The Chief-Leader: TWU does the right thing

Editorial, July 16, 2010 issue

Transport Workers Union Local 100 board members deserve credit for approving a resolution under which union members would pay $5 weekly over the next six months to help cover the health-care costs of colleagues who have been laid off in recent weeks as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s budget cuts.

Rank-and-file transit workers, who will have to vote in favor of the plan for it to take effect, should follow in the spirit of their board. It is because the union refused to give up or defer key benefits, including a pay raise, that the MTA went ahead with the layoffs. Those who were spared because they had greater seniority should be willing to make a relatively small sacrifice to assist those who lost their jobs.

Doing so will help build solidarity in the ranks, which is particularly important because there is a decent likelihood that at least half of those who were laid off could be recalled as vacancies arise that need to be filled. It also reinforces the strength of a union previously ripped apart by internal strife growing out of the consequences of the 2005 strike by making a statement that those fortunate enough to escape the ax appreciate the sacrifice others were forced to make to protect hard-won benefits.