Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cuomo May Break CSEA Contract Pattern For MTA, Has Implications For City Contract Negotiations

James Eterno at ICEUFT posted this morning that in its municipal contract negotiations the city is offering the pattern first set by Governor Cuomo and CSEA back in 2010 - a five year contract with 0% for the first three years, 2% in the fourth year and 2% in the fifth year.

Cuomo said publicly that the CSEA pattern set the pattern for municipal contracts as well as state contracts, although in the past these two patterns had been different.

But this morning the NY Times reports that Cuomo is on the verge of breaking the CSEA/PEF pattern to avoid an election-year transit strike at the MTA and LIRR:

More than two years after its contract expired, the union representing New York City’s subway and bus workers is involved in intense negotiations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and appears on the cusp of reaching a new contract, union and government officials said Wednesday.

The officials said the union, Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, was likely to receive a sizable raise as part of a lengthy contract for 34,000 transit workers as the authority appears to have moved away from its earlier demands for a three-year wage freeze.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials had been insisting that unions at NYC Transit and the Long Island Rail Road accept the same three-year pay freeze that the main state employee unions had accepted, although labor leaders predicted that the demand would lead to a strike by railroad workers in July.

Vincent Pitta, a lawyer for the Transport Workers Union, said the anticipated deal for the union — by establishing a new, more generous pattern — could help avoid a railroad strike. Such a strike would affect 300,000 daily commuters and could hurt Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo when he is running for re-election.

“Frankly, it’s an election year,” Mr. Pitta said. “I don’t think any governor would want a strike on the Long Island Rail Road in an election year.”

Does de Blasio still get to claim the CSEA pattern if the TWU 100 gets a more generous pattern from the state?

Let's just say it changes things

Government officials are debating how a deal between the Transport Workers Union and the authority could affect the city’s own municipal labor talks. Governor Cuomo had been urging city officials to adhere to the three-year freeze pattern that he had won from the state’s unions, but the city’s unions were bridling at such a demand.

But if the Transport Workers win a contract that does not include such a pay freeze, that would mean there would be less pressure on Mayor Bill de Blasio to win a wage freeze.

At the same time, if the transit workers receive a contract that contains substantial raises, that could increase pressure on Mr. de Blasio to award sizable raises, when the city already says it cannot afford the billions of dollars in retroactive raises that the city’s municipal unions are seeking.

TWU 100 has Cuomo over a barrel and they ought to press their demands home.

He doesn't want a strike right before an election, particularly since the MTA doesn't have a leg to stand on by demanding the three year wage freeze after arbitrators returned a suggested deal that contained 17 percent wage hikes and no freeze.

And if TWU 100 gets a more generous pattern, then that breaks the CSEA/PEF pattern and neither Cuomo nor de Blasio can claim city unions have to take the three year wage freeze in a five year contract.

I would argue in any case that the CSEA contract doesn't set the pattern for city contracts, but if Cuomo steps in and forces the MTA to give TWU 100 anything other than a three year wage freeze and 4% over the last two years of a five year contract, the argument that the CSEA pattern stands for city contracts is dead.


  1. There is such a simple solution to so many problems: Take away tax loopholes for the 1% and corporate. They're riding on our backs now.

    1. But we wouldn't want to make the One Percenters so sad that they all head off to Galt Gulch and leave we parasites left to fend for ourselves, would we?