous
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
1493, Mann has taken it to a
new, truly global level. Building on the
groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby
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,
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.
* * *
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
* * *
The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
* * *
Ancient African Nations
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
* * * * *
Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
* * * * *
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
George Jackson /
* * *
The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
* * * * *
* * *
(Books, DVDs, Music, and more)
posted 24 December 2005