To the Editor: In The Chief’s Oct. 11 edition, on page 4, you published the following statement:
“Five years ago, Mike Carrube was elected president of the Subway Surface Supervisors Association after campaigning as a reformer. His attorney, Arthur Schwartz, for more than 20 years has tried to make himself the go-to guy for reformers seeking to bring change to various unions including District Council 37 and Transport Workers Union Local 100.
So it came as a bit of a surprise to learn that they have engineered and are defending a change in the union’s constitution that bars from running for office any member who does not have at least five years in the union at top pay. Not exactly what you would expect from a self-styled reformer.”
I am not, and have not been since around 1999 (when Michael Carrube was disciplined by the NYCTA because of union activity), Mike Carrube’s lawyer. I was retained by SSSA to run its 2014 election, in which Mike Carrube was a candidate. He had an attorney, the law firm of Koehler & Isaacs. I ran a fair election and Mr. Carrube won.
I did no other work for SSSA until July 2019, when SSSA asked me again to run the 2019 election. I was not Mike Carrube’s lawyer in 2015, when the constitutional amendment you critique was passed by the members (with the support of Ms. Lawson-Williams), and I am not Mike Carrube’s lawyer now.
I believe that all involved in the election, including Ms. Lawson-Williams and Ainsley Stewart, would credit me with bending over backwards to be fair and impartial—within the bounds set by the existing SSSA Constitution, which includes the five-year rule. (I should note that the TWU Local 100 Constitution limits candidacy for Division Chair and Section Chair and other key positions to members who attend half of the Division or Section meetings for one year; this provision eliminates 95% of the members from running. The SSSA rules prevent about 50% from running.)
I value my work both as a union reform (not a self-styled reformer) and as someone who professionally runs fair union elections, according to the unions’ rules and all applicable law. Your editorial makes statements of fact which are untrue and which harm my reputation.
ARTHUR Z. SCHWARTZ
Richard Steier replies: I was mistaken in stating that Mr. Schwartz “engineered” the change in the union’s constitution cited in the Oct. 11 editorial.
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