(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by the Transport Workers Union of America and received
via e-mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.)
September 25th 2013
Election of Harry Lombardo as TWU International President
Signals a New Direction for Nation’s Leading Transportation
The Transport Workers Union of America, which represents
workers at major transit systems in cities such as New York,
Philadelphia and San Francisco along with workers in
railroading, gaming and commercial airlines -- including more
workers at American Airlines and Southwest Airlines than any
other labor union -- this week elected a new leadership team
that promises a more aggressive approach in its dealings with
Las Vegas - After a hotly contested election campaign, Harry
Lombardo was elected by acclamation to lead the Transport
Workers Union of America (TWU). Lombardo in his remarks to
delegates pledged to take a more aggressive stand with
employers, to beef up the union’s lobbying efforts in Washington
and the states and to restructure the union in order to apply
more resources and manpower to TWU and AFL-CIO -sponsored
Support for the American Airlines/US Airways Merger
The new TWU International President voiced support in principle
for the merger and strong opposition to the U.S. Department of
Justice’s interference in the merger process. “The DoJ’s
blocking of the merger has already led to layoff notices in
Tulsa where we represent aircraft maintenance workers and
blocked raises and the distribution of stock to more than 20,000
hard-working TWU ground workers at American,” said Lombardo.
“If the merger does move forward, and since management has
committed to growing the airline, there is no reason that
management can’t commit to protecting every job on the
property,” the newly-elected president added.
Fighting Outsourcing in Public Transit and Commercial Airlines
Lombardo and his running mates also pledged to redouble efforts
to fight privatization of public service jobs along with the
outsourcing of aircraft maintenance to overseas repair stations.
“Our national political figures talk a good game about creating
jobs,” said Lombardo, “but government has become either a
sponsor of outsourcing or an enabler. In public transportation
we are seeing foreign companies like Veolia and First Transit
taking over more and more public transit operations. In
commercial airlines, overhaul work is being shipped to China, El
Salvador and other overseas locations with lower standards of
quality and security and little oversight from the FAA and the
Department of Homeland Security.”
Lombardo went on to say, “We’re even seeing companies like
Southwest Airlines that historically have had good relations
with TWU and a culture of labor/management cooperation push for
increased use of low-wage outsourced workers who lack company
loyalty and who are not part of the company culture. This shift
in company policy has been clear in our prolonged negotiations
for ground workers at Southwest.
We will not go quietly on this issue of outsourcing.”
Lombardo immediately took several decisive actions that were
approved by convention delegates. Among the changes:
More control will be given to local unions in dealing with
employers rather than through International and divisional
The union’s governing board, the International Executive
Council, will now have a greater number of local union officers.
Senior staff will be removed from the Council.
TWU will restructure to strengthen both state and regional
conferences and reassign staff to serve these groups including
additional staff to deal with political and legislative
campaigns. In particular, this will allow the union to be
better prepared to deal with attacks on bargaining rights,
public employee pensions and other challenges and to advocate
for additional transit funding.
The union will invest more resources in strategic planning and
research for contract campaigns. TWU also will provide training
to its local leaders on better methods to communicate to the
public and cutting edge tactics to bring pressure to bear on
On Thursday afternoon, Lombardo will lead busloads of convention
delegates and guests along with Allegiant Air flight attendants
to a protest outside Allegiant’s Las Vegas headquarters. TWU
recently organized flight attendants at the discount carrier but
management has refused to agree to a first contract and the
airline’s practices of leaving passengers stranded or routine
hours-long delays has become an issue for the union as well as
Up From the Ranks
Harry Lombardo began his career as a transit worker in
Philadelphia in the 1970’s and led Transport Workers Union Local
234in Philadelphia as local president during a strike against
SEPTA in 1995. Prior to his election this week, Lombardo served
on the national level as the union’s International Executive
A New Team
Joining Lombardo is a new team of leaders:
John Samuelsen, currently serves as President of the 39,000-member TWU Local 100, representing transit workers in New York
City. In addition to his duties in New York, Samuelsen will
assume the position of Executive Vice President of the
Alex Garcia, who previously served as the union’s political
director and prior to that was president of an American Airlines
local in Miami was elected to the position of Secretary-Treasurer.
John Bland, a veteran of TWU’s transit division and Gary
Maslanka who directs the union’s railroad division were both
elected as Administrative Vice Presidents.
Lombardo and the rest of the leadership team took office
immediately after the election results were announced. Each was
elected to a four-year term.
Since 2006, TWU was led by James C. Little who announced two
months ago that he would not be a candidate for reelection after
the Lombardo slate formally announced their candidacy. Joseph
Gordon, the union’s Secretary-Treasurer during the Little years
announced a campaign for union president and fielded a slate of
candidates, but withdrew from the race prior to the convention.
TWU’s 24th quadrennial convention is being held at Las Vegas
’Mirage Hotel through September 27.
# # #
Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) represents 200,000
workers and retirees, primarily in commercial aviation, public
transportation and passenger railroads. The union is an
affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
Contact: Jamie Horwitz, 202/549-4921 firstname.lastname@example.org
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