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Queens Chronicle

MTA, largest union strike 5-year deal

Raises total 8.25%; TWU rank and file, transit board are expected to approve

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Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014 10:57 am | Updated: 10:57 am, Thu May 1, 2014.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has reached a tentative agreement that is expected to end a two-year contract impasse with the union representing about 34,000 mass transit workers.

Under the five-year deal announced last week by Gov. Cuomo, members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 would receive raises of 1, 1, 2, 2 and 2 percent per year, retroactive to Jan. 16, 2012, when the TWU’s last contract expired.

The TWU represents almost all the workers who operate, maintain and repair the city’s subways and mass transit buses; subway booth clerks, and maintenance workers for tracks, elevators and escalators.

The TWU said the contract will mean a cumulative 8.25 percent increase, or a raise of about $6,000 for the average worker over the life of the contract.

Union spokesman Jim Gannon told the Chronicle that ballots will be sent out to workers either this coming week or the week after, and that the collection and counting process should be complete in about one month.

It also must be approved by the full board of the MTA.

A statement from Local 100’s executive board on the union’s website —

twulocal100.org, — “strongly recommends” approval by the rank and file.

In a joint statement issued by Cuomo’s office, the governor, MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast and TWU President John Samuelsen praised the agreement.

Cuomo called the deal fair to transit workers and fiscally responsible for the MTA, as it will not result in a fare increase.

“The transit system is the lifeblood of New York City, and the MTA employees are the ones who make the system work,” Cuomo said.

He cited as one example the workers’ performance during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when “they got the system up and running in record time.”

Samuelsen said the contract offers “historic “gains in paid maternity and paternity leave, as well as important improvements in benefits such as healthcare, dental coverage and eye care coverage.

“The MTA is a vital part of this city, and I am pleased to present a contract to the membership that recognizes their hard work, dedication and service,” he said.

Over more than a year the MTA had said its budget projections in outgoing years were based on zero percent wage increases for the more than 60 unions that represent its employees. Samuelsen, who all along had called zero increases unacceptable, only last week had petitioned Cuomo to get involved to break the stalemate.

Prendergast praised the governor’s input.

“Once again over the course of Gov. Cuomo’s three years in office, he has provided timely support to the MTA, this time helping  to finalize a fair and responsible contract, just as he has given us consistent increases in [our] operating budget,” Prendergast said. “The MTA’s finances are always our foremost concern, and this contract is a responsible one that acknowledges  and reflects the MTA’s budget and projected budgets.”

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