Monday, February 13, 2006

Bus Union Settles: Fruits of Local 100's Labor

The NY Post reported on Saturday that the members of ATU transit union Local 627, made up of bus drivers on Staten Island, had overwhelmingly approved the very same contract that TWU Local 100 had rejected last month by 7 votes. The 1,400 workers approved the pact by a 979-81 margin.

This was hardly surprising since, as we have already argued, the TWU strike fiasco had greatly weakened the bargaining power of the transit workers. The accuracy of our analysis is underscored by the comments of 627's president Angelo Tanzi, "The membership had the opportunity to see what the alternatives were and realized we weren't going to get a better deal than this."

This certainly puts Local 100 head Roger Toussaint in a bind since the MTA feels emboldened to push the local even harder to make concessions; while the local's rank-and-file have already made it clear that the current contract on the table is not sufficient.

All of which leaves Toussaint desperately pointing fingers at his union opponents. In Saturday's NY Daily News Roger's Sancho Panza Ed Watt is quoted as saying, "It's unfortunate that within Local 100 the contract was taken hostage to internal politics." Toussaint is claiming that the opponents’ main objective is "taking control of the local in elections later this year."

Which means that all of Roger's rabbits believe that the 50% of the folks who voted No were too stupid to understand the contract's benefits and were duped by wily dissidents. That's not a great position to take going into an election asking for peoples' support.