The Chief NYC
Letters to the Editor
May 25, 2007
To the Editor:
I HAVE BEEN in the TWU Local 100 Track Division for 27 years. I thought I
had seen it all. But reading last week's letters from Joel Fredericson and
John Samuelsen, I would come to the conclusion that there was another
hidden Track Division out there, where all the safety experts were men who
look like me
I mean white. I felt I had to let the readers know the truth. Joel wants
the world to believe that he and Samuelsen and Pat Lynch woke up one day
and formed a group that worked to make safety on the tracks the priority.
The truth is that it was people like Julio Rivera, Leroy Jardim, Jose
Iglesias and Roger Toussaint who showed them, and all of us, how to stand
up to management. How to make sure a supervisor didn't put a work gang in a
dangerous situation. How to make sure that the guys in the union office
who only wanted to have cushy jobs didn't cut any deals that put the lives
of workers in danger. When Local 100 put track safety back on the agenda,
it was black and
Latino leaders who led the way, with Roger Toussaint front and center.
took a 2-1/2-year suspension. That's the real history. Men like Julio and
Roger trained all of those guys and made sure they knew what they were
doing and understood the procedures. I can even recall when
Samuelsen and Pat Lynch would write countless letters to the editor
letting the world know how hard Roger's administration was working on
track safety. I remember when Joel Fredericson would tell anyone who would
listen that this group of men really knew what they were doing and no one
was better equipped for the job. So it is just shocking to now read how
the men who trained us all are unqualified, and that some of the guys who
got training from Roger and Julio who now call themselves the only real
experts. Joel, John, and Pat, I know that you all have problems with Roger,
but I never thought I would see the day when you would put that over the
lives of your brothers and sisters on the tracks. It is a shame, and I
know a lot of people like myself expected better of you.
JOHN McCARTHY, Railroad Track Cleaner, Vice Chair, TWU Local 100 Track
Editor, The Chief Newspaper
Blind Loyalty to Toussaint is Destroying Our Union
Why do the fanatical supporters of Roger Toussaint constantly inject race
into every equation. The topic at hand is track safety, but John McCarthy
is obviously trying to throw the readers attention elsewhere by making an
issue of workers ethnicities.
It is surprising that McCarthy has the nerve to talk about track safety.
Recently, while he was track division's night safety man, McCarthy
disappeared for a couple of weeks. He didn't inform track division's chair,
nor did he inform his political boss Roger Toussaint of his absence. In
doing so McCarthy seriously undermined our ability to perform unannounced
safety inspections in the subway. He let the track committee down, but more
importantly he let Local 100 members down.
McCarthy talks about Roger Toussaint's contribution to track safety in the
1990s. Without a doubt he contributed much. Roger Toussaint did lead the
charge which put track safety back on the agenda. But that was then, this
is now. Roger Toussaint the fighter has recast himself as Roger Toussaint
the collaborator. He is definitely not the same man he was just a few short
years ago. If guys like McCarthy and Percival Thomas took their blinders
off for a minute, they would see the destructiveness of Toussaint's
In the immediate aftermath of two catastrophic Trackworker fatalities,
Toussaint thought it appropriate to ban all of the Trackworkers elected
representatives including the Chairmanof Track Division from the boards of
inquiry established to investigate these accidents. Then he established a
high level joint labor/management task force to discuss changing the
flagging rules, but failed to include any elected Track Division officers.
Then, again collaborating with management, Toussaint sent letters to senior
bosses informing them that they shouldn't recognize a democratically elected
Track Division shop steward who is a thorn in their side on track safety
issues. Toussaint has now stooped so low that he is giving management the
green light to go after shop stewards who disagree with his policies.
In Toussaint's mind anytime is a good time for cutthroat politics. Even in
the midst of tragedy Toussaint does not pass up an opportunity to squash
dissent and attack those not loyal to him. Yet in the eyes of Jon McCarthy
and Percival Thomas, Roger Toussaint is Mr. Wonderful the great
It is worth noting that both McCarthy and Thomas are paid handsomely for
being l attack dogs for Toussaint's political machine. The most recent LM2
reports McCarthy earned almost $18,000 last year from Local 100 and Thomas
earned almost $14,000. Not bad huh?
Support Toussaint blindly and supplement your income.And niether ever lifts
a finger to fight management. Nice gig they have isnt it.
Carlos Albert (Puerto Rican in case John McCarthy is interested)
Track Division Chair
TWU Local 100 (917)731 5135
Editor, The Chief
Via Fax: (212) 962-2556
Toussaint's Facts are Fiction
Meet the king of spin Roger Toussaint. He couldn't do all this spinning
by himself. He has a $10,000 a month Hollywood publicity agent at his side
eagerly helping him along. First of all the 4_ day stand down Toussaint
refers to really amounted to only a 3 or 4 hour session for the average
worker in which bosses re-read the rules. The same crappy rules that keep
costing Local 100 members their lives.
Toussaint says these stand downs were followed by a moratorium where more
restrictive safety rules were followed. What a joke! Toussaint is lying.
Before the stand down was ever finished track inspectors were out on the
tracks doing regular work without any safety enhancements whatsoever. This
so called "moratorium" is a complete fabrication.
Toussaint brags about meeting with 60 Maintenance of Way officers to get our
input on safety. Another spin from the spinmeister. The truth is Toussaint
met with about 25 elected offices. He also invited some shop stewards, but
only the ones who supported him in the last election. If you are a steward,
no matter how knowledgeable on track safety, you weren't allowed in unless
you have sworn loyalty to Emperor Roger.
At his meeting, Toussaint shot down one idea after another from the members
elected representatives. Shockingly, he quickly downplayed the need for
full adjacent flagging on our jobs because he was concerned it would cost
the MTA too much money. Imagine the great militant union president, Roger
Toussaint, worrying more about the bosses budget than about saving members
lives. I know these things because I was there.
It is ironic that Toussaint should write about working with Governor Spitzer
on the track safety bill. At a Local 100 staff meeting on Monday, May 21st,
Toussaint admitted that he cannot even get the bill out of the legislature.
Maybe he should call his pal Eliot Sanders and ask him to withdraw the MTA's
opposition to this sorely needed safety legislation. But that would be
against the rules of your new friendship, wouldn't it Roger? You have been
given marching orders by the MTA not to put them on the spot or criticize
If Roger Toussaint put a fraction of the energy he uses to undermine those
who disagree with him into launching a real fight for track safety, we could
go a long way toward eliminating future fatalities. Unfortunately,
Toussaint cannot control his desire for absolute control. By his very
nature he divides us. He has rendered Local 100 incapable of mounting any
unified effort against management. Toussaint has backed himself into a
corner. Instead of relying on a mobilized membership to achieve gains, he
is now forced to beg for crumbs at the table of Howard Roberts and Eliot