What a Deal
In the final chapter of the now-seemingly-over MTA-TWU negotiation battle, the two sides met somewhere in the middle on the hotly contested issue of benefits.
Last night the executive board of the union, Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, voted 37 to 4 to approve the tentative 37-month contract. One member abstained. The city's 33,700 subway and bus workers are expected to vote on the agreement early next month; some are expected to oppose it out of unhappiness over having to pay toward health premiums for the first time.
The agreement calls for transit workers to pay 1.5 percent of their wages toward the premiums, cutting into the raises they receive. That comes on top of the fines of slightly more than $1,000 that most transit workers face for participating in last week's illegal transit strike.
The settlement calls for raises of 3 percent in the deal's first year, 4 percent in the second year and 3.5 percent in the third year. The subway and bus workers' current base pay averages $47,000 a year, and with overtime, their average yearly earnings total $55,000.
That's a pretty sweet deal for transit workers, who maintain the ability to retire with full pension benefits at age 55 and now stand to receive nearly 11% in wage increases over the next three years, on top of average salaries already well above what their market rates would be.
One happy outcome is the 37-month term of the new contract, meaning there won't be a threat of a similar illegal holiday strike in 2008.
If you ask me, the best way to prevent such a strike would be to throw Roger Toussaint and his cohorts in jail, assess every last penny of fines accrued, and tighten up the enforcement of the Taylor Law provisions going forward. Make the jail time and the most daunting fines ($1 million for the union and $25,000 per striking worker, doubling every day of the strike) mandatory and the credibility of the government threat (and thus its bargaining position) becomes a lot stronger. The relatively tepid response to this selfish and illegal strike only served to lessen that credibility in the eyes of negotiators sitting across the MTA bargaining table in the future.
This was an incident of massive, deliberate, self-serving law-breaking that put our whole city at grave risk, and should be addressed accordingly. In addition to the billion dollars in lost corporate revenue, New York was unduly subject to additional safety burdens. An FDNY firefighter was critically injured during the strike while biking to work, when he was struck by a private company's van, chartered to shuttle its employees to and from work. A transit worker who crossed the picket line during the strike died of a heart attack shortly after returning to work and was only found when a co-worker came across her in the restroom.
Given the low temperatures during the strike, we can also likely expect reports of increased heart attacks and other cold weather-related deaths that resulted from people being newly subject to the elements for up to hours each day.
On the topic of the MTA's contract concessions, one union board member had this to say:
"These were huge items for our membership," said Marvin W. Holland, a station cleaner and board member who voted to approve the contract. "If it took a strike to get it, so be it. I think this is an overwhelming success."
Roger Toussaint's Billion Dollar Christmas Present
Back on Track
The [Unofficial] Not For Tourists Guide to NYC - Strike Edition
Strike 3 (Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $62,000)
Transit Strike Update
TWU Walks Out On New york
New Yorkers Behaving Like New Yorkers
T-Minus 1 Hour: Transit Union Walks Out
No Progress on Transit Negotiations
Bracing for Bedlam
Bloomberg Steps Up
New York's Looming Illegal Transit Strike
Handcrafted by Flip on December 28, 2005 |
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The executive board for the citys transit workers union approved a tentative new contract late [Read More]
Tracked on Dec 28, 2005 9:47:18 AM