New York, NY — On Monday, August 19th, in an emergency meeting, the TWU (Transport Workers Union) Local 100 Executive Board unanimously rejected a series of contract demands from the MTA. The Local and the MTA are now at a continued stand-off, having been without a contract since May 15th.
“If the MTA’s goal was to enrage every transit worker in the city then they’ve done it,” TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said. “We will do everything in our power to fight these insulting contract demands. Transit workers have worked too hard to improve service – and this union has worked too hard over decades to establish a decent standard of living for our members – to now go backwards.”
MTA Chairman Patrick Foye presented the union with a contract offer that the TWU says is full of “giveback demands” that would “deeply diminish our ability to provide for our families.” Among these is a major change in overtime pay. Currently, overtime kicks in after eight hours, which is standard in many labor agreements. The MTA wants overtime to commence after 40 hours of actual work.
Another change the MTA wants to implement is in health care: doubling the amount of employee contribution from 2% to 4% phased in at a .5% increase each year of the agreement (the term of the contract as a whole is four years). The MTA is also seeking to open the door to part-time transit workers, which Local 100 has bitterly fought in the past, claiming that “we don’t have part time families.
Wages would go up by only 2%, beginning sixty days after contract ratification. There would be no retroactive pay for the time transit workers have spent working without a negotiated agreement.
Also at issue is outside contracting. In January, the MTA used outside contractors that sometimes don’t employ union safety standards to clean over one hundred subway stations and thousands of train cars, which it agreed, after a near picket by the TWU, to make a one-time deal. The new contract terms would allow the MTA to renege on that agreement, allowing the contracting out of station and car cleaning, as well as construction flagging, and TWU work in Capital Construction. Local 100 has consistently said that the in-house workforce is more cost-effective than the private companies which are often brought in by the MTA. The union’s detailed rebuttal to the MTA’s proposal is on their website at www.twulocal100.org.
Local 100 officials have said that they plan to begin organizing a rally to push back against the MTA.