Friday, January 27, 2006

Labour Notes Hates Unions

New York Transit Workers Reject Proposed Contract
by Steve Downs - Transport Workers Union, Local 100
Labour Notes (Mouth Piece Front for Trotskyist organization Solidarity)

New York City’s bus and subway workers have sent shock waves through the labor movement and beyond as they demand that their employer and their union--Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100--give them a fair contract.

First, they walked off the job December 20, shutting down New York’s vital transit system for three days. Then, exactly one month later, they voted by a narrow seven-vote margin (11,234 to 11,227) to reject the proposed contract settlement.

Local 100’s strike rocked the city’s labor movement. Finally, a union was standing up to demands for givebacks and restructuring. And they were doing it in dramatic fashion. New York’s buses and subways were stopped cold at the height of the holiday shopping season.


The strike was called in response to the MTA’s (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) demand that future workers pay more for their pensions. But on the picket lines strikers were taking a stand against years of petty harassment and abuse from the MTA--while also demanding that there be no givebacks in the contract.

The strike drew clear lines in the city. On one side, working people showed strong support for the strike. A poll taken on the second day showed that 54 percent of the city’s residents supported the union’s position.

Many people stopped at picket lines to say that, although they didn’t like having to walk, they hoped the strikers held firm and got a good contract. Some gave strikers money to buy coffee. Others asked to have their pictures taken with pickets. Drivers honked their horns in solidarity as they drove by.


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