International Leadership Holds Shop Gate at TWU Local 260
The TWU's top five Officers visited members of Local 260 at their shops on Monday, along with Transit Division International Staff. Local 260 represents approximately 2,400 employees of Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority in almost every job title across the public transportation system, from Bus Operators to Welders. International President Harry Lombardo, Executive Vice President John Samuelsen, Secretary-Treasurer Alex Garcia, Administrative VP John Bland, Administrative VP Gary Maslanka, and Transit Division Director Jerome Lafragola heard from members, answered their questions, and pledged the International's support in their contract battle.
Houston's public transit system is seeing a number of expansions, particularly in light rail. "It's significant that the leadership went to Houston to learn about the work that our members do," said Transit Division Director Jerome Lafragola. "The IAC got to know the membership, and the members were very happy that someone is taking an interest in their challenges, not just at the Local level but at the national level."
"The members' reaction at first was surprise to see the International leadership," said Local 260 Secretary-Treasurer Robert Garrett. "It's not in my recent memory that the International visited us."
At the MTA's Rail Operating Center (ROC) in South-Central Houston, the International Officers were greeted by management and Local 260 President Horace Marves was able to pull all TWU members off the floor to engage with International leadership. "The International has been a co-partner with the local leadership in their contract fight," said Int'l Administrative VP John Bland. "The membership asked a bunch of questions, and they were excited that they have the full support of me and Harry and the whole Staff."
"I took away and I think the membership took away that it's important that they see the top leadership," said Garrett. "And for us to know that we have big brothers on our side, and that they are ready and able to provide the resources needed to help in our fight here locally."