Contract Bargaining Training Held as Union Gets Ready for the Big Fight

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Dozens of officers participated in three days of contract negotiation training to prepare for the looming battle with the MTA.

The program featured expert instruction on topics such as the legal parameters of public sector bargaining, preparing for negotiations, membership engagement, developing proposals and using leverage to achieve goals. Officers also broke into labor and management teams to conduct mock negotiating sessions. Veterans sat shoulder-to-shoulder with younger up-and-coming officers, passing along knowledge gained from decades of experience and sharing ideas.

In addition, directors of Local 100 departments - Organizing, Member Services, Grievance and Discipline, Political Action, Safety, and Communications - gave presentations on department activities, data, goals, and strategies that could be deployed during different stages of the contract campaign.

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“We’re about to enter one of the most difficult contract negotiations of all time,” Local 100 President Richard Davis said. “The MTA says it has unprecedented budget deficits and is warning of doomsday scenarios with service cuts and steep fare hikes. City Hall has ordered up three rounds of budget cuts already. Some big private companies are laying off thousands of workers. We’re going to have to fight like hell and must be prepared. That’s what these last three days have been all about, getting prepared.”

A new Rapid Response Organizing Committee will start going to work locations next week to begin one-on-one discussions with members to hear about their issues and concerns.

The training was conducted over three days ending Friday, Jan. 13. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, one of the most powerful politicians in the state, came to meet with President Davis and share a few words with the officers participating in the training. It turned into a mini-pep rally with the Speaker leading a chant of “Union!”

“You are here to be trained,” she said. “You’re here to understand how this is supposed to work. And the reality is, it is going to work, because you have in your hearts and minds the best interest of the people you represent, period. If you come with that attitude, it will work, understanding that you set the tone. You set the bar for how labor rolls.”

Also coming by to support the Union were NY State Senator Shelley Mayer (D-Yonkers) and Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

The Local 100 contract with the MTA expires May 16.