Roger Toussaint, president of the New York City Transit Workers' Union, walked into police custody today, surrendering himself as agreed upon, in Manhattan. The meeting was supposed to take place in Brooklyn, where Toussaint lives, but the police changed the date at the last minute, so the union and several other unions decided to march in solidarity with Toussaint through Brooklyn and into Manhattan, across Brooklyn Bridge.
Toussaint was sentenced, along with two other union leaders, Ed Watt and Darlyne Lawson, for instigating the strike that, according to New York State's Taylor Law, they were not legally allowed to do, due to the fact that they are public employees.
Laws like the Taylor Act are a crime against our republic. Right-thinking men and women of goodwill can agree to disagree on certain feelings as to whether unions are necessary, or whether some unions are meaner or more corrupt than others, but everyone should understand that this is a terrible law. The Taylor Act unfairly inhibits workers in important fields like transportation and sanitation, simply because they work for the city or the state.
Toussaint will have started his march at 1 PM our time, 4 PM in New York City. I don't see any articles yet, but I imagine there will be more coming out soon. Feel free to go to the union's website and send your well wishes. If you can, why not send them a donation? Putting on strikes and winning back all your union members' dues can get expensive, so anything you can spare will go a long way. Jail time can be hard on the families of these leaders as well. Send a kind note and let them know you care.
Let's hear it for the power of the people! Toussaint may be in the clink, but the spirit of the working class lives in all of us. If we get mad enough, and see the attack on labor as what it really is, an attack on liberalism and an attack on the good old fashioned values of hard work for an honest wage, then we can defeat these evil Republicans and push these do-nothing Democrats back onto the side of the people! (I'm talking to you, Senator Cantwell!)