Today's Daily News's editorial, "Mayor, money and mania," wraps the story of the failed de Blasio horse carriage bill -- that would have banned hundreds of pedicab drivers from the park below 85th Street, destroying their livelihoods. Drivers like Ali Salih (pictured), an Iraqi refugee whose impoverished family back in Baghdad depends on him to buy food for survival.
The paper gives credit to TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen, who saw the danger to the pedicab drivers and acted forcefully, deploying the union's legal, organizing, and media resources to raise the drivers' profile and torpedo Intro. 573. When we began our tough fight just two weeks ago, it looked like the Mayor's bill, that would reward carriage horse owners who stood to make big money by selling their stables, was headed for a slam-dunk. The City Council's Transportation Committee was in favor by a 10-2 margin.
Then the plan began to unravel, when carriage horse drivers took a second look at how it would winnow their numbers and the Central Park Conservancy started to have second thoughts about a proposed $25 million stable in the Park. And the pedicab drivers started to organize -- with our help. The numbers started to shift on the Transportation Committee as our campaign grew stronger. The plight of the drivers became major news in the daily papers and on local TV. Then, on Thursday morning, the Teamsters withdrew their support.
It added up to a win for working people and a reaffirmation of the TWU's social consciousness, to stand up for working families against a "so-called progressive Mayor." A protest march set for Thursday afternoon turned into a victory rally at Central Park.
Even the animal rights activists saw through the clutter, with noted activist Elizabeth Forel writing in a personal letter to the TWU: "Thank you for coming to the rescue of the pedicab drivers. You guys were the true heroes here."
The TWU Local 100/MTA NYCT Childcare Fund is now taking applications for summer camp for the children of TWU members! The camp runs from July 5, 2016 to August 12, 2016. A great way to entertain the kids during the summer, with free shuttle, t-shirts, bookbags, and lots of great activities! Contact the Childcare Fund at 718-780--8700 for more information, and download our flyer here!
TWU International President Harry Lombardo swore in the newly elected members of Local 100’s Executive Board Thursday morning – and called for-post election unity. Local 100 President John Samuelsen echoed those sentiments, and said that he would do everything within his power to make Local 100 a more united union. “We had a hard-fought election, no doubt about it,” Samuelsen said. “That’s to be expected. This is Local 100. It’s not kindergarten. It’s not a tea party. Everyone here in this room has earned the respect of the members and it’s my intention to honor that respect. I’m looking for a fresh start and I hope everyone in this room is looking for a fresh start.”
Local 100 is arranging for “nuts and bolts” training for newly elected officers to better prepare them to handle contract-enforcement issues, workers compensation cases and other responsibilities, Samuelsen said.
The challenges facing Local 100 include negotiating a new contract for MTA bus and subway workers. The current contract expires in January 2017.
Local 100 will launch a fight for the state Legislature to enact pension reform and rollback the higher contributions imposed on Tier Six workers.
All public-sector unions, meanwhile, face the very real possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court this year will hand down a decision making it more difficult for unions to collect dues or agency fees. The Executive Committee held a strategy meeting Wednesday, and a sweeping plan of action focusing on internal organizing and officer training is being developed, Samuelsen said.
On other fronts, contract negotiations have begun in Westchester with the county and Liberty Lines. The last contract was reached only after very contentious negotiations and the threat of a strike. Local 100 will be ready to take such militant action if necessary, he said.
“If you fight back, you may not win every time,” Samuelsen said. “But if you don’t fight back, you will lose every time.”
In the web magazine "Next City," reporter Josh Cohen profiles TWU Local 100s growing representation of bike share workers with the newest unit formed in Jersey City, N.J.
Here's the article:
Around the same time last week that Portland was grabbing bike-share headlines with an announcement that the city had partnered with Nike to launch a system this summer, Jersey City bike-share workers were quietly taking newsworthy action of their own: On Jan. 8, they voted 8-3 to join the Transport Workers Union Local 100. The vote makes them the fifth bike-share program in the U.S. to unionize.
Citi Bike Jersey City launched last September with 350 bikes at 35 stations. Though its management, staff and finances are independent of New York City’s Citi Bike program, memberships are reciprocal, meaning a Jersey City member’s key fob works in NYC and vice versa. Jersey City contracted with Motivate (formerly Alta Bike Share), which provides the bikes, docking stations, mechanics, station re-balancers and other operations staff. The largest bike-share company in the U.S., Motivate also operates systems in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Seattle and elsewhere.
“The same company is running it. The equipment is the same. All of those things are integrated. The Jersey City workers are being trained by New York workers. From our perspective it is almost the same set up … so we started organizing right away,” says Nicholas Bedell, TWU Local 100’s director of education.