MTA & TWU Local 100 Reach New Deal

Even though it was nearly 14 years to the date, the last NYC Transit strike still resonates with me. I recall being out there providing exclusive coverage from picket lines and providing that for my readers here on Transit Blogger. While such an occurrence did not seem to be in the cards this time around, it is good to know that the MTA & TWU Local 100 reached a new deal. More on that from the press release the agency shared with me yesterday:

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye and Transit Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 President Tony Utano today announced a tentative agreement between the MTA and TWU Local 100. The agreement, which is subject to ratification by the union’s members and approval by the MTA Board, provides a four-year contract for more than 37,000 transit workers.

“This contract reflects the hard work of thousands of Transit employees who have helped us reach the highest on-time subway performance in more than half a decade, while providing a fair deal for taxpayers and our more than eight million daily customers,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. “The tentative agreement is responsive to the financial challenges we face and addresses important issues such as accessibility, overtime and healthcare costs.”

Accessibility remains a top priority for the MTA, and this agreement reflects the agency and the TWU’s commitment to these projects. The agreement advances the MTA’s unprecedented investment in making 70 stations accessible in the proposed 2020-2024 historic Capital Plan by accelerating the delivery of these projects. The agreement also ensures these important assets will be reliably available for customers. The parties also agree to create the first-ever tri-party committee with MTA, TWU and accessibility advocates, to ensure close collaboration and continued focus on delivering these projects quickly and efficiently.

This agreement also includes changes to modernize the health plan. The adjustments will deliver $27 million in savings through a series of changes, including increases to emergency room co-pays to encourage greater use of primary and urgent care providers; instituting nationwide in-network coverage, increasing flexibility and choice for employees among providers; and adjusting prescription drug co-pays to encourage use of generic options, among others.

The agreement includes a suite of provisions that, combined and enacted in partnership with the TWU, will ensure the MTA continues to deliver on improvements in operations while realizing savings for the financial plan. This includes a commitment to a one-and-a-half day improvement in employee availability – the number of days an employee is available and reporting to work – which will deliver an estimated $17 million in annual savings to the MTA. Availability has steadily decreased since 2000. After an improvement of one day in employee availability is achieved, any additional savings will be jointly shared between the TWU and MTA.

The agreement includes a recognition of overtime equalization as an important priority for both the MTA and TWU, to ensure that opportunities for overtime are equally available to eligible employees and that overtime is efficiently allocated. The MTA will also enforce existing contractual agreements in order to achieve this priority. The agreement also includes provisions to further modernize the agency’s approach to discipline, to ensure policies are more progressive and fair to employees – significantly advancing a key goal in Fast Forward.

The TWU and MTA will also jointly work to identify goals and align interests to increase productivity, and a clear path to achieving these improvements, with any achieved savings shared equally. The agreement allows for mutual swaps of shifts between employees in similar job classes across all TWU members for the first time, giving employees increased flexibility in scheduling while ensuring sufficient coverage for critical operational roles and minimizing overtime.

The agreement allows third-party contractors to provide a one-time deep cleaning of up to 180 subway stations.

Both the MTA and TWU recognize worker safety as a priority issue, and will work together to increase public awareness of assaults on transit workers, advocate for increased usage of existing provisions in State law that classify worker assaults as a felony, and create a Task Force that includes partners in law enforcement to ensure these issues receive necessary attention and that all parties have a sustained focus on solutions. NYCT and TWU will also cooperate to explore the use of new technologies to increase track worker and flagger safety.

Under the terms of the agreement, NYCT will pay an average net wage increase of 2.3% each year through May 2023. Before giving effect to health savings and increases in availability, a one percent increase in wages is approximately equal to $36 million, offset by $44 million in savings in the health plan and availability. Once the contract is ratified, workers would receive a 2% increase for 2019, a 2.25% increase in 2020, a 2.5% increase in 2021 and a 2.75% increase in 2022.

The contract covers more than 30,000 TWU employees working for NYC Transit and 6,600 employees of the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MaBSTOA), which include bus operators, maintainers, cleaners, maintainers and other employees who work out of seven bus depots in Manhattan and the Bronx.

The proposed agreement can be funded within the proposed MTA 2020-2023 Financial Plan.

So far both sides seem satisfied with the deal which should calm down the usual intensity geared towards each other from both sides. Hopefully nothing comes along that could derail the deal.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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