Transport Workers Union of Greater New York AFL-CIO Local 100 was not the only transit local to go on strike in 1980 with their 11 day walkout. Quite a bit west of the Hudson River a tiny unaffiliated college town local of bus drivers, maintenance and clerical workers shut down operations of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority for about 6 weeks.
The Transport Employees Union (TEU) had been created in 1975 when a grievance of AFSCME Local 693 concerning inclusion of clerical in the bargaining unit led to a Michigan Employment Relations Commission proposal for a May 2nd "consent election" which was opposed neither by AFSCME nor AATA. Not too surprisingly, in retrospect, a rank and file including many independent-minded, experiment-seeking newly hired members, many with no understanding of how to use their International's resources, voted to go it alone. Led initially by Susan Schurman, some TEU contracts featured wage parity for most job classifications, a non-discrimination clause covering "race, sex, creed, color, national origin, age, handicap, sexual preference, educational status, or for any characteristics, beliefs, or activities which do not affect the employee's ability to perform her/his job" (1980), and joint labor-management committees on Health and Safety, Accident Review, the Quality of Work, and the Sick Leave Bank Committee (1977).
The long strike in 1980 took a severe toll on TEU leadership as many resigned from their offices and moved on to other careers. Lack of political clout and mounting legal cost led a new generation of TEU leaders to once again seek the expertise and assistance available from a larger international union. In 1981, then International Vice President George Lietz negotiated our affiliation with TWU. On September 15th the TEU membership voted to affiliate and TWU issued the Local 171 Charter on November 17, 1981. Another representation dispute in the late 1970's and early 1980's led AATA transportation and maintenance supervisors to form and then later decertify an IUOE local.
Since affiliating with TWU we have reached three 3-year agreements and two 5-year agreements with the help of International Representatives Merrill Cooper (1983 & 1986) and Mike O'Brien (1989, 1992 & 1997) without any more strikes. We are looking forward to working with our new International Representative Hubert Snead, even if he does come from Columbus, Ohio, home of the Buckeye football team which just can't seem to win a game against the Michigan Wolverines.