News & Politics

Mad on the Street


Emmanuel Lewis

train operator, 11 years

“I’m sorry it had to come to that but I do believe it was necessary. We still don’t know anything about the contract, but I have no reason to be skeptical of Toussaint. I don’t know how they handle things behind the scenes. I’d like to thank New York for supporting us, for bringing us coffee. Even though the media, especially the Post, was against us.”

Ganette McLetchie

conductor, 9 years

“It was worth it because rain or shine we have to be there, they don’t care how you get there or if you drop dead. That’s why the pension matters—I’m 59. I don’t say anything bad about Toussaint because he is my people from Trinidad. His family was union people in Trinidad so he knows what he is doing. He stuck up for us there and he is sticking up for us now.”

Darryl Torres

train conductor, three years

“I’d call myself a pre-junior member. I used to work with the police, school safety, before. I got injured and went to work for transit. They said when you started, say goodbye to your families, say goodbye to your weekends. And that’s all true. But the way they deal with sickness is like how they treat prisoners on furlough. You have to call before you leave for the doctor’s and then call again when you return. And if you take a certain number of days, they send the sick police to your house to check on you. That’s not going to change. Why do we do it? How else are you going to pay taxes and support your family.”

Archie Miller

train cleaner, 17 years, 9 months

“It’s not over yet. They give you sick time but you’re not allowed to use it. If you use it they come to your house. They came to my house twice. Toussaint is a strong man. A fighter. Regardless of how this contract comes out he’s gained the respect of all the working class in America. I’m from Barbados—his youth in Trinidad prepared him for this challenge. This higher purpose. His destiny was to deliver us—the working people.”

George Yancy

train operator, 13 years

“Yes I’m ready to go back to work. Worth it/ it’s not over yet. When we get a contract that will determine if it was worth it. We were all suffering—the city, our families. I’m not proud of this. Toussaint was pushed into a corner. He had no choice and I’m behind him 100 percent. He’s a tough leader, he’s made enemies within the local. But that stuff is personal. My personal feeling don’t come into it. I’m a union man first.”

Charlie Winston

train operator, 11 years

“Of course it was worth it, it was the principle. They disrespected us, called us thugs, that’s the code word for ‘nigga’.”

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