NYC Transit workers union rejects MTA’s latest contract offer as a step ‘backwards’
Leaders of the union representing the bulk of MTA bus and subway workers on Monday labeled “insulting” the agency’s latest contract offer.
The executive board for Transport Workers Union Local 100, which represents 40,000 New York City Transit workers, unanimously shot down the offer, which would have changed the way the Metropolitan Transportation Authority pays overtime.
“If the MTA’s goal was to enrage every transit worker in the city then they’ve done it,” said Local 100 president Tony Utano. “Transit workers have worked too hard to improve service... to now go backwards.”
The two sides have been without a contract since May 15.
The crux of the union’s gripes with the offer revolved around stingy work rules, which an MTA consultant said last week were partly to blame for the agency’s ballooning overtime costs.
The offer would have required workers to work more than 40 hours in a given work week to receive overtime. Workers now get overtime whenever they work more than eight hours in a day.
MTA data shows that its workers on average missed 54 days of work last year. Under the agency’s offer, if the average worker availability does not increase by three days by the end of 2020, then MTA managers would be given the authority to alter elements of the contract as they see fit.
MTA officials believe that low worker availability and high overtime costs have contributed to a major deficit at the agency, which is expected to surpass $1 billion by the end of 2020.
Local 100 officials declined to comment on whether they expect to strike.
MTA Chairman Pat Foye said at a press conference last week that he doesn’t think a strike is on the horizon. “There’s the Taylor Law, obviously,” he said, referencing a state statute that makes it illegal for union officials to stop work.
The Taylor Law did not keep Local 100 from a 2005 strike that shut down New York City’s transit systems for two days during the holiday season.