November 21, 2016
By Silver Krieger
New York, NY – On Tuesday, November 15th, TWU Local 100 members rallied in front of the MTA headquarters at 2 Broadway for “fair compensation,” and later in the day issued a list of demands for wage and health benefits.
The crowd, estimated by the Local to be over seven thousand strong, gathered outside the building along with politicians, including Public Advocate Letitia James, State Senator Marisol Alcantara, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and City Council members Francisco Moya and Elizabeth Crowley.
The Local used an “illuminator” to project a list of issues directly onto the façade of the building, while members blew air horns and waved signs. Local 100 President John Samuelsen was introduced to the crowd by TWU International President Harry Lombardo. Samuelsen said that transit workers need to be fairly compensated for the dangerous work they do, when injuries and assaults have been increasing, especially since the MTA is currently carrying a surplus. Secretary-Treasurer Earl Phillips also spoke, and documented the fatal accidents to transit workers in the last ten years.
After the rally, Samuelsen and top Local 100 leadership submitted formal bargaining demands to the MTA Director of Labor Relations Anita Miller. The current contract expires January 17th, 2017. The list specified the demands as follows: Wages – Substantial wage increase – continue raises above rate of inflation, Eliminate health benefits deduction, Increase DIF, Increase longevity pay, Cash out all unused sick leave – when resigning, retiring, or dismissed, COLA for active and retirees, 10% night differential, Improve Workers Comp benefits and procedures, Workers Comp pay in first pay period, when not contested, MTA to match 401(k) and 403(b) at 20%, $20 meal allowance, Increase equity fund payment to maintainer titles to $960. Health benefits and health – Improve health benefits – including optical and dental for retirees, hearing aids, Lifetime medical coverage for spouse if death before retirement, Raise Medicare Part B to national coverage, 3D Mammograms covered (Women’s Table), Improve High option, Facilities for those who are nursing to express milk, Increase time and coverage for cancer and wellness screenings, Improve air quality in TA facilities, Eliminate diesel powered equipment in shops and stations, Healthcare upon hiring, Braces for adults, No placement on FMLA while on comp, More restricted duty jobs, Health club membership, Back support as PPE.
These demands are local-wide. There are additional Departmental demands submitted by each of the seven Departments within TWU Local 100, specific to Departmental concerns.