Given that you are John Samuelsen’s “Chief” ally in his re-election bid, it’s no surprise that your editorial “Height of Hypocrisy” (Oct. 26 issue) tried to help him run and hide from the Wall Street Journal expose that showed he is trying to delay the bad news about a bad contract until after the Local 100 election in December. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Journal, which (unlike the Chief) has no dog in this election fight, confirmed the sad news we have been broadcasting all along: Samuelsen has no contract strategy; only an election strategy.
To try to protect Samuelsen you dredged up the 2005 strike again, pretending that 7-year-old strike, not Samuelsen’s own failures, is the reason Local 100 members are now near the end of a full year of no wage increases, a Tier 6 pension and, worst of all, no contract.
What you conveniently left out is that in 2009, the first negotiations after the 2005 strike, Local 100 negotiated a contract with an 11.23% raise, in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The only difference between 2009 and 2012 is that in 2012 John Samuelsen is the president of Local 100.
The outcome of the 2009 negotiations suggests a politically powerful, well-organized union—not the weak one that Samuelsen claims he inherited.
As for the union’s post-strike finances, the union had already done its own belt-tightening before its dues income was fully restored by the courts in November 2008. It carried no debts into 2009. If anything, in the immediate aftermath of dues revocation, the 2008-2009 round of contract negotiations took place under a more difficult situation for the union’s finances.
Among the other gains from the 2005 strike, Local 100 members won retiree health benefits for the first time ever, and bought a seven-year reprieve from the same Tier 6 pension that Samuelsen allowed in without a fight. He even called it a victory!
You also “forgot” to mention that the International Labor Organization (basically PERB for the whole world) ruled last year that the politicians and the courts violated our human rights when they took away the local’s dues checkoff, fined the members and the union and put its President in jail. The ILO said that the government should give us back those fines and compensate the local for the loss of checkoff. Maybe you “forgot” the ILO decision because the Samuelsen administration has done nothing with it. They’ve done nothing because it will take major organizing and mobilizing to implement it, and that’s just not what they’re about.
As for Roger Toussaint, he has no intention whatsoever of coming back and, luckily, it is up to transit workers to choose their leaders, not the press.
Contrary to the Chief’s biased “reporting,” our slate includes people from all factions and no faction at all. I value our members for their ability, experience and character. I don’t care who they may or may not have supported in the past. Now it’s time to make the future.
The Chief should stop serving as the mouthpiece for Mr. Samuelsen’s continuing efforts to blame others for his own failures.
Candidate for President, TWU Local 100, Transport Workers United Slate