Worker’s correspondence

The seven days between Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 will long be remembered as “turnaround days” at Local 100, Transport Workers Union.

On September 19 the union, together with over 50 community organizations, held a City Hall press conference to call for a transit fare freeze.

On Friday the 20th the union delivered its contract demands to Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Chairman Peter Kalikow. Just three years ago most of the present union leadership was on the outside of these opening negotiations, demanding that the then leadership fulfill its promise to workers in terms of wages, hours and working conditions.

At that time, Roger Toussaint, now president of Local 100, was a fired track worker who helped lead that demonstration. Today, he is leading the union’s negotiating team.

In a two-hour presentation to management, and to the over 200 executive board members and elected shop floor officers, he talked about the economic conditions of the city and showed how management could easily accede to the union’s demands.

On Sept. 25, thousands of union members rallied at transit headquarters in Brooklyn to make sure that the management knows that the contract demands put forward by the union had the unified support of its membership.

On the following day, union members who are victims of the MTA’s workers’ compensation and medical disability programs met to form a group to dramatize the anti-worker actions of the authority.

So, in just seven days, the new leadership of Local 100, in office for a little over a year and a half, has fulfilled its promise to its members.

Now, three months of hard bargaining start.

– A transit worker