I am running for office because I believe in the power of the workers and all those fighting oppression to build a new society. The League for the Revolutionary Party, publisher of Revolutionary Transit Worker, strives to unite and train workers for the struggle to defend our rights and living standards. The LRP and RTW hold that we can only win and keep our gains by overthrowing this rotten society and building a new, socialist society. That is why I support their work. But you don’t have to be a socialist to vote for me and support the action program in this statement.
I've been a trackworker for over three years, all on the night tour. I am running on the platform and record of Revolutionary Transit Worker, from standing up for safety on the tracks, to helping co-workers understand their rights, to attending union meetings to put forward a perspective to defend this union and all workers.
The fight against layoffs and to defend our livelihoods is just beginning. We already suffered 1000 layoffs in Stations and Surface without a real fight. If Cuomo's planned attacks on public unions and services go through, they will further weaken our 2012 contract fight. We need a program to fight back!
RTW may have limited resources, but we put forward fight-back plans in writing so workers can discuss and evaluate them. With no member discussion or voting, President Samuelsen imposed a plan – continued lobbying (i.e., begging) the politicians of the capitalist Democratic and Republican Parties for favors. But all these politicians now openly support job and service cuts for workers, in the interests of Wall Street.
Part of a plan to fight back must be to unite the local. Every worker who wants to fight back must realize that our division over dues payments weakens us. RTW has advocated that members in arrears who comply with a payment plan be put into immediate good standing. Along with other RTW supporters, I have fought for this idea in union meetings and at work.
Jonathan Harte, one of my election opponents, voted against this proposal at the November 2010 Track meeting. Brother Harte, like many members, argues that since we have the duty to pay, such a dues payment plan is a reward for bad behavior. Of course we all have the duty to pay our dues on time and in full, and I did. But I think the union leadership has to face reality and prepare us for the hard fight ahead. That means working to unite us and make us strong, not continue the divide.
We need a union leadership which seriously mobilizes against attacks on the public sector. These attacks hit all public sector unions and the workers and poor who rely on public services. Business-as-usual unionism is falling apart, as the misled “fight” against layoffs shows. Local 100 does not and cannot stand alone. We must work toward city-wide demonstrations and mass meetings, uniting workers in struggle under slogans such as "Billions for the Bankers, Layoffs for the Workers? Hell no!" We must rebuild the unity of the local and build unity with other city workers. A course change is needed now and this election can send that message. Workers in Tunisia and Egypt are fighting back after decades of oppression. Their example should inspire us all.