Home Asides From the TWU, opening salvos in a long war

From the TWU, opening salvos in a long war

by Benjamin Kabak

A pair of articles concerning the TWU and its touchy relationship with the MTA caught my attention yesterday. First, NY1 reported on a small labor protest involving health care. Allegedly, the MTA has violated its contract by cutting some union members’ health care benefits, and the TWU has filed a protest. “There are issues with prescriptions, issues with hospital stays. There is an across the board effort by the MTA to nickel and dime transit workers to death,” TWU President John Samuelsen said. “If they attack our benefits, we’re gonna attack back.”

The Daily News too covered what they termed a “flash mob” protest. According to Pete Donohue’s coverage, Monday’s mini-protest was the first in a concerted attempt to bring “unorthodox and unexpected” to the MTA. “This fight starts now,” Samuelsen said.

For its part, the MTA struck a somewhat conciliatory tone. “We look forward to sitting at the bargaining table to negotiate, in good faith, a new collective bargaining agreement with TWU Local 100,” the MTA said. The problem is one of timing: The MTA cannot fight a political fight for capital dollars while negotiating with the union while waiting for and adjusting to a new CEO and Chairman. They could use a union willing to hold back until everything else is settled, but that seems like an unlikely outcome right now. The fall will be an interesting one indeed.

You may also like


Larry Littlefield September 14, 2011 - 3:15 pm

The Census Bureau reported yesterday that inflation-adjusted median household income in the U.S. has fallen for three consecutive years, and aside from the rich it is barely higher than decades ago as this chart shows. And that is with more workers per family.


How does this compare with the inflation-adjusted wages of TWU workers under the previous contact? How about the cost of their pension and other benefits? How much have the wages of MTA managers gone up, and how has the number of MTA managers changed? And how have riders fared, in service cuts and fare increases, lately?

The TWU believes that they deserve to be better off compared with the other groups mentioned, who presumably deserve to be worse off to pay for it. They pretend otherwise, but they are more like the top 10 percent in the chart than like the other 90 percent, with rising benefits for more years when not working in retirement taking the place of the big bonuses of the rich.

Come to think of it, those on Wall Street are protesting their “unfair treatment” too by, shifting their campaign contributions to Republicans. Too much regulation unfairly limiting their profits, they say. Just shows it isn’t how well off you are. It is how well off you are, relative to how entitled you feel.

John September 14, 2011 - 8:33 pm

John Samuelsen is a big blow hard. He huffs and he puffs and he…well he needs to use a gym and quit using his mouth so much. This is the problem with big labor. In the pockets of democrats, you wonder how this union survives. They want everything free. Entitlement central. It’s pathetic. Can that man go away please?


Leave a Comment