Q&A with the TWU's new boss
In a surprising upset, John Samuelsen was elected last month to take over the Transport Workers Union Local 100, trumping a slate backed by Roger Toussaint. amNewYork sat down with the 42-year-old Brooklyn track worker during his second official week on the job:
What change in tone are you bringing to the union?
Over the last several years, the union was in absolute disarray. A union engulfed in infighting is an easy target. Since I’ve gotten here, I’ve fought to make this union strong. A union that stands together wins fights against the MTA.
How have you dealings with MTA CEO Jay Walder been so far?
(My initial meeting) was cordial. It was prior to his public announcement that there was the potential of … layoffs. We’re going to fight (that) at every possible level and every possibly arena, whether its Albany, City Hall or on the railroad tracks.
How should the MTA improve its finances?
They need to stop farming out contracts to outside contractors. They wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on all these projects. The MTA and TWU can also jointly seek funding together. That’s an area that has greater potential.
What are your favorite parts of the subway?
I like the N line out in Brooklyn. I’ve done a lot of work on those tracks over the years and know them well. I also like the F line, when it comes on the elevated structure in Brooklyn. It’s beautiful if you ride in the front of the car.