NEW YORK CITY, November 28 — More than 600 members of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 demonstrated before the Sheraton Hotel on the first day of official negotiations between city transit workers and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). Local 100 president John Samuelson said there’s no midnight strike deadline on January 15 when the current contract expires.
City transit workers are directly up against Wall Street’s rulers. Bankers and wealthy investors of MTA bonds drain more than $2 billion a year directly out of the $11 billion-a-year MTA budget, forcing service cuts, layoffs and fare increases.
All the transit bosses’ attacks hit the majority black, Latino and immigrant workers and riders the hardest. Now the racist bosses want a three-year wage freeze, $6,000-a-year per worker for healthcare, and elimination of the conductor title.
The most important action transit workers can take to fight the racist bosses is to organize a rank-and-file, multi-racial group of women and men that both prepares for a strike while spreading communist ideas as the solution for workers’ problems.
The MTA’s attacks on transit workers and riders are a natural organic part of capitalism. These attacks can’t be fixed by taxing the rich, regulating the banks, improving campaign finance rules or working with a “nice” MTA boss. The entire political system, including the promotion and appointment of the MTA heads, was created by and for the rich.
Bosses’ Dictatorship Cannot Be ‘Improved’
Capitalism is not a democratic system that “needs to be improved.” It’s a bosses’ dictatorship that needs to be smashed and replaced with workers’ power. Only in a communist society can workers make transit decisions and work for the world’s working classes’ needs, with no profit, money or bosses.
The 2005 transit walkout, despite being sold out, showed that black, Latino and immigrant-led workers can bring the racist city bosses to their knees. Today hundreds of thousands of workers in city unions are looking to Local 100 to set a pattern of gains in these hard times, particularly the smaller ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union) locals that have stalled negotiations with the MTA.