Features, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York, topslot, Transportation

TWU Local 100 to MTA: Stop Blaming Workers for Your Failures

September 2, 2019

By Tony Utano

TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano.

I’m furious. The other elected officers at Transport Workers Union Local 100 are furious. Most importantly, the 40,000 bus and subway workers who move New York are furious. 

Mismanagement at the MTA has been rampant for a long time, including the years MTA Chairman Pat Foye has spent at the highest level of the organization. 

But Foye outrageously wants riders to believe that transit workers – not executives like him – are to blame for the budget gaps the agency itself is now predicting. And he wants to close those gaps by imposing a series of punishing and offensive contract demands, including a partial wage freeze, on the workforce.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 is united against the MTA’s attempt to shift blame away from where it belongs – at MTA headquarters at 2 Broadway where executives like Foye have cushy corner offices with views of the Statue of Liberty. That’s where boondoggles are born.

Transit workers do the jobs they are assigned. They aren’t in the boardroom making decisions. 

They don’t draft financial plans, design construction projects, set work schedules or decide what equipment to buy. 

Transit workers don’t have a say when the MTA is approving deals and throwing incredible amounts of money to unaccountable consultants – a whopping $2.5 billion just in the last five years. 

Under the MTA’s contract offer, the first pay-rate increase would not be retroactive to when the last contract expired in mid-May. Any raise would go into effect 60 days after workers ratified the new contract. That’s a pay freeze. That’s unacceptable.

It’s particularly offensive because the MTA has dragged its heels during these negotiations. Local 100’s officers presented our demands to the MTA in April.  Foye didn’t bother producing the authority’s demands until late August.

In the insulting package, the MTA also is attacking workers’ healthcare, attempting to convert full-time jobs to part-time positions, pushing to give more work to expensive outside contractors and seeking the ability to unilaterally change work rules.

If the MTA’s goal was to enrage every transit worker in New York City, then they have succeeded. 

Transit workers have worked too hard to improve service – and this union has worked too hard to establish a decent standard of living for our members – to now go backwards. 

We want a fair contract that recognizes our critical role in moving New York and the enormous responsibility that comes with being a transit worker. Whether we are fixing the track or signals, operating the trains or buses, or maintaining the rolling stock that carries riders to their destinations, the lives of millions of people are literally in our hands every day. 

September 2, 2019

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