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.