Rest in Power, Tim Schermerhorn: Leader of New York Subway Union Reform Effort

September 13, 2022

Tim Schermerhorn—subway train operator, rank-and-file activist, union militant and officer, socialist, troublemaker, Labor Notes board member, son, husband, father, grandfather, and my dear friend and comrade—died this week.

Tim was hired by the New York City Transit Authority in 1982. As a founder of the Hell on Wheels newsletter in 1984, and later the New Directions caucus, he was central to building the confidence and organization of the generation of transit workers hired after the 1980 transit strike.

He ran for president of Transport Workers Union Local 100 in 1988 to get our ideas about union power and democracy out to the membership. He didn’t expect to win and he wasn’t disappointed when he didn’t. But he did win among the subway crews and was elected to be a Vice-Chair of the Train Operators Division.

He ran for local president three more times, increasing his and New Directions’ vote each time, until he received 49.5 percent in 1998 . In 2000, the New Directions slate won the top positions in the local but the caucus had chosen a different candidate for president. Tim was elected VP of Rapid Transit Operations, the subway crews.

Tim attended Brooklyn Tech in the early 1970s and was part of fights to defend New York’s hospitals and schools against austerity during those years. Tim’s father had been a transit worker and part of the Black-led movement to reform the union in the 1960s. Tim sometimes talked about going with his father to the picket lines during the union’s big strike in January 1966.

INSTANT CREDIBILITY

Those roots in the union, and in Brooklyn, served Tim well once he became a transit worker himself. When campaigning with him, we couldn’t enter a crew room without there being someone who knew his dad or knew Tim from school or a campaign to keep a hospital open—who would then speak up for him. In its early days, he gave New Directions instant credibility.

Combine this with the fact there was no one better than Tim at holding...

Go to article

Against the Current Editors
September 1, 2022

EVERYONE KNEW IT was coming: the unhinged Alito Supreme Court ruling that trashed a half-century of Constitutional abortion rights was leaked on May 2, seven weeks ahead of time. The grassroots reproductive rights movement began mobilizing immediately to confront the crisis — from outraged street protests, to expanding clinics to meet the desperate needs of interstate traveling patients, to mobilizing for a sweeping reproductive rights state constitutional amendment in Michigan.

On August 2,...

Malik Miah
August 18, 2022

Solidarity joins the many civil liberties, progressive and anti-racist voices expressing outrage over the July 29, 2022 raid on the African Peoples Socialist Party. It is astonishing that this brutal invasion and theft of APSP’s property and organizational records has been practically blacked out in corporate media coverage, including mainstream and liberal news outlets. Along with others, we demand the immediate return of what was seized from the APSP, its supporters, and cancellation of any pending...

Dianne Feeley
August 15, 2022

The 38th Constitutional Convention of the United Auto Workers (UAW), held July 25-28, 2022 in Detroit, saw the most organized opposition to the rule of the Administration Caucus (AC) since the days of the New Directions caucus thirty years ago. It was also the first convention since the two most recent UAW presidents — Gary Jones and Dennis Williams — were convicted of embezzling union funds. Just a couple of days before the convention they were released from prison and will serve the...

Wendy Thompson
August 15, 2022

One change in organizing for the opposition at the Convention this time was the use of a WhatsApp chat list during the proceedings. It was used so much it was hard to follow the chat and the proceedings. But it helped the delegates elected by Unite All Workers for Democracy ( UAWD ) to feel less isolated from each other on the convention floor. The floor is loaded with appointed reps who try to intimidate delegates.

At past conventions, everything was decided in advance by the Administration Caucus...

Steve Downs
July 18, 2022

The rare planetary alignment in mid-June was accompanied by the equally rare alignment of the AFL-CIO convention and the Labor Notes conference . It’s not often there is the opportunity for such direct comparison of the top leadership and activist base of the labor movement.

The AFL-CIO met from June 12-15 in Philadelphia. The theme of the convention was “Organize and Rise.” Delegates elected a new leadership (Liz Shuler as president and Fred Redmond as secretary-treasurer), held discussions...

Solidarity members and friends
July 18, 2022

Workshop on Class Struggle Unionism

Joshua DeVries

The panel “Class Struggle Unionism” featured Joe Burns, author of the new book of the same title, Ryan Haney from the Dallas Teamsters, Krystal Gardner from AFSCME Council 31 in Illinois and Patrick Korte with Virginia CORE. Burns launched the session by drawing distinctions between the main school of labor unions, drawing attention to the fundamental difference in how they look at the employment relation. Business unionism holds high the motto,...

David Finkel
July 15, 2022

To be scrupulously fair to Joe Biden: No one who may have expected that Biden’s presidency would represent a new direction in U.S. policies toward Palestine or the region’s dictatorships can claim they were deceived — any such hopes were only self-delusion.

Nothing in his record, his rhetoric, or his endless political campaigns suggested any progressive content in Biden’s attitudes regarding the Middle East. Why would that somehow change after this veteran political hack was elevated to...

The Feminist Initiative Group
July 14, 2022

We, feminists from Ukraine, call on feminists around the world to stand in solidarity with the resistance movement of the Ukrainian people against the predatory, imperialist war unleashed by the Russian Federation. War narratives often portray women* as victims. However, in reality, women* also play a key role in resistance movements, both at the frontline and on the home front: from Algeria to Vietnam, from Syria to Palestine, from Kurdistan to Ukraine.

The authors of the  Feminist Resistance...

Against the Current Editors
June 30, 2022

JUNE 24 — THE OFFICIAL overturn of Roe v. Wade was announced as this issue of ATC goes to press. It didn’t require a white-nationalist riot, invading the Capitol at the instigation of Donald Trump, to tear huge holes in long-established constitutional rights in the United States. Where that frontal assault failed, a flanking maneuver by the right wing has met with success — including a blatant pseudo-constitutional coup by Court.

The overturn of Roe v. Wade not...

June 30, 2022

Here is a dossier of reports from Solidarity supporters about abortion rights rallies across the country.

All Webzine articles