TWU America Young Workers Summit 2013

(please see attached-TWU Young Workers Summit 2013- Summery)

The Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) had their first youth meeting in Washington DC a couple of months ago attracting 14 young workers, there they created a draft constitution (bylaws) in view of forming a young workers committee. Following this meeting they took on draft amendments.
This second meeting 29th April – 2nd May (TWU young workers summit) in New York City was attended by 12 young members whose first agenda item was to agree any amendments to the previous draft constitution and thus officially formalising the creation of a new body within the TWU now known as the
TWU International Young Workers Committee (TWU YWC).

I was invited as a guest speaker and delivered an address which lasted 15 minutes on the history of the RMT young members advisory committee, what we get up to, young member education courses, the ITF youth network, strength of young workers and the challenges we face at home; in the workplace as well as within the union.

The rest of the session was used for training in preparation for a day of action on May day. It was on the ‘Importance of Organising & Direct Action,’ delivered in a extremely interactive workshop format. ‘Know your rights’ training was also delivered by a lawyer and representatives from a community action group.
The plan, walking route and targets for the May day action was agreed. Targets were chosen due to the union busting work they do, are outsourcing work and or they are out of contract (recognition) with TWU- these included: Metropolitan Transit Authority, South West Airlines, Jackson Lewis Law firm and Ford Harrison Law firm.

The May day action consisted of approximately 30 TWU young workers were joined by TWU members nationwide as well as other left leaning groups and feeder marches, at a rough guess the group consisted of just shy of 200 activists at its largest point.
The occupations consisted mainly of TWU members as well as myself and we were able to gain access into all the buildings we targeted where we used the ‘occupy mic’ to broadcast a message before we left for our next target.

TWU had 2 cameras filming the action with a view of creating a video highlighting the work of the young workers and to try and involve more young people in TWU.
May day demo video 1
May day demo video 2

The young workers created a chant list for the day and had identified activists who would be leading the chants, these well timed chants were really powerful and made a change to the usual horns and whistles at demos.

The young worker joined in the official May day march later in the day with their placards, banner, t-shirts and chants.

On the 2nd of May an election of youth officers, list of tasks to be done by the next meeting was created and allocated to activists and a draft of the agenda for subsequent meetings took place.

Chair & Vice Chair:
Chair- Drew Nowak
Vice chair- Gregory Bimbiras

Staff Support
Director of Human Rights- Sandra Burleson (now the committee is set up she will be providing direct staff support to the youth committee)

Other Useful Contacts:
Education & Training Tonya Gordon
New Media Jeff Rae
Researcher Angela Kasse