Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The other transit union is lame, too

Remember back in April, when Streetsblog's Ben Fried interviewed John Samuelsen, president of the Transit Workers' Union Local 100? Remember how he paid some lip service to the idea of challenging the legislature on their zeroing out of the state's MTA contribution, not to mention their theft of $118 million in "dedicated" MTA tax money? But then he seemed much more interested in demonizing Jay Walder for not agreeing to transfer $100 million in stimulus funding from the capital fund to operating expenses? And he gave cover to Joanne Millman and Bill Perkins, in the hopes that everyone would forget that they were AWOL on congestion pricing and bridge tolls? And he revealed that the recently elected Local 100 executive board hadn't made up their minds about whether or not they supported congestion pricing or not?

Streetsblog commenter Marty Barfowitz had the best response, which deserves to be quoted in full. This guy should have his own blog!
The TWU is "still" debating congestion pricing? Really!? I don't recall them hardly discussing, debating or supporting congestion pricing the first time around. As far as I could tell the TWU was mostly non-existent on the issue when it really mattered. I never understood that. Now look: The transit system doesn't have any money and TWU workers are getting laid off left and right.

Niccolo: If you can point to something here on the Internets that shows Roger Touissant vocally and publicly supporting congestion pricing when it really mattered, I'd be happy to be enlightened. But as best I can tell the TWU under Touissant didn't do a thing on congestion pricing making them, in my eyes, the dumbest, most self-destructive union in New York state.

It's gonna be tough for those TWU workers to make their car payments now that they don't have a job. But, hey, enjoy those free East River bridges and your solidarity with the working class motorist, you geniuses.

Okay, so Local 100 is useless. But there are other unions at the MTA: several other locals of the TWU, plus a couple locals of the Amalgamated Transit Union. They're going to tell it like it is, right?

Sadly, they're not. Their longtime supporter Corey Bearak posted a press release (PDF) today. The fact that a transit union still works with Bearak, anti-congestion-pricing point man, should tell you all you need to know. But in case you wanted to be sure:
Residents, whether riders or not, must united to oppose these misguided and harmful actions. As a first step contact your state legislator to press the Governor and the MTA. Second, call 3-1-1 and demand that the Mayor who found the time to tape a commercial to urge Lebron James to play here to prevail upon the MTA to restore these cuts.

Note that this is not contact your state legislator to demand that drivers pay their fair share, or to demand that they restore the $118 million they stole, or the other $150+ million that they're currently withholding. This is to ask them to "press the Governor and the MTA." Oh, and call the Mayor to "prevail upon the MTA."

Press the Governor to do what? Prevail on the MTA to do what? "The City Council proposed averting service cuts through $90 million in unused federal stimulus monies to cover operations and applying some $50 million in funds currently allocated to pay-as-you-go capital." So never mind the billions we're paying to renovate our "free" bridges. Never mind the hundreds of millions that the state and city have cut over the years. Never mind the $275 million in "dedicated" taxes that the state legislature is using for its own patronage. No, the ATU wants to take money from the Second Avenue Subway and other capital projects.

Does anyone wonder why I'm getting sick of these unions? Private buses - blocked. Two chances (congestion pricing and the Ravitch plan) to raise funds for the MTA and boost ridership - no significant support. The Legislature steals "dedicated" funds - crickets. Cost of living stagnant and tax revenues down - insist on raises. Concern trolls like Millman and Perkins, and pro-car crusaders like Bearak - given a great cover as "transit supporters." I mean seriously - what the hell am I supposed to think when they pull this shit?

1 comment:

EngineerScotty said...

That they're jealous of the guys who work for Muni? :)