Meet the strikers, scabs and flip-floppers
While the election is a referendum over the strike, Toussaint’s leadership style is also in sharp focus. Toussaint’s enemies do not hold back their anger and disgust, and the personal is very much the political. If Toussaint wins, his influence over the local will be cemented, but Toussaint’s sway could also reach into the ever-adversarial international TWU as well.
With his paper, Revolution Transit Worker Josephson has a platform, but no real base within the union. “[Toussaint] struck, he went to jail, and now he’s supporting that no good son of a bitch Spitzer.”
Ainsley Stewart & John Mooney
They made a name for themselves in the Vote No campaign against the contract and are seen as close to socialist Marty Goodman. Stewart’s problem: the membership may remember he voted against going on strike and his contradictory positions. “I didn’t trust Toussaint coming back without a contract. I abstained on coming back [from the strike].”
Goodman feels purged from Toussaint’s camp and rails against progressive support of Toussaint, such as Juan Gonzalez, and distrusts the “spin out of the union hall by high priced P.R. officials.” Goodman says union leadership views him as though he’s from “another planet.”
He has partnered with former Toussaint ally, John Samuelson, who was angered over being booted from his staff job. Roberts may mount the toughest competition to Toussaint, though his role in the petition to end the strike will turn off many transit workers.