TWU Local 100 endorses Bill Thompson for mayor, slights ex-MTA chief Joe Lhota

Bill Thompson in 2009. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Bill Thompson in 2009. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The union representing bus and subway workers turned their back on ex-MTA chief Joe Lhota, choosing instead to endorse Bill Thompson for mayor at City Hall Tuesday.

“Lhota can’t get our endorsement,” Transport Workers Union Local 100 president John Samuelsen said during the endorsement announcement, according to the union’s spokesman.

TWU Local 100, with 38,000 members in the New York City metropolitan area, used to answer to Lhota before he resigned from the agency to run for mayor, but not anymore.

“Bill Thompson will lead his administration to push public transit to the forefront of a truly sustainable and equitable agenda for the city,” said Samuelsen in a statement.

Citing Thompson’s record in fighting for improvement in outer-borough service and against the service cuts, the Samuelsen also said Thompson has also proposed adding new revenue streams for the MTA.

Thompson said he was “honored” to receive the nod, adding that as mayor he would work to increase service in the city.

“New York City’s transit workers are some of the best transportation professionals in the world and as we learned after Sandy they have earned our City’s respect,” he said.

Thompson said he would use $40 million of MTA surpuse to restore service and reinstate a commuter tax.

The union also heard bids from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Controller John Liu.

Thompson eventually won the endorsement because he vowed to work with Cuomo for a new labor contract, which Lhota failed to do before leaving his post. The union’s contact expired in January 2012.

Lhota’s campaign spokeswoman, Jessica Proud, said in a statement the ex-transit boss had “enormous respect” for the transit workers, but did not comment specifically about losing the key endorsement.

“He always says the credit for restoring the subways system after Hurricane Sandy belongs to the workers,” Proud added. “What they accomplished was nothing short of a miracle.”

The union, which has not kept its disdain for current Mayor Michael Bloomberg a secret, decided on Thompson after a “very careful” screening process because of his vision of the city’s “transit future.”

“After three terms under Bloomberg, we will finally usher in an era of Transit Justice,” Samuelsen said.

When reporters at the rally asked Samuelsen if the union would campaign against Lhota, the union president did not rebuff the possibility.

“Certainly if Lhota is the mayoral candidate, we’re not gonna be shy about in talking about what we perceive as his weaknesses,” he said, according to Capitol.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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