Union leaders: Transit contract dispute could inspire "direct action"
A band of union leaders are on a collision course with MTA management.
The aggressive new leaders gunning to take over the Transport Workers Union Local 100 are pledging to take action of some sort next month if the MTA continues to fight their raises.
“Rather than taking the soft approach, the only thing that will convince the transit authority is direct action,” said John Samuelsen, 42, a track worker who leads the slate challenging the current TWU leadership.
Workers in the 35,000-member union voted earlier this year to elect new executives, and ballots in the contentious race will be counted Monday with results expected to be announced by the evening.
The contract has become a pivotal issue in the election. An arbitration panel granted workers 11 percent raises over three years, but the MTA is seeking to overturn the contract. A judge is considering the matter and is expected to make a decision in the next month or two, board members said.
Curtis Tate, the current TWU president who took over from Roger Toussaint, has organized rallies in response to the spat. In an interview with amNewYork, Samuelsen would not spell out how he would “ratchet up” pressure against the MTA, but said that it would be “significant.”
The election is expected to be close, but Samuelsen’s team had an leg up in a partial count earlier this year.