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MTA Bus Members Ratify New Contract

NOVEMBER 24 -- Local 100 members employed by MTA Bus have ratified their new contract by an overwhelming 95 percent margin. The American Arbitration Association announced the results of the referendum at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon.

The contract covers nearly 2,200 members at MTA Bus as Bus Operators, Maintainers, Maintainer Helpers, Cleaner Helpers, Stock Workers and Assistant Stock Workers.

The wage and benefit package mirrors the gains secured in the TA/OA contract, with raises in every year, full retroactivity, and an impressive array of improved and new benefits.

The contract also brings a major breakthrough on the MTA Bus pension, which has been a massive problem for years, and is far less valuable in comparison to the public pensions covering TA and OA members.

Local 100 President John Samuelsen, who led the Negotiating team for the union, was finally able to punch through management's resistance on the pension issue.

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Political Leaders: TWU Veterans Influential in Budget Victory

Some of New York State's most prominent politicians gave credit to the Union's political action achievements in supporting veteran's legislation that has led to a tentative budget deal in Albany. For the past two year, Local 100's Veterans Committee, spearheaded by RTO VP Kevin Harrington, has pushed for legislation that would have allowed US servicemen and women -- without regard to where they served --- buy back up to three years's pension credit. Governor Cuomo vetoed the bill twice - but has now signaled his intent to include the same provisions in next year's NYS Budget. At our Veteran's Appreciation NIght, Assemblyman Peter Abbate, State Sen. Martin Golden, and Brian Maher, chief aide to Assemb. William Larkin, Jr., the prime sponsor of the Veteran's bill, lavished praise on Local 100 as staunch fighters and advocates for all veterans. The video shows the cameraderie in the room and the strong alliance we have built with the legislators.

Health Fair Draws 300

With the MTA-NYCT / TWU Local 100 Health and Wellness initiative continuing, the Union and the MTA held another Health Fair at the 207th Street shop in Upper Manhattan. Over 300 members showed up, taking advantage of the free and confidential screenings as well as the massages. 20 influenza shots were administered. Health information and counseling was also available. A nutritional/healthy cooking series will be piloted on November 19th at the TWU Union Hall at 195 Montague Street in Brooklyn. This will be followed by a series of classes conducted by our medical carriers and others starting in 2016. The 2016 schedule will be published soon. Your health is critical to your job -- take advantage of these opportunities to safeguard it. IB ImageIB ImageIB Image

MTA Board is all ears as TWU Rep Dylan Valle discusses the situation at GCS.
MTA Board is all ears as TWU Rep Dylan Valle discusses the situation at GCS.

TWU to GCS: Time's Running Out

It’s the 9th inning with two outs for the hired-gun operator of the MTA’s Access-A-Ride Call Center.

Global Contact Services has been running the call center like the owner of a garment factory in the early 1900s. In less than two years, it has fired about 1,200 workers for minor - or simply bogus - transgressions. Some have been canned for supporting the union. Others have been disciplined for reporting late to work – even though they take Access-A-Ride because they have a disability and are unable to ride the subway, which has to be one of the most surreal, ironic and cruel situations you could dream up.

That’s like a cop offering grandma a ride home, and then giving her a ticket for hitchhiking. And by the way, grandma is a crossing guard – and in a wheelchair.

There is hope, however, that this Twilight Zone saga will have a good ending. After aggressive advocacy by TWU Local 100, the MTA chairman two months ago directed NYC Transit’s top executive, the MTA inspector general and the MTA auditor general to conduct thorough analysis of the North Carolina-based company. Speaking Wednesday at the board’s November meeting, Prendergast said the review would soon be completed.

“Time is of the essence,” Prendergast said. “We have heard from the workers about the conditions under which they are working and their urgent need to have these issues resolved.” This is lightning-quick for the MTA. The bureaucracy usually moves at a pace somewhere between a dead turtle and a glacier. The second reason for hope can be found in a statement about GCS that Local 100 President John Samuelsen released to the media Wednesday.

“TWU Local 100’s Executive Board unanimously voted on Nov. 10 to authorize a strike in response to the company’s abject refusal to respect the basic rights of call center workers for more than two years,” Samuelsen said. “I met GCS’s chief executive, Greg Alcorn, last week and we started a dialogue. Based on that meeting, I believe there’s a chance to improve the deplorable working conditions and reach a contract settlement. But if the dialogue breaks off again, we will resume organizing and planning for a strike.” The Call Center workforce is overwhelmingly minority women. After slashing wages after being hired by the MTA a few years ago, GCS now pays them between $9 and $11 an hour. That’s simply not acceptable in NYC in 2015.  GCS faces the possibility of having its contact terminated by the MTA and faces a possible strike.

Ninth inning. Two outs. No room for error.

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