Arbitrators Agree: MTA Can Pay
3,000 members of Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 726 (Staten Island) and 1056 (Queens) are getting the same 3-year deal that TWU Local 100 won in arbitration. Just like the MTA did with Local 100, it tried to twist the ATU’s arms to get them to make concessions before the arbitrator ruled. But ATU leaders toughed it out and did not agree to what the MTA was demanding – two zeros at the end of a five-year deal along with concessions on overtime.
On the issue of the MTA’s ability to pay, the tri-partite panel came down on the side of the unions. The panel sharply disagreed with the MTA’s cupboard-is-bare argument, asserting that the Authority could tap reserves, money slated for capital construction projects, and get savings from low interest rates through debt refinancing. Funny, these are just the points that TWU Local 100 has been making in our ongoing negotiations.
Now that the arbitrators have spoken (the vote was 2-1, with the Union and management on opposite sides, with the impartial third party, George Nicolau, casting the deciding vote), attention turns to the next step: negotiating a fair wage and benefits package for this contract round. Read the arbitrators' decision here.