MTA & TWU Still Far Apart On New Contract

As I noted a week ago, it came as no surprise to see the contract between the MTA & TWU Local 100 expire without a new deal in place. I also opined how for the sake of everybody, I hoped a deal would be reached as soon as possible. However that seems to be wishful thinking as the two sides are still far apart. Christine Haughney of the New York Times has more:

One week after the expiration of a labor contract between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transport Workers Union Local 100, there is no shortage of evidence that the two sides are far apart on a new deal.

Talks in Manhattan were halted on Thursday, after the union accused the authority of bad-faith negotiations by revealing its proposals in the news media; neither side seemed hopeful that a new deal was imminent.

But the atmosphere seems far less charged than in past negotiations; there is certainly no suggestion that the union could go on strike, as it did in 2005. The current economic climate is making it hard for most unions to reach agreements without accepting huge concessions, so both sides appear to be taking their time.

The biggest negotiations seem to involve how the authority can balance its budget while agreeing to any raises. On Jan. 9, shortly after Mr. Lhota was confirmed by the Senate, the agency sent the union a 19-point list of proposed cuts: it included slashing vacation time for workers who had been on the job less than 10 years and offering overtime only after employees had completed a 40-hour work week, not an 8-hour workday.

Union officials have said they do not want to bear the brunt of the agency’s cost-cutting measures and suggested a three-year contract with cost-of-living increases that keep pace with inflation. Over the past week, union officials have come back with a range of suggestions to meet its goal.

“The M.T.A. has taken a position that any raises in the life of a contract, whether it’s three years or five years, would have to be paid solely by productivity concessions, which I reject,” Mr. Samuelsen said. “We need to have more money in this contract than the state has thus far allotted.”

Click here for the complete report.

I expect the posturing between the two parties to go on for awhile at the rate they are going. Hopefully it does not lead to a prolonged arbitration process which is sure to get nasty as it has in the past. I will continue to follow this as time goes on.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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