The Transport Workers Union - now striking New York's transit system - staged a massive rally Monday (10 January) to demonstrate to the public that it is not going to be "bullied" into accepting an unfair contract.
Crowd, Mrs. Quill on platform (natural sound)
Crowd chants, "We want Quill."
Mrs. Quill speaks, SOF starts: "I'm sorry..." Ends, "...every worker in America."
MacMahon's SOF starts: "What is it..." Ends, "...Transport Workers." Cheers
Strikers facing camera
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Background: The Transport Workers Union - now striking New York's transit system - staged a massive rally Monday (10 January) to demonstrate to the public that it is not going to be "bullied" into accepting an unfair contract.
Union leaders urged the 10,000 T.W.U. members at the rally to be prepared to make sacrifice, if necessary. The crowd answered by cheering wildly.
At one point the crowd cried out: "We want Quill, we want Quill, we want Quill." But, Michael Quill, President of the Transport Workers, was not available. He is hospitalised, having collapsed shortly after bering arrested for defying a court order locking the strike which has paralysed New York's transit system. Police are guarding his hospital room.
The 60-year-old labour leader, who is noted for his cutting wit and fiery oratory, was unable to carry out the crowd's appeal, but Mr. Quill's wife was there. She beseeched the strikers to stay on the picket line and not lose courage. She told the men that their "struggle" is being watched by working people throughout the nation.
Following her at the microphone was the present Transport Workers Union chief negotiator, Douglas MacMahon. He blasted Mayor John Lindsay for "allowing the transit dispute to drift into a strike". MacMahon blamed the city's new mayor for the strike, which is costing city businesses 100 million dollars a day. He said the union's demands are fair; that all "the union wants is a wage for its men that other city workers who do comparable work...are getting."
After the rally, 150 pickets took buses to the New York Civil Jail where eight union leaders are being held. They got out and walked around the prison to show their fellow unionists that they have not been forgotten.
Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, which operates New York City's subways and buses is on strike against the City Transit Authority, seeking higher wages, a shorter work week and other benefits. The strike has left New York with virtually no form of public transportation since January 1st.