In August 1954, the supervisors in TWU Local 100 were expelled from the union. The expelled supervisors would soon form their own organization, which would become known as the Transit Supervisors Organization (TSO). The first President of the TSO was Andrew G. Young. He was the Supervisor’s Chairman prior to their expulsion from TWU Local 100. The TSO’s original offices were located at 55 West 42nd Street, New York, NY. Before this Union was established the supervisors in the New York City Transit Authority and the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MaBSTOA) were represented by two (2) organizations, TWU Local 100 and the Subway Supervisors Association (SSA).
In 1971, the Subway Supervisors Association (SSA) attempted to raid the TSO. Under the rules of the newly formed Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) a representation election between the two unions was conducted. As a result of the election the SSA won the right to represent all of the supervisors employed by the Transit Authority, and the TSO would remain the bargaining representative for all of the supervisors employed by MaBSTOA.
After that election, the TSO embarked on numerous organizing drives, beginning with the organizing of the Career and Salary Unit on December 23, 1977. This was the first non-operating unit to join the TSO family. This organizing victory was quickly tempered by the SSA’s second attempt at raiding the TSO in 1978. Again, the TSO was successful in fighting off their attempted raid.
The TSO continued to organize. In 1985, the Queens Supervisory Association (QSA), which represented all of the New York City Transit Authority Bus Dispatchers and Maintenance Line Supervisors in Queens, merged with and became part of the TSO. Prior to their merger with the TSO this group of supervisors was unilaterally expelled from the SSA. This was the first group of NYCTA employees to re-join the TSO since the 1971 split. This is why the TSO logo had two hands connecting to form a bridge between the Borough of the Bronx and the Borough of Queens.
As our membership grew, so did our need for larger office space. In 1995, the TSO purchased a two-story building located at 5768 Mosholu Avenue in the Bronx. This is where the Union Offices are currently located.
Like all smart unions we continued to look for opportunities to organize the unorganized. After years of a bitter organizing battle with the Transit Authority to represent the Station Supervisors Level II’s, in February 1997, the TSO finally won the right to represent the Station Supervisors Level II’s. This was the first group of subway employees to re-join the TSO family since the 1971 split.
After forty-four years of being an independent organization, the Union recognized that times were changing and started to think about affiliating with a larger International Union. The Transport Workers Union International AFL-CIO (TWU) seemed like the most logical choice, since the TWU was the largest union representing the hourly employees at the MTA, New York City Transit Authority and MaBSTOA. The Union began affiliation discussions with the TWU in the winter of 1997. After an affiliation vote on July 13, 1998 the TSO proudly became Local 106 of the TWU International. From that point on we became known as TWU Local 106 – Transit Supervisors, and was one of the first and only Locals that exclusively represent supervisors within the TWU.
NYCTA and MaBSTOA after many years of talking about privatizing their bus operations did the complete opposite beginning in January 2005, when it began taking over eight (8) private bus companies and depots that operated in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Yonkers.
After a long fought organizing drive, in December of 2008, the Bus Dispatchers of six of the eight companies and all of the Maintenance Line Supervisors joined Local 106. This group of supervisors is known as the MTA Bus Division. With MTA Bus Division joining Local 106, we now represent the largest group of Transportation Surface Bus Supervisors in the Country.
In early 2015 Joseph Betancourt a Level 2 Supervisor-(a group that was non-represented) in the Department of Subways reached out to President Vincent Modafferi with the mission to organize the Level 2’s and make up for the decencies between the Level 1’s and Level 2’s. By the end of 2015 the TSO was in an election with the SSSA hosted by PERB over who will represent the Level 2’s. The TSO won this election in a landslide and we now represent all Level 2 Supervisors in the Department of Subways, which number is in the ballpark of 400 members. Joe Betancourt was appointed the Chairman of the Division as he remains today unchallenged and officially reelected by the membership.
We stand today over fourteen hundred members strong and have over fifty years of experience in the labor movement. Our battles with management fighting for our members over the years has made us a well oiled machine never backing down in the face of a challenge to protect our members rights and freedoms.
We will continue to fight to ensure that the American dream remains obtainable for all of our members and their families. We will continue to fight for just and fair wages; health and welfare benefits for our members and their dependents, a pension plan that provides security and dignity to our members in retirement, and ensure that we are all treated fairly and with the respect we deserve.