Friday, May 22, 2009

Take Back Our Union (TBOU)-Update-In the Transit and Transport unions
From the March-April 2009 issue of Union Democracy Review #178
In the Transit and Transport unions :

New York City's Local 100, the big union of subway and bus workers is about to hold elections wrapped in confusion, complex and contrived. Votes are to be cast in July and then sequestered in storage until December when they will be counted. This odd system was concocted by incumbent president Roger Toussaint and confirmed in a local referendum. He had a rationale for proposing this odd system, but this reporter forgets what it was and finds it not worthwhile to research it.

The local lost its dues checkoff rights after an unlawful strike, and so the good standing of potential voters will be subject to challenge. Half of the 38,000 membership is now in bad standing so many will be ineligible to vote. Apart from that, in the years since the strike, Toussaint has removed elected division representatives and declared them ineligible for falling behind in dues. Some claim that union records would show that they had in fact actually paid. But who's looking?

Meanwhile, Toussaint has taken a job with the international and will not run for reelection. His heir apparent and candidate for president is Curtis Tate, who has a more amiable reputation than the heavy-handed Toussaint. The leading opposition candidate for president, John Samuelsen, had once been in the Toussaint camp until he was cast out for mildly criticizing the president. His candidacy got a big boost when it was endorsed by Steve Downs, a founder and leader of the now defunct New Directions caucus. Toussaint was originally elected president as the New Direction reform candidate, but the group fell apart after he turned out to be more authoritarian than his predecessor. For more information on the TWU Local 100 Election visit

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