- Transit Workers Union Local 100 is the one government employee union in NY where militancy is a possibility even though the memory of the 2005 strike might be holding them back. In the past, TWU, would have at least been threatening some kind of job action the day when their contract expired. TWU's contract with the MTA expired in May. The TWU is the sleeping union giant that just may have been awakened after the MTA's presented their latest insulting contract offer.
Transit workers are being blamed in the press for the subway system's failures. However when one digs a little deeper, usually we find managerial ineptitude is the biggest cause of this ageny's troubles.
In the recent past, TWU has used their alliance with Governor Andrew Cuomo to further their cause. That might not be enough now.
The TWU Local 100 executive board rejected the MTA's latest contract proposal unanimously (see below) on Monday. Will TWU now threaten real militancy? If the answer is no, expect Local 100 to join with most of the other public unions in NY by accepting concession after concession in exchange for minimal raises.
The full TWU motion on MTA's contract proposal.
Motion to Reject MTA's Contract Offer
The members of the Executive Board of the Transport Workers Union Local 100, representing the 40,000 workers who operate and maintain the New York City Bus and Subway system, emphatically reject the MTA’s contract offer presented on August 14, 2019.
The “offer” is wholly inadequate and insulting to the men and women who have worked tirelessly to provide
New York City its most essential public service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
It completely ignores the union’s legitimate contract proposals – presented to the MTA more than four months ago – on main table issues and Departmental concerns.
Worse, it seeks a series of unacceptable giveback demands that would turn the clock back on decades of hard fought gains.
This Board also rejects the MTA’s recent negative media campaign that shamefully paints its workers as overtime thieves and pampered no-shows. These are despicable and intentional attacks on the character of thousands of honest, hardworking men and women of TWU.
The MTA offer also purposely overlooks the remarkable job the transit workforce did in implementing the Subway Action Plan. The MTA’s top leadership recently boasted of major improvements in on-time service. This would not, and could not, have happened without Local 100 transit workers.
Furthermore, the MTA offer continues to minimize the fact that this City cannot function without our bus and subway system. Transit workers provide the incredible mobility that makes New York an economic giant and the world’s greatest center of art, culture, finances, technology and tourism.
Transit workers know that there is no down time on the job. The pressure to produce is intense. We work through snowstorms, hurricanes, power outages, freezing temperatures, and brutal heat. While the rest of the City is asleep or hunkering down during weather emergencies, our members are keeping service moving, protecting the equipment, and assisting the public.
Whether we are driving a bus, operating a train, fixing the signals and track, or maintaining the rolling stock, the lives of millions of New Yorkers – every day – literally depend on the dedication and professionalism of the transit workforce. This enormous responsibility falls squarely on our shoulders and adds to the pressures of our members’ jobs.
Transit workers are without question the most productive labor force in the City or State. But remarkably, we are also the most under-appreciated, and that disrespect disgracefully flows from the MTA itself.
Transit workers are the targets of assaults on a daily basis, both physical and verbal. The intimidation factor can be overwhelming. Recent outrageous assaults on our members are symptoms of an unacceptable situation that is only getting worse.
No other workforce in New York has to put up with this level of abuse, threats and bullying.
Then there are the many life-threatening dangers transit workers face on the job. Three transit workers were killed in horrible accidents in the system during this contract period. One worker recently lost a leg. Another lost an arm.
Hundreds more are injured in all sorts of mishaps due the hazardous conditions we face across the system on the tracks, in our depots and barns and while operating on the road.
None of these harsh realities are reflected in the MTA’s offer.
Transit workers take their jobs seriously. They know that what they do is critical to the City. They enjoy their jobs, enjoy their co-workers, and feel a part of a team, despite the criticism from on high; despite the ridiculous levels of discipline from the MTA’s management structure; despite the venom from the media, and despite all the other issues that plague the system that are born of age and social crises that transit workers did not create but have to deal with.
As such, the Local 100 Executive Board calls for the TWU Local 100 leadership to deliver this message of categorical rejection of this contract offer to MTA Chair Patrick Foye, and we call for the entire TWU Local 100 membership to stand as one with this leadership to support any and all efforts deemed necessary to achieve a fair and equitable contract.
The Local 100 membership has earned it, and deserves it.