Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hamill on Toussaint

From today's NY Daily News:

Roger Toussaint is no hero.

But he's got guts. No, he didn't run into a burning building to save a family on Christmas Eve. But as president of Transport Workers Union Local 100 he stood up for his rank and file in this age of union-busting and walked away victorious.

In the end, after the mayor, the governor and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials branded him a thug and a criminal, after many in the press shamelessly demonized him, he got his workers a decent raise, recovered pension overpayments and sealed a 37-month contract that can only be called a triumph...

Yeah, okay, so the TWU technically broke the Taylor Law when they went out on strike. But, c'mon, this strike was more an act of civil disobedience against an intractable bureaucracy than a crime. To call the TWU strikers criminals is like calling the freedom marchers criminals. Rosa Parks broke the law, too, when she refused to get to the back of the bus. The president of the TWU, as far as I know, wasn't tapping anyone's phone without a warrant, like the President of the United States did.

Toussaint refused to sell out new or as yet unborn transit workers. He emerged victorious in a David versus Goliath battle. That's why, looking back on 2005, Toussaint emerges as one of the people in this city with real guts.
blog comments powered by Disqus