The Transit Workers Union & The Metropolitan Transportation Authority In New York City Reach A Tentative Contract Agreement - Union President Says New Deal Features “Solid Raises And Other Strong Economic Gains”
(NEW YORK CITY) - Transit Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 - which represents 38,000 Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Employees, reached a Tentative Contract Agreement Monday (January 16th) after failing to meet a midnight deadline, Local 100 John Samuelsen announced.
“We won a tentative contract with ‘solid’ raises and ‘other strong’ economic gains, moving Transit Workers ‘well ahead’ of inflation and ‘greatly improving’ their quality of life,” Samuelsen said. “That was ‘our goal.’ We ‘achieved’ it.”
Contracts between the MTA and TWU Local 100 had expired at 12 a.m. Monday. The agreement comes after nearly two months of negotiations, which were kicked off with a massive Union Rally outside MTA headquarters in November.
Main topics under negotiation included wage increases and safety reforms for the Workers who operate, maintain and repair the agency’s New York City Transit bus and subway network.
Both parties had been negotiating all day Sunday at the Andaz Hotel on Wall Street, but did not come to an agreement by the midnight deadline, piquing concerns about an impending Strike.
“We came to a ‘dead stop more than once,’” Samuelsen said. “The leadership team for the Union ‘was getting ready to leave the hotel more than one time.’ Discussion there was ‘sometimes very tense.’”
Contract negotiations are believed to be one of the last major handlings of outgoing MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast, who has maintained an unusually affable relationship with the Union. That’s in part because Prendergast’s history at the agency and knowledge of Workers’ concerns. Prendergast has said that an improved financial outlook for the MTA would help smooth out contract negotiations.
Samuelsen said the agreement was reached with no concessions, adding the Union was able to negotiate wage increases above the 2% rate of inflation without ceding issues like health benefits. Some victories include a 75-cent hourly pay raise, in addition to the wage increases for Bus Operators who drive articulated buses, which increase passenger capacity but are more difficult to maneuver on city streets, according to Samuelsen. There was also an agreement to improve accommodations in facilities for the roughly 5,000 Female Transit Workers, he said.
“So many of the MTA facilities were designed ‘without the specific needs’ of Women Transit Workers in mind,” said Samuelsen, noting that restrooms and locker rooms were designed 50 years ago when the workforce was more male-dominated. “We received a commitment from the company to ‘build out modernized’ Employee facilities that we will ‘jointly develop to demonstrate the high level of respect’ that Female Transit Workers ‘deserve.’”
Prendergast said the tentative contract "is ‘responsive to the needs’ of the hard-working men and women in the TWU Local 100 and is an ‘affordable agreement that can be accommodated within our financial plan.’" The contract will need to be ratified and approved by the MTA Board.
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