February 29, 2012
By Ray Parker, Staff Reporter
Fifty demonstrators from Local 100 and Occupy Wall Street packed the MTA’s public seating to capacity at the Authority’s monthly board meeting on February 29th. A dozen speakers brought Board Members’ attention to the fact that the MTA is choosing not to tap a reserve fund known as GASB-45, which has $490 million in surplus funds. Making the case that revenue exists to restore service and the fund the contract is now TWU Local 100’s central focus as negotiations move past the 45-day mark.
Testifying about the pain caused by their unemployment were three laid-off Station Agents who are waiting to return to work. Some referred to the recent death of laid-off Station Agent Paramjeet Singh Khurana, who died on a subway train earlier this month, saying that the stress of being laid off may have been to blame. TWU Stations Department Vice President Maurice Jenkins scored the MTA for leaving stations abandoned so that safety declined and fare evasion skyrocketed. Executive Board Member Paul Piazza told the Board that MTA negotiators had turned a completely deaf ear to the Union’s money-saving ideas presented in departmental negotiations. And Division Chair Derrick Echevarria said that what the MTA really needs is workers on its board, to bring some reality to the proceedings.
An Occupy Wall Street spokesman used the “Peoples’ Mic” to call attention to the fact that activists with that organization are in solidarity with TWU Local 100’s membership and their contract fight. Watch that video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67V6sbvFr8w&;feature=player_embedded