Workers Vanguard No. 977

1 April 2011


Union vs. Management in NYC Transit


20 March 2011

I have worked for New York City Transit for nearly 10 years and I have found that although my job is enjoyable, I dislike the bureaucracy from both management and the union. When I first started working for MTA I was excited to be part of a union and a company that I felt was vital to New York City. I quickly learned that I didn’t work for a company that supported you as a worker and that the atmosphere was definitely union against management mentality. Mistakes are disciplined by money being taken out of your pockets (days in the street). Management send their watchdogs on the roads to make sure that you’re doing your job and I often found that any wrong move could get me unpaid days. I realized that it clearly was a union vs. management environment (my first experience in a situation like this) and as a train operator I of course sided with the union. In 2005 we went on strike to fight against an attack on our pension and I like many other of my fellow workers were ready to stay out for as long as necessary to get what we felt was right for us. Unfortunately our union leaders sold us out and sent us back to work without a contract. I felt lost, helpless and angry at my union and my job because I was ready to sacrifice everything including my family for a struggle; and the leadership that I trusted to represent me had betrayed me. Now here I am in 2011 still working for the MTA and although I was angry at my union for years after the strike, I realize that my union is my home and I will always stand by the union. I read about how Gov. Cuomo (Democrat and supposed friend of labor) and the capitalists speak about how union workers are somehow overprivileged. If I were to retire today my pension would be about 35k per year. I really would like to know how that is living some kind of high life. Let’s not forget that due to the amount of steel dust and noise that I’m subjected to on a daily basis, the quality of my life after retirement may not be so well. Many of my co-workers have died a few short years after working in transit which is often an environment that is very unsafe and hazardous. It is so clear that capitalists are out to attack the proletariat as there is little mention of how Barack Obama (leader of the Capitalist regime and Democrat) continues to bailout companies and send out his war machine overseas with billions of dollars. The bourgeoisie will tell us that these things are necessary to keep the economy from crashing and protecting our country from terrorism. I now see that the only way to get the change that we need to see is class struggle and a fight for a workers government.


WV replies:

We thank P. for writing to us. Regarding the 2005 strike and its aftermath, we refer readers to our article, “TWU Local 100 Tops Sign No-Strike Pledge” (WV No. 926, 5 December 2008).