Local 100 supporters of TWU International President Sonny Hall have met with supporters of the Rank and File Advocate newsletter in order to come up with a joint slate for the Local 100 elections this December. On paper, Rank and File Advocate poses more militant and radical than both Hall and Toussaint. It claims to stand for the mobilization of the union membership in struggle, including going on strike. If Hall and Co. have stood for anything in the struggle with the NYCT, it’s the refusal even to consider striking. That Rank and File Advocate would even consider coalescing with Hall’s tired, discredited bunch of boss-lovers shows the depths of cynicism and demoralization to which R&FA has sunk.
Hall and Co. have no principled disagreements with Toussaint, just deep personal grudges. Toussaint pretended to support possible strike action against the TA in 1999 and 2002: Hall, James and Co. didn’t even pretend. When the Queens Private Lines workers went on strike, there were bust-ups between Hall supporters in the Private Lines Division of the Local and Toussaint’s machine. On the major issues, however, Toussaint and Co. and Hall and his supporters had agreement: neither did anything serious to mobilize the whole Local behind the Private Lines strikers, and both supported the sellout contract which the worn-down strikers ratified.
By looking for unity with the Hallites, R&FA show that their past, lukewarm, verbal support for strike action against the TA did not come from principle, nor did their twenty-year opposition to Lawe and then Hall and his supporters. Apparently it’s all and only about getting rid of Toussaint. Toussaint & Co. need to be replaced by a new leadership genuinely committed to mobilizing the workers in struggle against the bosses and their politicians. Perhaps R&FA believe that if they run with Hall supporters, they can get a majority of offices in the Local. Newsflash: it won’t work. And even if it did, such a coalition would fall apart immediately after the election, like their ticket with Toussaint. And the Hallites would probably out-maneuver the now-R&FA supporters as effectively as Toussaint did – barring a membership uprising around a new, fighting leadership.
Supporters of Revolutionary Transit Worker, now as for almost twenty years, will have nothing to do with Hall and Co., except to help arrange their retirement. If there is one cutting-edge issue in Local 100, it is preparing to strike against NYCT takebacks. Only those who work openly and honestly for that, and against those who refuse to use this working-class weapon against the TA, merit the consideration of their co-workers as union leaders.