The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has basically rejected the findings of two non-binding Presidential Emergency Boards that called for 17% raises over 6 years for Long Island Railroad workers. This has set the stage for a possible LIRR strike on Sunday.
The MTA, it seems, would more than likely accept these terms if the workers would agree to force employees not yet hired (the unborn) to agree to an inferior pension tier as well as higher costs for healthcare. Most new government employees in NYS have already been forced to settle for diminished retirement benefits (Tier VI).
My guess is the MTA is counting on workers not going on strike to protect yet to be hired union members. Management probably believes union members will sell out the unborn. However, if two sets of arbitrators appointed by the President agree to one set of numbers and the union doesn't get that money, then the union has essentially lost so they will rally members over that issue.
As for comparisons with what city teachers just settled for, clearly 17% over 6 years on the table for LIRR workers is substantially better than 18% over 9 years that the UFT agreed to in May. In addition, teachers already have the Tier 6 concession and the evaluation system givebacks so our contract terms are much worse than what arbitrators proposed for the LIRR employees.
I know, I know LIRR workers aren't covered under the Taylor Law that bans most strikes in NYS by government employees. We would suffer draconian penalties if we engaged in a job action. All the more reason why we should be fighting strongly to restore our basic human right to strike.
UPDATE THURSDAY: Strike Averted
It looks like the LIRR workers will get 17% over 6.5 years but they will have to make healthcare contributions and there is a lower pay scales for the yet to be hired. We will look at the specific details before we give a full analysis
Question: Are the LIRR workers going to have to wait until 2020 to get their back pay that goes back to 2010? I didn't think so.
If we "gain" the right to strike then the Triborough Amendment would also have to cease. This means that we would be forced to change our contract right before it expires. This is NOT a good thing when working under a crappy mayor. Taylor Law and Triborough Law go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other.
I think the LIRR workers still have the old contract in effect without Triborough. And they can still strike. We need to get rid of the Taylor law two for one penalties for striking which are a human rights violation according to a UN Commission. The rest of the process called for in the Taylor law kind of makes some sense. However if after fact finding there is no resolution, we have a human right to strike.
LIRR contract expired in 2010. They have been without one since. In the federal law, the presidential commission can make recommendations that either side can reject. The union accepted them and management said no. Teachers have a similar provision in state law called fact finding. However, after fact finding the process just ends for us. LIRR workers can then legally strike. That is fair and that is what I am calling for. Not a radical position at all.
I have to say, I find it astonishing that a conductor makes just as much money as a teacher. And there have been problems with their workers that didn't result in Rubber Rooms. That said, this agreement seems to be on par with what the Authority wanted so I am confused about the acceptance.
What I do admire is a union leader who "supposedly" fought not to eat their young, but now are eating their young. But if you can still find a job that pays this well without a college degree with a Masters, take it!! No Danielson, No Common Core, No VAM and you don't bring your work home. I am sure in a few years the work of a conductor will be taken over by corporate vendors who will use computers for this work.
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