Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Take Back Our Union (TBOU) Elecetion Update-Message from John Samuelsen

A Message from John Samuelsen

Thank you for your support. With it we will change Local 100 and make it a strong union again. In this campaign I have met and talked with thousands of Local 100 members and it is clear – they want change. They are tired of the old union politics. They want a new, revitalized Local 100. The membership needs and deserves it.

If you have not yet voted, please do so today. Put an “X” three times in the slate boxes for Take Back Our Union. Put the ballots in the mail so you don’t forget to send them back in time to be counted.

If you have not received a ballot by now but paid your dues and came into good standing on or before June 1, 2009, call (800) 529-5218 and ask the American Arbitration Association to send you a ballot.

We have gotten a few reports that United Invincible supporters are asking people to give them their ballots. If true, that’s cheating. It violates the election rules and federal law. Don’t do it. It’s your vote in a secret ballot election. No one will know how you voted unless you tell them.
United Invincible’s campaign of lies has fallen apart. People see through it. Their campaign of personal attacks against me and trying to divide one group of members against another has not worked and couldn’t. Local 100 members know that only by working together in one union can we all do better.

The Truth about the Sale of the Building

One of the questions I have been asked many times has to do with finding out the facts about the sale of our Union’s building. The truth is the current leadership of this union attempted to sell the union hall two weeks before the expiration of our contract in 2005. Prior to selling it, Roger Toussaint and Ed Watt were strongly advised by the Local 100 Executive Board committee established to look at the building sale issue, that the deal didn’t make sense.

Toussaint Fires me for Opposing the Sale

On December 3, 2006, several elected Maintenance of Way officers, including myself issued a public statement to Toussaint urging him to delay the sale of the building until after the contract fight - and subsequent strike - was over. I and another elected Track Division officer were then fired from the Union for taking that position.

Why the Sale was Wrong

In the summer of 2008, I used the rights I had under federal law and demanded to review documents related to the sale and resale of our Union Hall. Contrary to the current leadership's assertions that there was nothing wrong with the building sale, the deal was riddled with problems.

*Three dummy corporations were established for the purposes of purchasing our Union Hall. Still to this day, the names of the owners of those corporations have not been fully revealed.

*The whereabouts of the cash assets resulting from the sale was never fully explained to the union’s executive board or to the members of this union. As a result of my review of the records I found out that much of the money was invested in a mysterious corporation called Land of America. It was not, as Tate and Toussaint have said, initially invested solely in Treasury Bonds.

*The investment in Land of America Corp. was done to avoid Local 100 having to pay the capital gains tax on the profit made from the sale.

*Due to complete incompetence on the part of Watt, (Toussaint’s right hand man and Tate’s advisor) the Land of America scheme failed and we had to pay $8,000,000 in capital gains tax to the federal government.

*Toussaint claims he got top dollar for the building when he sold it for $60 million. It was sold at nearly the height of the Manhattan real estate market.

*A little more then a year later, the secret owners of the building "flipped " it for $90 million, making a quick $30,000,000 profit on our Union Hall. The second $90 million sale was accomplished, in my opinion, in a weaker real estate market.
Today we are paying rent on a building which we once owned. We went from earning millions of dollars in rent to paying millions of dollars in rent. Yet, Tate, Watt and the rest of the current leadership insists that the sale of the building was great for Local 100.

The Real Difference

In many ways, what happened to the building shows the real difference between me and Tate and the people running on our respective slates. I stood up to Toussaint when he was doing something wrong. I supported him when he was doing something right, but when the interests of the membership were at stake, I demonstrated I am willing to pay the personal price of doing what I know is right.

By contrast, a vote for Tate is a vote for Toussaint. Tate and the rest of his slate never stood up to Toussaint about selling the building or anything else. If United Invincible never could stand up for the members inside our union, how can they be expected to stand up for the members to management and others outside our union? The truth is most of the members know they can’t be trusted.

I have the proven experience of organizing workers to successfully stand-up to management. Please stand with me and thousands of your Union Sisters and Brothers and cast your vote for the entire Take Back Our Union slate. Vote today before it is too late.

Vote for Change

During the campaign, President Barrack Obama said: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” President Obama is right. And your time is now.

Again, on behalf of every member running for 175 spots in this election on the Take Back Our Union slate, I thank you for putting your trust in change. You will not be disappointed.
John Samuelsen -To visit our campaign web site:

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