Transit workers rally in Brooklyn Heights against their own union
TWU Local 100 faction warn against concessions
The contract for 38,000 New York City Transit workers expires on Jan. 15, and a group of union members says they fear the union will make too many concessions to the city during upcoming negotiations.
On Thursday, dozens of Transport Workers United (TWU) Local 100 members rallied outside of TWU headquarters on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. They held signs saying, “Reps are supposed to work for us, not management,” and “Stop the corruption inside TWU Local 100.”
Joe Campbell, a car inspector and union member, said that some workers felt that the last contract negotiated by the union was full of concessions.
The new contract shouldn’t “put the burden on new employees, retirees, or anybody else that’s too weak to defend themselves,” Campbell said.
He added, “And we’re tired of concessionary and cannibalistic bargaining within our union. We want our leadership to know that we’re watching them and we won’t tolerate it this time.”
Jim Gannon, Director of Communications for TWU Local 100, sharply disagreed with the protestors.
“The last contract was the best of any public sector union in the city or state. There were zero concessions, and many improvements including two weeks fully paid maternity and paternity for the birth and adoption of a child,” Gannon told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday.
“We had raises in every year, the only public sector union to get that,” he said.
Gannon acknowledged that new employees, under the agreement, now take five years to achieve top pay (it had been three years). But that’s still better than other city unions, he said.
“Ask the cops how many years to top pay it takes,” Gannon said.
Gannon said the current contract also includes a big jump in line of duty death pay, which went from $50,000 to $250,000.
This means that the family of a conductor or flagger who dies on the job, such as Louis Gray, killed by a train last week, gets this increased payout. The current contract also extended full medical coverage to spouses of pre-Medicare retirees.
Campbell, an ally of former TWU Local 100 President Roger Toussaint, according to “The Chief,” ran against current President John Samuelsen in 2012 and lost.
The MTA is in the midst of its largest capital budget outlay in history, with $27 billion in new funding.
TWU workers include track workers, station agents, bus operators, maintainers, cleaners and more.
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