Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2005
SUPPORT THE BEE-LINE BUS STRIKE!
By Marty Goodman, TWU Local 100 Executive Board (Station)
and Kevin Harrington, Train Operator (212-781-5157)
ON MARCH 3RD, Local 100 bus drivers, mechanics and cleaners went on strike after insulting contract offers were made by Bee-Line Bus, a private company in Westchester County. The 586 strikers are up against a united front of arrogant Bee-Line bosses, a hostile media and Westchester County government.
Westchester County, the richest county in the U.S., subsidizes Bee-Line Bus. Andy Spano, the Westchester County Executive and a Democrat, says strikers are 'unreasonable' and make too much money. Sound familiar Local 100?
Despite the slanders many working people passing our picket lines honk their horns in support and give a thumbs-up. Most people know that this strike is a struggle for justice!
No doubt, the MTA is watching our every move in Westchester. They want to find out how far they can push Local 100 in December. The MTA wants to cheat us out of the big pay increase we deserve, fully funded health benefits and job security. Every single TWU member has a big, big stake in the victory of the Bee-Line strike!
BOSSES INSULT WORKERS AT NEGOTIATIONS
Management has refused to lower the age of retirement without penalty from 62 to 57, a key union demand. A bus driver thatıs worked for 30 years - wrecking body and soul - canıt retire at 57 without a whopping 24% penalty!
Bee-Line also wants to under-fund health care benefits in the next contract just like the MTA criminals. As an example of Bee-Lineıs contempt for workers there are NO paid sick days. Bus owners say to hell with a workerıs health; leave our profits alone and jack-up the membershipıs medical co-pay. Local 100 has got to say, ³No way!²
Lastly, Bee-Line offered a measly 2% raise for each year of a 4 year contract. With increased medical co-pay thatıs a joke. Most drivers work 50-60 hours a week to cover rent and family needs. With an unpaid 2 to 4 hour ?swing-shiftı between runs most workers have little time for families. Thatıs modern-day slavery!
BEE-LINE ATTEMPTS AT STRIKE-BREAKING. DOZENS ARRESTED
Bee-Line bosses already threatened ³replacement workers² for strikers. In preparation, they moved several buses out of depots to train strike-breakers. On March 24th strikers say cops told them Bee-Line had a ³court order² to move a bus to another depot. The cops lied. There was no ³court order² and the bus moved. On March 26th, J & R Tours, contracted by the County, began picking up seniors (and others too when no oneıs looking?) with a police escort during weekends.
So far, dozens of TWU members were arrested on ³disorderly conduct² charges trying to stop scab trainee buses. The scab trainee buses rolled anyway, including the bus with the ³court order!² We must stop managementıs game dead in its tracks. Drop the charges; pack the courts! Beef-up pickets with more members!
MOBILIZE UNION POWER! DONıT DEPEND ON MEDIATORS, COPS, COURTS OR POLITICIANS!
Fund-raising for strikers is a must but we need a winning strategy most of all to end this strike with a victory. Local 100ıs 36,000 members must be urged to mobilize without further delay. Picket lines should be packed with workers from ALL divisions. NO scab buses should move period. This strike is over a month old so letıs demand that the TWU leadership make this fight a Local-wide struggle before itıs too late! That includes:
An emergency Local-wide membership meeting ASAP to galvanize strike support.
Mobilizing 'The Committee of 1,000 Workers' that signed-up last December 4th at the Javits Center.
Extending solidarity actions to the MTA/NYCT. Begin strike preparation for December.
A big Saturday solidarity rally in downtown White Plains so most working people can attend.
Call Local 100 (212-873-6000) to demand action and donate to the strike support fund!