Thursday, April 17, 2014


TWU Local 100 (city transit workers) has reached a deal with the MTA.

According to Capital New York, the settlement includes "five years of annual wage increases, including 1 percent in the first two years, and 2 percent in each of the final three years, paid maternity and paternity leave, improved optical and dental benefits, and, noted union president John Samuelson, pointedly, 'no zeros.'"

It is difficult to understand why TWU would settle for this package for city transit workers when a federal commission recommended that Long Island Railroad unions get almost twice as much (17%) over a six year period and LIRR unions are threatening a strike for July.

Update at 9:55 pm
I just read a Newsday piece on the TWU settlement and this quote helps me to understand it a little better: "A TWU source noted that, while the total raises may be smaller, the LIRR unions could argue that the TWU deal is comparable with what they are seeking because the railroad unions have gone longer without a contract. LIRR unions haven't had a contract since 2010. In 2010 and 2011, TWU workers got raises totaling 7 percent."

How this settlement will impact on city workers, including UFT members, is an open question as the MTA is a state agency, not a part of city government. For city unions the news of this agreement looks to be somewhat positive as the precedent of three years of no raises set by state civil service unions, that the city wanted us to swallow, has now been broken albeit with rather small increases.

That should help city workers a little in our bargaining and UFT members in particular.  Remember, we are behind a round compared to most other city unions. The pattern for the previous round is 4%+4% increases. There is no city pattern for the current round.


reality-based educator said...

I agree that TWU 100 could have gotten better, especially considering the leverage they have over Cuomo in an election year and the fed panel recommending 17% for the LIRR union.

That said, this contract shows how desperate Cuomo was to avoid labor strife this re-election year, especially the kind that leads to strike threats for subways or rail.

It also shows, as you note, that full retro is possible, as are raises every year of a contract.

Finally, any argument that the CSEA pattern holds for the city negotiations, a dubious argument beforehand though one that was pushed by Cuomo, is dead with this TWU 100 deal.

Anonymous said...

From a track worker:

Vote down Samuelsen's divide-and-conquer contract! He proposes 1% for two years (with retro), then 2, 2 & 2 for a five-year contract. He proposes our healthcare deduction go up to 2% (from 1.5%). And worse, he proposes to sell-out new hires, making them work for fives years to reach top pay and vacation time.

At a time when virtually all city and transit unions are working without a contract and should be presenting a united front in demanding retroactive pay raises the protect us from the rising cost of living, President Samuelsen wants us to break ranks with our brothers and sisters and agree to a deal that will leave them hanging out to dry and leave us with a real cut in wages, higher healthcare costs and more divided than ever with worse conditions for new hires. This deal sets a terrible precedent for other unions: for example, the government mediation panel for LIRR recommended awarding 2.8% yearly raises for workers there and this deal will put more pressure on them to accept less.

* Strangled by inflation, the real value of our wages will fall in every year of the proposed contract. Samuelsen promised cost of living raises--where does he eat that prices only went up 1%? And then there's rent...
* 2% from every check on healthcare. They've already used that the first concession of 1.5% to force it on LIRR workers. Accepting an even higher fee sets a precedent for it to get higher and higher every contract and then do the same to other workers.
* A TWU staffer talking to the NY Times said Cuomo would accept this deal to avoid a LIRR strike. Since their mediation panel recommended about 2.8% a year for them, this deal puts pressure on the LIRR workers to accept a worse settlement!
* What about the other public workers without contracts? What message does it send to them? Yeah, you can get retro...if you ask for 1%. Also it says: don't look to us to lead a united fight, we're talking a little here by selling out new hires.
* New hires. This alone would be enough reason to vote it down. We won what we have through years of struggle and giving it up without a fight should be enough to shame any union official into resigning. Worse, it was Samuelsen's idea! "An injury to one is"...not an injury to Samuelsen, but it weakens our struggle.
* A five year contract? If a union leader can't lead a struggle with a boss, it makes sense to extend the contract length, but for those of us working that are compelled to fight to preserve our living standards, lengthening the contract weakens our chances for a re-invigorated battle.

Anonymous said...

Why would the UFT even consider basing contract negotiation pay on what the MTA got? The UFT contract expired back in 2009 and we should get the pattern bargaining pay increase of 4% plus 4% that all the other NYC unions got at the time. Is this not something that PERB should be hashing out right now? The fact is that the UFT contract expired longer than any other union in NYC so the details of our pay increase must look different than most other unions. Any info on this fact would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

From the post: Remember, we are behind a round compared to most other city unions. The pattern for the previous round is 4%+4% increases. There is no city pattern for the current round.

This would seem to cover both of our rounds if it is a pattern.

Unitymustgo! said...

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but all this smells of an intentional sell out by TWU leaders to help Cuomo and Deblasio. As I usually say I can hear UFT leadership claiming it's the best they could do given the deal the TWU got as they set the city pattern with some shitty deal. This gives them something to point to as the reason for their lousy negotiation skills. G-d I hope I'm wrong and we are pleasently surprised, but you know the old saying about how history repeats itself, and oh how the UFT repeats itself with crappy agreement after crappy agreement.

Anonymous said...

And then Unity gets reelected.

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew and his Unity slugs will betray us all over again. Vomit!

Anonymous said...

The last commenter has confidence in our union. Nice to see.

Anonymous said...

Confidence, and respect, have to be earned. They should not be granted to a person simply as a consequence of his or her title. The hallmark of any good leader, particularly that of an organization whose sole purpose is to support and defend the economic, professional, and contractual well-being of its membership, is the respect earned from its membership. The UFT is supported entirely from the pocketbooks of its membership. It is not supported by charitable contributions given at the sole discretion of the contributor. Said support is collected in a timely fashion 24 times per year without fail. There is no chance of default of payment. There is no lapse in collection. Said funds are always available for which to conduct the business of the benefit of the membership and only the membership. It is my understanding that no refunds for lousy service have ever been made to an underserved member. The membership continues, for the most part, to offer its confidence and respect, at least in monetary terms, to the UFT. Hence, it is not unreasonable for the membership to expect Mulgrew and the entire UFT leadership to show a modicum of reciprocity and fulfill their contractual obligations to the long-suffering, much maligned and systemically abused educators in the City of New York. If most UFT members were asked if they are better off today than they were four years ago the overwhelming response would be no. While much of the dissatisfaction stems directly from the policies and actions of the former tyrant mayor, the UFT just rolled over and played dead and hence is complicit. It is shameful, disrepectful, neglectful and irresponsible conduct in anyone's measure. Words of wisdom from a long-suffering HS colleague to the K-8 teachers who are next in line for dismissals and UFT abandonment from Winston Churchill: He who appeases the crocodile is simply eaten last.

Anonymous said...

Not if the crocodile has vacated the swamp.