As the MTA attempts to avoid an arbitration ruling that guaranteed TWU workers 11 percent raises over the next three years, the agency has plead poverty in its court filings. In its motion to overturn the arbitration decision, filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, the transportation authority said it does not have the money to pay its workers and adequately operate its trains at the same time.
For its legal claim, the MTA is alleging that the arbitration panel made egregious fiscal mistakes in evaluating the MTA’s ability to pay the raise. The agency has also threatened to scale back service and raise fares to maker labor ends meet. Pete Donohue has more:
In legal papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, transit officials also say the arbitration panel that crafted the contract last month made critical blunders when evaluating the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s finances.
In one instance, the panel said the MTA has a $75 million rainy-day fund, which the authority says has been drained. “The MTA simply does not have the money to pay for the ramped-up, out-of-scale unbudgeted costs…without foisting upon the public some very unpleasant choices regarding fares, service levels…and maintenance of the system,” the MTA argues.
While I haven’t yet secured the filings, The Post has more:
The suit said the raises would waste millions of dollars of a new payroll tax — 34 cents of every $100 of a business’ income — on “out-of-scale compensation increases for employees who, by all accounts, already are well paid.”
… [Arbitrator John] Zuccotti and [TWU President Roger] Toussaint both agreed the MTA can take money from its capital programs — the same budget that funds the Second Avenue Subway, the purchase of new buses and station rehabilitation — to pay the raises.
I certainly don’t agree that the MTA should be removing capital funds to cover labor costs. That represents a backwards investment in moving transit in New York City forward.
No matter the outcome though this appeal could turn labor relations toward an acrimonious stalemate. The case is set to be heard on Tuesday, and both the MTA and TWU have a lot at stake.