Transit union activity under attack in Queens, N.Y.

I have written previously about the attack on union activists by managers of New York's MTA, specifically about the attacks on the vice chair of the union section at the Woodside shop, Israel Roman, and the targeting and harassment of others.

Now direct attacks have been made on this writer. On March 28, by order of John Santamaria, a top manager at the Woodside facility of the New York City Transit Authority, I was summarily removed from the job I had performed for 12 years and was assigned to a new job with a sharp reduction in pay. What happened was that Steve Krajewski and Peter Stratos waited until the end of my workday, actually after 12 midnight, in the early minutes of March 28. Ironically, the charges made by Santamaria against me involve technical issues but nobody at the Woodside facility has any technical competence at all. A few, like Santamaria, may have certain paper credentials that impress people who have no technical knowledge. Of course a fight-back against this outrage is being organized on several fronts and this action is very likely to cause nothing but difficulty and expense for the Transit Authority.

Although Santamaria is not very smart he is not incapable of doing damage. Union vice chair Roman was suspended on completely false charges against which he was not even given the opportunity to defend himself. I myself was demoted on the most flimsy of pretexts -  all under the direction of this Santamaria.

The problems at the MTA's Woodside electronics shop run deep. Krajewski is only a symptom. The whole operation is on life support. The only thing keeping it alive is the nearly complete lack of accountability. There is so much messed up at the Woodside facility that justice cannot be done within the present constraints. A more thorough exposition of the many problems at the facility will have to await a future article.

The situation at the Woodside facility - bad though it may be - might have even a broader and darker side.  It may be an indication of a system-wide drive against union activists and leaders that goes much deeper than a few brutal and ignorant bosses who might just be puppets, under the direction and control of more secretive and sinister forces. As of yet these forces, whoever they may be, leave Santamaria, Krajewski and underlings like Archie Bogosian and Peter Stratos to suffer the consequences.

Upper management has known for some time about the problems at this location, both the technical problems and the problems in human relations. They should have been aware that Santamaria and Krajewski are acting on their own without any authorization.

Can nothing be done to resolve this? It's time for somebody in authority to disavow the entire situation, and it's time for the public to ask them what their decision is. Either that, or they must take responsibility for their actions and admit that they tacitly endorse the present situation. Those involved in carrying it out should bear in mind that the excuse "I was just following orders" did not work for the henchmen of the Nazis.

I think it's now up to union members and friends in the broader progressive, pro-labor community to pitch in on this. All justice-minded people must make the MTA publicly disavow the actions of lower level managers, or get them to admit that they own this and make sure they suffer the consequences along with Santamaria, Krajewski and their underlings for ignoring and suppressing the rights of workers.

Interested parties and make their comments to:

Central Electronics Shop, NYCTA

33-33 54th St.

Woodside, NY

Phone: 718-533-2727


Carmen Bianco

President MTA-NYCT

2 Broadway

New York, NY 10004

Phone: 212-668-8470


Thomas Prendergast

President and CEO, MTA

347 Madison Ave.

New York, NY 10017

Phone: 212-878-7000



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