Labor Deal for Bus and Subway Workers

Officials Say Wages Will Go Up, But Not Fares.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 06:49 PM

TWU workers march for a new contract in 2012. (Jim O'Grady/WNYC)

After two years of occasionally rancorous negotiations, the MTA and the union representing 34,000 transit workers have announced a tentative deal to give the rank-and-file 2 percent raises in each of the next three years. That's on top of a retroactive 1 percent raise that covers the last two years.

The contract also provides for what John Samuelsen, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, described as "historic paid maternity and paternity leave, as well as important improvements to our membership’s health-care, dental, and eye benefit package."

The authority agreed to the raises without work rule concessions from the union, even though MTA chairman Tom Prendergast, along with previous chairmen, had insisted on negotiated productivity gains to offset any raises. But even without such concessions, all sides said the agency could pay for the settlement without an additional fare increase above the 4 percent hike planned for next year.

"The resolution of this contract dispute is fair to transit workers, fiscally responsible for the MTA, and will have no impact on fares," said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who entered negotiations toward the end to help nail down the contract.

The deal gives Cuomo, who has had a rocky relationship with state workers' unions, a measure of labor peace heading into his re-election campaign.

MTA officials said the wage increases "will be accommodated within revisions to the MTA financial plan," but wouldn't say how much it would cost. The union's executive board, and members, still need to ratify the agreement. So does the MTA board.

In an email, Gene Russianoff of The Straphangers Campaign voiced cautious praise for the deal, beginning with approval of no additional fare hike. "The MTA had earlier raised the possibility of a much higher fare increase, one at double the rate of inflation," he said. "In the wake of widespread public outrage, the MTA pledged no more than a 4 percent increase — and possibly even less if the agency's finances continued to improve."

"The devil is always in the details," Russianoff said. "Like many others, we reserve final judgment until we study the management-labor contract."


David L. Lewis


Comments [4]

Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

I could never understand how some of you are so apathetic to the transit employees, and all you care about are how much your fares would be going. First of all, it was said that the raises would NOT affect the base fare in any way or form. Even if there are to be fare hikes, they are still peanuts compared to just about everything else that is increasing, and much of that isn't in quarters. Until your fares surpass what tolls are, which is where the MTA makes the bulk of their revenue, you have nothing to complain about. Again, take their jobs if you claim you can do their jobs better for less rather than just ramble about it on a message board. That might not be a bad idea, because maybe then you will all understand why they work so hard and make many of the sacrifices most of you will never make in your lives in seeing why they are asking for a raise, and that's mainly to keep up with everything else.

Apr. 18 2014 01:38 PM
Joseph P. Wall from Bronx

I still don!t trust Tom Prendergast and the rest of the M.T.A board in general. Until this pact is all signed, sealed, and delivered by everybody including the rank and file in the Transport Workers Union Local 100, Nothing has changed or is about to change. There still is a threat out there as far as I know of a 12% fare increase and, in my opinion, if the transit fare goes up by as much as one penny, expect mass fare evasion by the riding subway and bus public and even a mass riot or two in the buses and subways. The riding subway and bus public is now barely paying the transit fares as they are now even though ridership levels are up now never mind the new contract. I see people sneaking in the rear doors of a bus every time I ride the bus. Maybe, hopefully, there might be a major lawsuit down the road by somebody in the riding public that might hold everything up. So, we shall all see what happens in this regard.

Apr. 18 2014 09:59 AM

There are literally 100,000 NYC citizens wishing they could have these high paid jobs, basically because the pay is way above market rates. Civil servants working for the government should make less than the average worker in the city, meaning they are more than 40% overpaid when taking into consideration their benefits.

Doesn't raise fares, I'm sorry I'm call this out as B.S., of course more increases in expenses results in raising of collections in taxes and fares that's why they have a planned 4% increase next year in fare hikes. How Cuomo and gang get away with lying to the public is beyond surreal. To not ask for productivity improvements is very communist like.

Apr. 18 2014 08:05 AM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

I'm glad that they have finally settled this deal and understand that their workers deserve raises. They make a lot of sacrifices that so many would never make to do this job. If anyone really does think that they can do it much better than the TWU and for less, then send your applications to the MTA and take the job yourselves rather than make the open that big mouth boasting about it.

Apr. 17 2014 07:53 PM

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