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IW 06

USA

NEW YORK

Transit workers reject slave labor contract

 

In late February, the New York transit workers union rejected the Metropolitan Transit Authority's call for binding arbitration with the bosses.

This variation emerged when, on January 20, the workers themselves rejected with a massive vote the agreement with which the bureaucracy had lifted the general strike that had paralyzed transit last December.

In this agreement, the workers had been able to break the bosses plan to inject a two-tier system into the collective bargaining agreement; of raising retirement age from 55 to 62; and to freeze wages.

However, the bureaucrats and the bosses introduced the demand that the workers, for the first time, pay an indexed 1.5% of their wages as a contribution to the health care plan. And they left intact the gigantic fines against the union (three million dollars) and against each worker, for each strike day.

This provoked the rejection of the workers in the vote on the agreement leading to the request for binding arbitration. In the union rank and file, the workers are preparing to defend what they have gained up till now. `We're waiting and preparing for battle,'' said Martin Goodman, a union member from a dissident faction that opposed the December contract negotiated by Local 100 President Roger Toussaint.” (Bloomberg, January 25).

This new militant attitude is not going away with the methods that the bosses and the union bureaucracy have used in the past in order to discipline the US working class; in this sense, the New York transit workers are brothers in struggle in every sens of the word with their peers struggling against the anti-worker attacks in Delphi, in a new phase of combativity which grows in proportion to the deepening of Bush's regime crisis in the United States.



By Jack Monroe