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MTA-Union Talks Suspended

Thursday, January 19, 2012

TWU Local 100 president John Samuelsen chats with MTA executive director Joe Lhota before the start of contract talks at the Sheraton Hotel. (Jim O'Grady/WNYC)

Talks broke down Thursday between Transport Workers Local Union 100 and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Members of TWU gathered in the lobby of New York City Transit headquarters in Lower Manhattan and accused the authority of bargaining in the media, instead of at the negotiation table.

Local 100 President John Samuelsen said the city’s 34,000 transit workers found out about the MTA’s contract proposals before union brass did.

“You had bus operators, track workers, signal maintainers, reading the newspaper today, with a better grasp of what the MTA was going to do with the negotiation committee of the union and the leadership of the union,” Samuelsen said, “and that's an outrage.”

The union's contract expired on Sunday, but the two sides have continued to negotiate. Details about the MTA offer surfaced in the Daily News Thursday.

The union held a rally at the beginning of talks last month, but this is its first public demonstration of anger at the MTA.

Sticking points in the contract include healthcare and wage increases.

The media report said the MTA had offered the Union a five year contract, 1 percent wage increase for the first three years, and 2 percent after that. But the Union wants a wage that keeps up with inflation.

Even though Samuelsen cancelled talks, he said the union was willing to return to the negotiating table. “No new talks are scheduled,” said Samuelsen.

The TWU went on strike for nearly three days in 2005, crippling New York's transit system. In response to the Union’s actions, the MTA said only, “it does not negotiate in the press.”

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