TWU International President John Samuelsen represents over 150,000 members across the airline, railroad, transit, universities, utilities, and services sectors. Samuelsen was sworn in as TWU’s 10th International President on May 1, 2017. He is also the former President of TWU Local 100 in New York City – the union’s largest local.
A Brooklyn native, Samuelsen was hired by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) in 1993 and was assigned to a track gang in Brooklyn, where he and his fellow union members worked under difficult and unsafe conditions. Managers ignored safety regulations, disciplined workers who spoke up, and had no respect for the workers or their union. While still in his probationary period, Samuelsen’s co-workers elected him shop steward , and he fought vigorously for a safer subway workplace.
From 2001 to 2006, Samuelsen served as chair of the Track Safety Committee and chair of the Track Division. From 2002–2005 he was Acting Vice President of the Maintenance of Way Department, representing 7,100 workers providing essential services to NYCTA in Track, Line Equipment and Signals, Power and Structure. During that time, he also served as lead negotiator for all safety-related issues during contract bargaining between Local 100 and NYCTA, and authored the Comprehensive Track Safety Bill passed by the New York State Legislature.
He was elected President of Local 100 in December 2009 and was reelected overwhelmingly in 2012 and 2015. He served as Local 100 president until September 26, 2017.
He still maintains an active public role in New York politics and advocates on behalf of all TWU members.
During Samuelsen’s time as President, the TWU has been focused on new worker organizing and grown the union by 15,000 members in over 20 successful organizing drives. The TWU is currently leading the charge in fighting against offshoring the maintenance of U.S. passenger aircraft to foreign countries and defending jobs against displacement through automation in the transit industry.