Janet Babin, Economic Development Reporter, WNYC News
Janet Babin is a reporter at WNYC covering economic development.
Talks broke down today between New York's Transport Workers Local Union 100 and New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Members of The Transport Workers Union 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-thousand 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...and that's an outrage, “ said Samuelsen.
Details about the MTA offer surfaced in the New York Daily News Thursday. The union's contract expired Sunday. But the two sides have continued to negotiate. The union held a rally at the beginning of talks last month but this is its first public demonstration of anger at the authority.
Sticking points in the contract include increased healthcare costs and the amount of wage increases. The News said the MTA had offered the union a five year contract,with a 1%-percent increase for the first three years, and 2%-percent increase in the subsequent two years. But the union wants a three-year contract. It also wants wage that keeps up with inflation. The MTA has said that any increases in union wages should be revenue neutral.
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, a spokesman for the MTA said only, “it does not negotiate in the press.”