To stick the membership with his sellout contract, President Toussaint is resorting to every trick in the book: secret deals with management, lies (some of which he’s even admitted), disinformation and tactics designed to divide the membership. Nothing he says or does can be trusted.
When contract negotiations began, he promised us that “A Deadline is a Deadline!” and “No Contract – No Work!” Then he let the contract expire without a strike. As Marty Goodman, E. Board member for Stations, reports in his “Contract Bulletin No. 6,”, at contract expiration Toussaint went to the EB and told them that Kalikow had made some last minute offers and so he was against a strike being immediately called. This was a lie. There were no last minute offers. Toussaint even admitted it in a newspaper interview shortly after, bragging that he had already decided to let the contract expire without a strike (Daily News, December 19).
Toussaint only called our strike when he had no choice. Then he went to the EB and asked it to end the strike and trust him in secret negotiations without offering any details of the deal. Only later did we learn from the media that he had agreed to get us to pay a new healthcare premium that would give the MTA millions more than their original pension attacks would have.
Now the contract’s out, he’s still trying to hide thefacts. He had Local 100 issue a leaflet of “contract highlights” answering the question “was the strike worth it?” This leaflet lists contract gains, but hardly any givebacks. There’s no hint that the new healthcare premium is set to rise with growing healthcare costs without limit. There is no mention of the fact that Toussaint agreed to give away our December contract expiration date and with it our threat to cost the bosses billions by striking at peak-holiday shopping time.
The leaflet does mention the 3, 4 and 3.5% “raises” but doesn’t explain that with them our wages will fall below inflation. Nor does it explain why Toussaint settled for so much less than the EB’s demand of 8% yearly raises.
The leaflet also lists the 25/55 pension refund. But it says nothing about how it accepts the refund being liable to taxation – at the top rate of 49% – if the TA pays for it.
As we have explained, the pension refund was included as an attempt to bribe those eligible for it to accept the contract. This is the old strategy of divide and conquer. Toussaint and his flunkies are always shouting for Unity – that is, uncritical acceptance of their every word. But his proposed pension refund would cause more disunity among the members. Many of the majority not eligible for the refund would feel that the eligibles took a bribe while the non-recipients got stuck with the full Taylor Law and healthcare costs. Their bitterness and resentment will make unity against the bosses harder to build.
Toussaint’s leaflet also says that our strike won respect. It’s true that workers across the city and country were inspired by our fight. But they would be angered if Toussaint’s contract passes and as a result get hit by similar attacks on their healthcare and wages. And his lying to Local 100 members is the height of disrespect.
Rejecting Toussaint’s sellout and returning to the struggle will really win the respect of our fellow workers. But that will require a fight against the sellout leadership of Toussaint & Co. It calls for the rise of a new leadership from the ranks that is committed to telling the truth to their fellow workers and never selling out their interests to the bosses.
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