Sunday, December 25, 2005


UP FRONT News December 23, 2005
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham

“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”

U.S. Congressman – and second place finisher in the democratic Primary for Mayor – Anthony D. Weiner, (D.-Bklyn.-Queens) said it best. According to a right wing columnist in the right wing New York Post, Mr. Weiner said that “the TWU fights for ‘every New Yorker’” The Congressman, who is not shy about letting it be known that he expects to succeed Bloomberg as Mayor of New York City on January 1, 2010, in refer- ring to TWU members also said, “These people are middle class. I don’t believe you solve the problems of health care by taking middle class people and whacking them.” I am certain that his use of the term “whacking” was not borrowed from “The Sopranos”but is rather a reference to the Pataki/Bloomberg/MTA position that regards the members of this uppity labor union as rebellious slaves.

Since I live in Staten Island, and am able to walk across the water via the ferry, which, under the Department of Transportation, was not struck, I was only inconvenienced to the degree that it became necessary for me to walk from the terminal to my home, rather than take the bus. But, in any case, my support, during and after the strike goes to the Union. I have to confess some bias because, as a past member of several unions, Local 1199, Dis trict Council 37, and District Council 1707, in all of which I served as an elected delegate or shop steward, in all cases sitting on contract negotiating committees, I am notoriously anti-management.

It is amazing how the citizenry consistently overlooks the ubiquitous reality that man- agement is composed of totally overpaid corporate types (Peter Kalikow of the MTA, being one of the worst), who consider themselves to be the political descendants of King George III when it comes to spending tax dollars on themselves. Several conductors salaries and pension contributions could easily be fit into the amount of money the MTA spent on prettying up its offices. Peter Kalikow is the supercilious public servant who, some months ago, before an audience of his wealthy peers at The Tavern on the Green, suggested that homeless people stuck out in the cold should urinate on themselves, just like one of his forebears did back in pogrom time in Europe. And TWU President Roger Toussaint said it very well when he reminded the world that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with with his Bushie-buddy Pataki, spent much time denouncing the workers, is a billion- aire.

In 1977, because of totally specious claims that there was not enough money to hire suf-ficient nursing staff to adequately care for patients at City-operated Queens Hospital Cen- ter, a bunch of patients died as a direct result of the genocidal cuts that were imposed. I was a social worker and an elected member of the Queens Hospital Center Community Advisory Board at the time and paid a heavy price (firing, jail, psychiatric abuse) for blowing the whistle on a cover-up that included Mayor Ed Koch. Rev. Dr. Timothy P. Mitchell, Pastor of the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Flushing, Queens, who was a close friend and associate of Martin Luther King, (and of whose church I am a bap-
tized member) was probably the first civil rights leader to use the word “genocide” in connection with budget cuts that kill.

Following some months of suppression and news censorship, after both the New York State Department of Health and then N.Y.S. Assemblyman Charles E. Schumer (who, at the time, chaired the Assembly Committee on Oversight & Investigations) backed up my allegations of murder by budget cut, much of the media came through. On TV, Channel 11 PIX News did a solid piece with me and most of the dailies covered the story with Newsday in its Queens Edition, doing the best job of all, giving the story, and me, front page coverage on March 1, 1978, with lots of follow-ups.

The notion of a billionaire Republican Mayor, with a Republican governor, steeped in favoritism and corruption, telling the TWU that the money to finance a fair contract is not there is the stuff of Saturday Night Live.

And, when it comes to “penalties”, all we have to do is remember some memorable pardons, e.g. the one extended to the criminal president Richard M. Nixon and the ones extended by the de facto criminal President Bill Clinton to Denise Rich and all his other rich friends.
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