Labor Union

Transport Workers Union of America

This is a logo for Transport Workers Union of America. (link)
Website:

www.twu.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

13-1395075

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(5)

Budget (2020):

Revenue: $27,411,730
Expenses: $23,678,839
Assets: $52,774,216

Formation:

1934

International President:

John Samuelsen

AFL-CIO

Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) is a labor union that represents over 150,000 workers in the airline, railroad, transit, utility, and service transportation sectors in the United States. [1] TWU is a member union of the AFL-CIO. [2]

TWU consists of more than 100 autonomous locals all over the United States. [3] Its union members include aircraft mechanics, airport ramp workers, baggage handlers, cable car operators, flight attendants, bus operators, motormen, urban bikeshare workers, pilot instructors, firefighters, dispatchers, track workers, power line workers, station agents, ticket agents, tour guides, disease control investigators, crane operators, environmental health inspectors, and many others. [4]

TWU’s Committee on Civil and Human Rights advocates for and implements policies that aim to be sensitive to “LGBT, immigration, racial equity, and other key issues.” Its Veterans’ Committee and Working Women’s Committee aim to expand union outreach to those named constituents. [5] Its Future Leaders Organizing Committee seeks to train young workers to be future union advocates and advance the cause of organized labor. [6]

Background

The Transport Workers Union was founded by Michael J. Quill in 1934. Quill is described as having had a “militant approach to organizing” according to TWU, leading strikes and sit-ins with transit workers that “brought the city to its knees” at the peak of the Great Depression. [7] The consolidation of New York City’s subways under one transit system helped grant TWU increased leveraging power for better union bargaining. TWU’s aggressive campaigns led it to replace long-established American Federation of Labor (AFL) transit unions. [8]

In the 1940s TWU expanded its operations to organize transit and railroad laborers across the United States, and, later, workers in the aviation industry including flight attendants, baggage handlers, ground crews, and dispatchers. Eventually, public-utilities workers who provided energy to transit companies were deemed eligible for membership, as well as maintenance workers at colleges and military bases. [9]

Growing up alongside labor activists affiliated with the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), Quill decided to officially break with the Communist Party in 1948, when the pressure of the Cold War and anti-communist sentiment in America was rising, [10] but most directly due to the Communist Party’s opposition to a transit fare increase in New York City when he was trying to successfully win an increase in wages for his union members. He actively purged communists from locals such as Miami’s Local 500, then the union’s largest, [11] and redirected the union’s organizing efforts into areas inconsistent with the doctrine of communist and socialist agitators. [12]

By the 1950s, TWU had more than 100,000 members with the employees for the municipal bus lines and private bus companies largely under its organization. [13]

TWU members marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma in 1965. The union also claims to have helped open jobs to ethnic minorities in the 1930s and make maternity leave more widely available in the 1980s. [14]

In 1966, Quill was pressured into calling a city-wide strike in New York as John V. Lindsay assumed the office of mayor in January that year. The strike last twelve days and had a bitter effect on the city’s transit authority, which successfully requested an injunction against the union to put an end to it. TWU major officers including Quill himself were charged with contempt for ignoring the order, leading to some officers getting sentenced to prison. Before the settlement was reached, Quill had a heart attack and died at the age of 61. [15]

Secretary-Treasurer Matthew Guinan succeeded Quill as president. He renegotiated the union’s 27 contracts within his first two years and finalized the settlement with the New York City government. Under Guinan’s leadership the union ramped up its airline organizing efforts. The presidents that followed Guinan such as Sonny Hall, John Lawe, and James C. Little all worked to expand the union’s membership categories to include workers in diverse fields. [16]

TWU is comprised of three main divisions: Air; Railroad; and Transit, Universities, Utilities, and Services. It represents more than 100 autonomous locals all over the United States. [17] Its union members include aircraft mechanics, airport ramp workers, baggage handlers, cable car operators, flight attendants, bus operators, motormen, urban bikeshare workers, pilot instructors, firefighters, dispatchers, track workers, power line workers, station agents, ticket agents, tour guides, disease control investigators, crane operators, environmental health inspectors, and many others. [18]

Activities

Transport Workers Union self-reports to be “leading the charge” in combatting the offshoring of U.S. passenger aircraft maintenance to other countries and in fighting against automation replacing workers throughout the transit industry. [19]

TWU’s Committee on Civil and Human Rights advocates for and implements policies that aim to be sensitive to “LGBT, immigration, racial equity, and other key issues.” Its Veteran’s Committee and Working Women’s Committee aim to expand its outreach to those named constituents. [20] Its Future Leaders Organizing Committee seeks to train young workers to be future union advocates and advance the cause of organized labor. [21]

In July 2022, TWU international president John Samuelsen issued a statement regarding the Worker Flexibility and Choice Act (H.R. 8442), calling it “a boldfaced lie,” a “dangerous piece of legislation” that denies so-called rights to working Americans (such as a living wage, parental sick leave, retirement, affordable healthcare, and workplace democracy) and prevents “states and cities” from taking action to “hold criminal corporations accountable.” [22]

In August 2022, TWU in tandem with several other airline unions started an advocacy campaign requesting airline companies agree to invest more in the industry via sound operations and quality employment rather than participating in stock buybacks, thereby “diverting” profits to “Wall Street.” The campaign additionally demanded that airlines agree to extend the COVID-relief prohibition on stock buybacks until they find resolution to labor contract negotiations and until “operational meltdowns are not the norm.” At the time, international president of TWU John Samuelsen stated, “Any airline that chooses to buy back stock now instead of investing in their workforce would be not only irresponsible, but untrustworthy. Airline CEOs need to know that the public is watching and that we won’t stand for their greed.” [23]

Leadership

As of 2022, Transport Workers Union was led by international president John Samuelsen, the union’s tenth president who was sworn in on May 1, 2017. He was the former president of TWU Local 100, the New York City local and the union’s largest. He “still maintains an active public role in New York politics,” having worked in New York transit organized labor for many years. [24] Other major leaders include international executive vice president Alex Garcia, international secretary-treasurer Jerome Lafragola, and international administrative vice presidents Mike Mayes and Curtis Tate. [25] [26]

References

  1. “About TWU – Our History.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/. ^
  2. “About TWU – Our History.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/. ^
  3. “About TWU.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/. ^
  4. “Fact Sheet.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/TWU_FactSheet_2018v4-compressed.pdf. ^
  5. “About TWU – Our History.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/. ^
  6. “Future Leaders Organizing Committee.” FLOC. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://floc.twu.org/. ^
  7. “About TWU – Our History.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/. ^
  8. “Guide to the Transport Workers Union of America Records WAG.235.” NYU.edu. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/wag_235/bioghist.html. ^
  9. “About TWU – Our History.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/. ^
  10. “Guide to the Transport Workers Union of America Records WAG.235.” NYU.edu. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/wag_235/bioghist.html. ^
  11. Lichtenstein, Alex. “Putting Labor’s House in Order: the Transport Workers Union and labor anti-Communism in Miami during the 1940s.” Labor History, Vol. 39, No. 1, 1998. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://files.libcom.org/files/Lichtenstein%20A%20-%20Putting%20Labor%27s%20House%20in%20Order%20-%20The%20Transport%20Workers%20Union%20and%20Labor%20Anti-C.pdf. ^
  12. “Guide to the Transport Workers Union of America Records WAG.235.” NYU.edu. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/wag_235/bioghist.html. ^
  13. “Guide to the Transport Workers Union of America Records WAG.235.” NYU.edu. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/wag_235/bioghist.html. ^
  14. “About TWU – Our History.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/. ^
  15. “Guide to the Transport Workers Union of America Records WAG.235.” NYU.edu. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/wag_235/bioghist.html. ^
  16. [1] “Guide to the Transport Workers Union of America Records WAG.235.” NYU.edu. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/tamwag/wag_235/bioghist.html. ^
  17. “About TWU.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/ ^
  18. “Fact Sheet.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/TWU_FactSheet_2018v4-compressed.pdf. ^
  19. “Leadership.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/leadership/ ^
  20. “About TWU – Our History.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/. ^
  21. “Future Leaders Organizing Committee.” FLOC. Accessed September 3, 2022. http://floc.twu.org/. ^
  22. “The so-called worker flexibility and choice act is a lie.” Transport Workers Union, July 22, 2022. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/the-so-called-worker-flexibility-and-choice-act-is-a-lie/ ^
  23. “Unions: No Stock Buybacks in Aviation Until Problems are Fixed.” AFA, August 18, 2022. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.afacwa.org/nostockbuybacks_release. ^
  24. “Leadership.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/leadership/ ^
  25. “Fact Sheet.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/wp content/uploads/2021/03/TWU_FactSheet_2018v4-compressed.pdf. ^
  26. “About TWU.” TWU.org. Accessed September 3, 2022. https://www.twu.org/about/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. John Bland
    Vice President
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: August - July
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 1944

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2020 Aug Form 990 $27,411,730 $23,678,839 $52,774,216 $182,228 N $0 $26,643,697 $1,245,914 $4,010,408
    2019 Aug Form 990 $28,986,910 $25,797,641 $48,911,116 $52,019 N $0 $26,373,010 $1,251,675 $3,824,726 PDF
    2018 Aug Form 990 $31,627,710 $22,713,192 $45,762,431 $92,603 N $0 $24,457,068 $1,150,893 $3,665,104 PDF
    2017 Aug Form 990 $25,706,917 $19,382,905 $42,942,923 $6,187,613 N $0 $24,441,216 $611,144 $3,675,499 PDF
    2016 Aug Form 990 $24,814,628 $19,454,681 $107,192,660 $80,172 N $0 $21,797,056 $2,225,754 $4,030,051
    2015 Aug Form 990 $50,007,622 $21,269,500 $101,877,368 $124,037 N $0 $21,936,431 $853,626 $2,937,802 PDF
    2014 Aug Form 990 $20,015,995 $21,210,059 $22,738,620 $68,234 Y $0 $19,322,850 $475,160 $3,936,637 PDF
    2013 Aug Form 990 $21,439,581 $22,596,658 $24,511,979 $647,529 Y $0 $19,027,103 $454,340 $5,365,978 PDF
    2012 Aug Form 990 $20,367,166 $22,128,699 $25,114,419 $92,892 Y $0 $19,076,258 $482,189 $5,850,420 PDF
    2011 Aug Form 990 $21,050,397 $25,576,151 $26,974,672 $191,612 Y $0 $18,540,364 $731,408 $7,163,285 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Transport Workers Union of America

    1220 19th St. NW, Suite 600
    WASHINGTON, DC 20036