In an exclusive story, the January 12th edition of the New York Daily News reported that newly-elected TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen has offered a Union job to his election opponent Curtis Tate. The bruising contest for Local 100’s top job was unusually long and bitter, due to a decision made by the Local 100 Executive Board early last year to hold the main vote in June, but not to open the ballots until December. As a result, the campaign continued for longer than any in the history of the TWU.
Just prior to the election a renewed burst of campaigning focused on several hundred newly hired transit workers who had just become eligible to vote and whose participation both sides considered crucial to winning.
When Samuelsen won, he made immediate moves in the direction of union democracy, tapping his Recording Secretary to give the Union’s first statement against the MTA budget before the New York State Assembly’s Committee on Corporations. His hiring of Tate, he told the News, was to create a united front against MTA management. “Infighting has crippled us,” he said. “I’m looking to unify the union and get ready to face off against the MTA and the threat of layoffs.
In other remarks, Samuelsen noted that he had promised while campaigning to “end the perpetual state of civil war” within TWU Local 100. He also said he would keep his campaign pledge to end the hiring of Executive Board members into union staff positions. This move, he said, dilutes the power of the Presidency in the interests of union democracy.
Tate, for his part, told the News that his hiring “signals the election is over and it’s time for everybody to lay down their swords and come together for Local 100.”