"Throw Roger from the train! "
This is the editorial from today's Daily News and I couldn't have said this shit better myself! Roger Toussaint is the head of the local TWU and I must say over the past couple of weeks I've really come to hate this man. He's unreasonable, irrational and he's leading the union that trusted him into ruin. So read on my friends...this just about says it all.
"Roger Toussaint, we dare you to take to the Brooklyn Bridge this morning to tell the cold, walking throngs why you chose to disrupt the lives of millions, jacked up the expenses of tens of thousands, shuttered and crimped businesses, exposed the subway system to terrorism and generally threatened the public health and welfare.
It would be delicious watching you try to justify the reckless, lawless transit strike that you have inflicted on the city - assuming your fellow New Yorkers didn't hurl you over the railing into the icy waters before you got a word out. For this town, a labor town, is seething at getting hammered for no good reason.
The rage will only build as the public gets the full picture of how Toussaint rashly led the Transport Workers Union away from the bargaining table despite winning concession after concession from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The most furious of all should be the 33,700 workers who are on the street without paychecks and facing huge penalties for violating the Taylor Law.
They are about to lose thousands of dollars each - and their union will be financially broken by $1 million-a-day fines - unless they pressure Toussaint to return them to service, having gained all they are ever going to gain through his extortion. Remarkably, the president of the TWU International is urging the transit workers to go back to work on their own, en masse. And well they should, because the makings of a good deal await them.
The MTA wanted a two-year contract, while the union wanted a three-year deal. The MTA made it three years.
The union rejected raises of 3% a year. The MTA bumped yearly hikes to 3%, 4% and 3.5%, which compound to 11% over the life of the contract.
The union asked for more money. The MTA added a 0.5% bonus.
The union proposed Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday, giving the workers 12 a year. The MTA agreed.
The union accused the MTA of subjecting large numbers of employees to arbitrary punishments. The MTA proposed hiring an independent consultant to recommend disciplinary system reforms.
The union balked at having new workers - and only new workers - contribute 1% of their salaries for health insurance. The MTA dropped the idea even though skyrocketing health costs are fueling a deficit projected at almost $1 billion.
And there was progress even on the most difficult issue: pensions. Transit workers now contribute 2% of salary to pensions and can retire at half pay after 25 years on the job at age 55. The costs are bankrupting the MTA and driving up fares. That's why the agency proposed requiring newly hired workers to stay on the job until age 62 and to kick in 3%.
When the TWU adamantly opposed raising the retirement age, the MTA retreated to 55 and both sides began discussing whether new workers should contribute 3%, 5% or 6%, and for how long. But Toussaint abruptly ended the talks, and the strike was on. So irrational was his action that a third of Toussaint's executive board voted against the walkout, and TWU International President Michael O'Brien is calling on the strikers "to report to work."
Any fair reading of the record demonstrates that MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow negotiated in good faith, met Toussaint more than halfway and was prepared to keep the discussions going for as long as they took. Toussaint, meanwhile, betrayed his members and the city in an act of madness."