Why I’m running for TWU Executive Vice President

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When I first became active in this local there was a passion that spilled down from the international to fight for our members rights. At the time I was getting my private pilot license and had decided that my next job move would be to the cockpit or dispatch. Being a newly elected shop steward and engaging in daily battles with management, I decided to put my pilot license on hold and start taking classes at the National Labor college and Cornell University. After two internships with the International I was hired as a Researcher and felt this union was strong and thought that everyone was working together to do what was best for the membership. We rallied against union busting firms, organized mistreated workers and did contract comparisons for negotiations. We also had ground breaking support for our youth committee.

 

However, I saw a change in 2013. I saw a President take over that was more corporate-minded than union-minded. I saw him yell at people in the office for not picking him up at the train station, belittle the office staff, and deny FMLA for maternity leave in violation of Washington, DC law. A dark cloud started to grow over my faith and love for TWU when others from the top 5 and the chief of staff started acting in the same way as the president. I saw important departments such as Organizing, Safety and Health, and Research be put on the back burner or diminished in favor of other self-serving acts. The lack of support for women including pregnant women appall me. I became so disgusted with the way our union was being run that I could not take it anymore. I brought my concerns to Alex Garcia and he told me I would not see any progression because the current officers will never support a youth or mentorship program as they fear the youth would become their replacements. My complaints fell on deaf ears.

 

After years of putting my heart and soul into the union, including six years total at the intentional level, I decided to fight for my union in another way. One of the many great things about being union is that you can run for a leadership position if you do not like the way the union is being run. I ran for a board position at my local in 2016 and won against the incumbent and six other candidates. I will continue to fight for the members and the union I love, and extend my fight to support all unions and members that TWU represents. I will bring organizing back, mobilize our youth through mentorships, and promote actions and committees. I will treat all members with respect and honor local autonomy. I will fight alongside my brothers and sisters to ensure fair treatment; this is what the union was formed on through legislation, work action and unity. Silence is Compliance and I refuse to stay silent! That is why I am running for Executive Vice President of the International. I want to bring the union back to the members. We are the ones that run this union.

 

Angela Kasse
Recording Secretary
TWU Local 555

1 COMMENT

  1. Regarding the TWU International officers election, what we’re watching unfold is indicative of the dysfunction that we’ve been talking about leading up to September’s convention. Tuesday May 2nd’s Shakespearean coup on current TWU President Harry Lombardo is Samuelsen and company’s idea of satisfactory regime change. Although I still believe that the true democratic process is lost in the delegate system, and by no means am I a fan of Harry Lombardo, we now find ourselves removing and selecting leaders at the top by threats and blackmail, and not by delegate vote. Use of the term, “Unexpected retirement” is usually code for “Step down or else”. Savvy members see right through this, especially those who have known and experienced the ruthless and dictatorial nature of John Samuelsen.

    Be that as it may, and I don’t say this lightly, we are headed for a perfect storm. The greedy, malicious, deceitful, and apathetic style of a Samuelsen Presidency is about to infect the rest of the TWU. Couple that with a delegate and officer support system that relies on bribes, threats, and power brokering and not talent and selflessness. Add the continuing culture of leaving the members out of the direct selection process of our top elected officers. Just those three ingredients will ensure a dark future of keeping those in power, who to date, use our dues money as a bottomless checkbook to maintain the power and control of an organization that has evolved into a self serving country club.

    As we continue to reach as many people as possible and educate them as to the convention process, surprise is the usual response. “We don’t get to vote for these guys?” No. The delegate system is a representative system. You vote for those who vote for them. The members have no control once their delegates have been chosen. Not everyone who is put in the position to have so much control with so little accountability to the members is corrupt. But you can bet your bottom dollar, the perfect storm of a morally and financially corrupt Samuelsen Administration is headed right for the TWU Headquarters in Washington DC and a continuing era of non-accountability, malaise, and waste will ensue. Only a handful of people can stop it. But they can’t do it without your support.

    Liz Rodriguez
    MaBSTOA Bus Operator
    TWU Local 100

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