Nonetheless, Williams has been vilified by a management whispering campaign. Its substance, which has worked its way into the media, is that Williams is under a stiff challenge in impending union elections from Enrique ”Rick“ Ortega, and accordingly feels threatened if he concedes to so much as the removal of a comma from the current contract.
There are three problems with this allegation. First, Williams was elected to a four-year term just last year; the next election will fall in 2003, unless a mail referendum advances it by one year into 2002. Second, Ortega insists there’s ”absolutely, positively nothing“ to the reports that he‘s gunning for Williams’ job. ”I‘m concentrating on negotiations and on getting food to my members,“ says Ortega, who heads three of the union’s districts. ”I support my general chairman.“ And third, it‘s just possible that Williams remains resolutely opposed to the MTA’s proposal because he can‘t fathom why, in the middle of a record-breaking boom, his members should have to give back wages, benefits, pensions and security that they won in less flush times. For all we know, he may even believe that it’s good for Los Angeles to have workers enjoying middle-class living standards. The gall of the guy!#