Toussaint was sentenced to serve 10 days in prison for his part in the 2005 public transportation workers walk-out, a 3-day strike that shut down New York City. . The union support also came on the commencement of a CWA and IBEW strike where 40,000 Verizon communications and technical workers took to the picket lines.
The local labor union represents 42,000 workers across New York, including those who operate and maintain the New York City subway system.
“Brothers and sisters, there is no doubt that America needs a jolt, New York needs a jolt, working families need a jolt and business as usual politics are not going to give us the jolt that we need,” said TWU Local 100 President John Samuelson at Union Hall in Brooklyn.
“TWU has been fighting for transport workers for decades. In Bernie Sanders, we see a kindred spirit because Bernie Sanders has been fighting for American workers his entire life.” – John Samuelson, President TWU Local 100
Samuelson in his announcement highlighted the plight of the worker subjected to income inequality and gender disparity.
Sanders appeared at the podium to accept the endorsement in person and was greeted by the cheers of union workers.
“I am honored,” he said. “I am grateful to have the support of this fantastic union. Thank you so much.”
“At a time when our middle class is disappearing, when we are seeing almost all new income and wealth going to the top one percent, when we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of almost any major country on earth, John is right: it is too late for the same old, same old establishment politics,” said Sanders.
Sanders speech emphasized his infrastructure and economic growth plans, designed to rebuild America’s working class.
The senator highlighted his Rebuild America Plan, a national project to invest $1 trillion into rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure and public transit systems over the next five years. According to a campaign release, the Democratic Party presidential candidate also promised to make sure that public transit systems would be given the flexibility they need to use this federal funding to cover the cost of operating.
Emphasizing the need to keep jobs in America, Sanders denounced the Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Clinton administration North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as enablers of outsourcing and American job reduction.
“It is no secret that there have been fierce attacks against the trade unions over the last number of decades. In fact you can argue that it is the trade unions of today that are the last lines of defense against a vicious corporate agenda that is working hard to destroy the middle class.” – Democratic Presidential Candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sanders further highlighted his plan to enact the Workplace Democracy Act and expand collective bargaining rights. The bill, introduced by Sanders in October 2015, will make it easier for workers to join a union by allowing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a union if a simple majority of eligible workers sign valid authorization cards.
Sanders’ plan also requires companies to begin negotiating within 10 days after certification. If no first contract is reached after 90 days, either party can request compulsory mediation. After 30 days of mediation, the parties will submit the remaining issues to binding arbitration.
“Millions of Americans who want to join unions are unable to do so because of the coercive and often illegal behavior of their employers,” Sanders said. “The benefits of joining a union are clear: higher wages, better benefits and a more secure retirement. If we are serious about reducing income and wealth inequality and rebuilding the middle class, we have got to substantially increase the number of union jobs in this country.”
NYC TWU Local 100 transit workers endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on April 11, 2016. The announcement came on the 10-year anniversary of start of the ten-day jail term of former union president, Roger Toussaint sentenced for his part in a NYC strike Bernie Sanders speeches and events/YouTube