Home Asides Appellate Court sides with TWU in raise dispute

Appellate Court sides with TWU in raise dispute

by Benjamin Kabak

The MTA’s three-year battle to get arbitration-awarded raises for its unionized workers overturned may finally be at an end. As Pete Donohue reported yesterday, a panel of judges with the Appellate Division sided with the TWU in the MTA’s attempts to get the 2011 wage increases overturned. While it attempted to plead poverty, the authority will have to hike up wages three percent and reduce workers’ health care contributions as well.

TWU leaders celebrated the ruling. “This is a huge victory,” John Samuelsen, president of Local 100, said. “The MTA wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money on legal fees pursuing a case they couldn’t win.” Of course, had the MTA won, they would have saved millions of dollars in taxpayer money, but they did face an uphill battle.

Ultimately, it’s tough to say for whom exactly this is a “huge victory.” The MTA has vowed to keep labor expenses steady over the next two years. So if wages are going to go up, the workforce will have to be reduced or the riding public will have to pay more. Meanwhile, you can bet that, when contract negotiations start up again later this year, Jay Walder and Tom Prendergast will not repeat the mistakes of Lee Sander and Howard Roberts: No more arbitration efforts. The MTA simply can’t afford.

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6 comments

samsam December 16, 2010 - 12:29 pm

TWU = cancer

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Pete December 16, 2010 - 2:00 pm

The reductions you talked about in the article are all one sided against the TWU. So you have 450 station agents and 100 station cleaners laid off and the TA is now hiring 11 General Superintendents for station maintenance at $115,000 per year plus benefits on top of the 3 General Superintendents there already as well as the other layers on top of that in Stations Depts. In the Woodside Central Electronics Shop you lay off a secretary and 2 cleaners and hire your 18th Superintendent for a 200 person 2 shift electronics benchwork shop. Is that the cost savings that Walder is talking about?

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Al D December 16, 2010 - 4:08 pm

It’s interesting to hear an insiders version of things. I have heard about keeping on $100k plus wastes of time at MTAHQ and the BSC when in fact these people should be let go, adn the consolidation was the perfect opportunity to do so.

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Andrew December 16, 2010 - 8:39 pm

That depends on what functions they serve. Station agents don’t serve much of a function anymore; there is certainly no need for multiple 24/7 agents at most stations. Station maintenance is an important task, and if those 11 new General Superintendents manage to get it done better or more efficiently, they can easily be worth $115,00 apiece.

There’s nothing wrong with spending money in order to achieve something. The reason 450 station agents were laid off isn’t that they cost money; it’s that they cost money and are no longer needed in a MetroCard world. Perhaps if the union hadn’t resisted attempts to make them more useful, some of the 450 would still be employed.

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Pete December 17, 2010 - 9:11 am

Most of the people that are being interviewed for the General Superintendents are already station managers that are in charge of these things at various lines right now and most started as clerks and cleaners. So how would it change except adding another layer of supervision that has no idea how to do station maintenance. They don’t seem to be interested in interviewing the real supervisors who have applied from the skilled trades areas that actually know how to do station maintenance. Also of the 18 superintendents and directors at the Woodside Central Electronics Shop only 6 have any electronic background the rest were brought in from outside with no electronics background in the make jobs for friends program that has been going on in EMD for the last 10 years. We’re still waiting for the IG’s report on that.

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Nathanael December 24, 2010 - 8:06 am

OK, so you cite 12 cases of featherbedding promoted by management. Against the 450 cases of featherbedding promoted by the TWU….

Seriously, still doesn’t make the NYC local of the TWU look good.

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