As I have said numerous times before, the war between the MTA & Transport Workers Union Local 100 is one that never seems to end. Sometimes it might appear dull & peaceful, however it takes very little to get it going at a fever’s pitch again. The latest fever pitch battle has been over the MTA’s cutting & potentially more cutting of union jobs.
One of the main arguments being used by TWU President John Samuelsen is the hypocrisy being shown by the MTA. His initial point focused on how the agency seems to routinely criticize the union for fighting their battle through the media, yet the MTA has been doing just that lately. His latest point is to attack the salary of MTA CEO & Chairman Jay H. Walder who makes $350,000 annually & has a $5000 per month housing allowance. The New York Daily News’ Pete Donohue has more:
The head of the transit union went on the warpath against MTA boss Jay Walder Tuesday – blasting him as a fat cat “raking in the dough” while he lays off workers.
Union big John Samuelsen railed against the “rich guy’s” $350,000 salary and $5,000 monthly housing allowance.
“I just can’t get over the irony of him talking about controlling costs when he’s raking in the dough,” Samuelsen stormed in a sitdown with the Daily News Editorial Board.
“Not for nothing, he has the best severance package in the history of the public sector.”
Walder, who signed a six-year deal last year, has a generous exit package: If he’s forced out of the job early and without cause, he gets a full year’s salary.
He also could get a six-figure severance payment on top of the year’s pay.
Just five months into his term as president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, Samuelsen is fighting MTA layoffs.
Click here for the complete report.
I have shared my feelings on Mr. Samuelsen before. He does bring up some valid points while defending his workers. However he also has a tendency to find a way to bring a poor argument to the table & focus on it instead of his valid points. I feel this argument is weak as you are comparing apples to oranges.
I am not of the belief like some that most union members are overpaid & lack the intelligence or skills to do private sector jobs. This thinking is of supreme idiocy & those who believe it clearly are lacking themselves, especially in the mental area. However you can’t compare union workers to the actual CEO who runs the show. They are completely different positions & the argument holds next to no weight besides the numbers on paper.
The problem begins when you start to take the argument & break it down. While on paper, a union member making less than 6 figures looks weak versus a CEO making 6 figures. However when you look at how Mr. Walder makes next to nothing compared to private sector CEO’s, you see how the responsibilities he faces are just as important as a private sector CEO’s at a much lower pay scale. Mr. Samuelsen is clearly engaging in a battle of populism.
This is not the time for Mr. Samuelsen to be engaging in a battle that he can’t win. The public already has a low opinion of the MTA & its workers. As I mentioned earlier, a decent percentage seem to think most union workers are lazy & overpaid. So trying to paint a picture of populism between the MTA CEO & its workers will not work. He really needs to focus on the positive arguments he brings to the table, especially the openness to negotiate privately instead of through the media.
So Mr. Samuelsen, I urge you to skip the pride factor & pounding of your chest with irrelevant points while defending your workers. Focus on the real issues as it is clear that the two sides need to meet up privately & see what they can hammer out. The benefits for both sides, & the millions of riders is what is really important. Anything less would be a disservice to every single one of us.
xoxo Transit Blogger