Feds investigate TWU election
The feds are probing whether Roger Toussaint allies messed with an election that determined the former transit boss’s next job.
The U.S. Department of Labor has launched an investigation of the Transport Workers Union of America, a national organization that represents local members, according to department documents. The feds are looking into charges that the Toussaint administration played favorites with who could vote at the national union elections in Las Vegas last year, when he was elected as a vice president.
“It was all part of a dirty scheme,” said Ainsley Stewart, a Brooklyn transit worker and Toussaint critic, who filed charges after he was barred from the national convention.
Investigators are also responding to charges that Toussaint’s allies shut out critics from the convention, while allowing in supporters who shouldn’t have been there, according to the complaint.
“It changes everything,” said Tommy Creegan, a union officer who lost against Toussaint. “I demand my seat now that’s he’s been suspected of cheating.”
Workers must continuously pay their dues to be a union representative, but at least a handful of the 125 local delegates were not up on their payments, TWU 100 president John Samuelsen said. The union lost automatic dues deduction from their paychecks after the 2005 transit strike, and Toussaint’s administration developed a confusing system to determine who was in good standing, critics say.
Toussaint did not respond to requests for comment. A labor department spokesman declined to comment on an open investigation.
If true, the favoritism would violate federal law, and investigators could demand the election be redone, a labor department spokesman said.
Current TWU leaders are cooperating with the investigation, Samuelsen said. A spokeswoman for the national TWU said they are complying with a “routine investigation” based on one allegation, and wouldn’t comment further on how it could impact the election results.