Simon, Samuelsen Stand Together as SMART Pushes MTA Board for Raises Along PEB Lines

JANUARY 29 -- The stage is set for an LIRR strike come spring if the MTA does not accept the recommendations of a Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), recently impaneled by President Obama to look at wages and benefits at the railroad. That was the message of SMART General Chairman Anthony Simon, who appeared today before the MTA Board of Directors in the company of TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen at the Authority's corporate headquarters on Madison Avenue. Speaking at the Board's first meeting of 2014, Simon -- representing a coalition of 70% of LIRR unionized employees -- expressed his members' anger and frustration over being told to take three zeroes and make concessions while MTA managers were getting raises through "creative" accounting practices. Just 45 minutes earlier, in the same board room, the MTA's Audit Committee was talking about what to do with a $80 million real estate "windfall." It was the same old story -- money for everything else except worker raises. The PEB panel released its recommendations last month -- a contract worth approximately 18% over six years. But the MTA is rejecting the finding. With the public seating area in the board room taken up by TWU and LIRR union members, Simon said, "I ask this Board to become actively involved to help end this dispute now." After speaking, Simon and Samuelsen talked to the press. That video will be posted on the Local 100 website.