Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, April 18, 2014

MTA/TWU Contract Agreement May "Set The Floor" For Other Contract Negotiations In City And State

First, some of the details of the contract:

Under the MTA pact, members of the TWU Local 100 would receive retroactive pay increases of 1% for each of the past two years and 2% increases in each of the following three years. The deal would also give the union employees paid maternity and paternity leave, as well as increased optical and dental benefits.

In a concession to the MTA, the employees would contribute 2% of their salaries for health-care benefits, up from 1.5%. 

A person familiar with the matter said that in another concession by the union, new hires wouldn't receive full pay rates until they worked five years. 

And the effect this contract agreement may have on other municipal and state contract negotiations:

The TWU's labor deal could have implications for other bargaining units within the MTA, and potentially set a pattern for a union of Long Island Rail Road employees who have been locked in their own labor battle with the agency.

New York City is also facing difficult negotiations with its some 350,000 workers who are also seeking back pay. The city says 152 of its collective bargaining units are without contracts, with the oldest expired as long as five years ago.

Rebecca Givan, assistant professor of labor studies at Rutgers University, said the Transport Workers agreement could set a benchmark for other labor groups. "It sets a floor for the municipal unions," she said. "None of the municipal unions will now want to take anything less than this."

Harry Nespoli, head of the city's sanitation union and the Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella group of city unions, said he believes the retroactive pay increases in the MTA deal "definitely helps" the city unions in their negotiations with the de Blasio administration.

"Retroactive [pay] is very important to any of the unions that have been waiting for their contract," said Mr. Nespoli, whose union is without a contract for 2½ years.

As for concessions from the municipal unions, this contract agreement may set the floor for that too - the TWU agreed to health care concessions as part of the deal, something de Blasio wants from municipal unions:

Mr. Nespoli said he expected other unions that have outstanding contracts going further back than his union, notably the teachers union, will be settled before Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration moves to his union and others in a similar situation.

The mayor and top aides have said that the city is seeking concessions on health care, but Mr. Nespoli said he doesn't expect much progress there unless the city moves away from its position of no raises. Still, he said, the de Blasio administration deserves credit for engaging with the city unions.

"At least this administration is listening and is sitting down and talking to us and trying to get to some sort of settlement," Mr. Nespoli said. "And I hope we can get the settlement quicker than later."

One thing I'll say in this post regarding the UFT negotiations - I am completely against any health care concessions that has employees paying any of their health care.

Once that line is breached, every contract we'll be conceding more and more to health care costs.

You can see how that happened in this contract - from 1.5% for health care costs to 2%.

It goes up every contract, eating away whatever future raises you get.

I would rather take a zero on a year of retro than agree to pay any health care costs because in the long run, the 1% you get for a year of retro will be far outweighed by the money they take for health care costs that will just go up and up and up...

Best to keep the line on health care concessions for as long as you can, because once that line is breached, it never stops.


  1. UFT contract should NOT be based on the MTA contract as our contract expired way longer than any other NYC contract and thus should be based on the "pattern" that existed at the time it expired which is 4% plus 4%. That is what all the other municipal unions got back prior to 2009 and we deserve that as well.

    1. By "based," I think it means the 2011 years going forward, not the 2009/2010 years under the old pattern.

  2. In terms of money, I think 4/4 for 2009/2010 and then 1/1/2/2/2 would actually be a decent deal, especially if we could get backpay for 09/10. However, that should be the minmum we ask for and only if there are no major concessions particularly with regards to health care costs. As you said, an extra 1% raise is not worth paying 1% of health care costs for life...which eventually becomes 2% and 5% and 10%...

  3. I believe healthcare is an MLC issue. This is what the UFT contract says in Article 3G1: "The parties acknowledge that collective bargaining regarding health benefits is within the purview of the Municipal Labor Committee and the City. Cost-containment initiatives and program modifications in the City Health Benefits Program shall be discussed with the Municipal Labor Committee."

    1. Yes, and wasn't that a change to the contract language in the '07 contract extension to the odious '05 contract agreement, James?

      If I remember correctly, there was some conjecture at the time that this change in language could open us to paying for our health care without actually having a vote on the matter.

  4. I just looked at some of the stuff Jeff Kaufman and I wrote at the time. It is scary how things have continued to deteriorate and how so many of our predictions were accurate. We have only come up short in not being able to convince more UFT members to collectively fight back as a union.