Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Breaking News: MTA LIRR Union Votes to Strike in March

*MTA LIRR workers seeking increase city workers could only dream of
Well, you have the UFT which is so ossified that its 11th Commandment is Thou Shalt Not Strike.
Yet, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Long Island Railroad (LIRR) workers' union voted 500-0 tonight to go on strike. The strike could happen as early as March.

At dispute is its contract and salary increase. An Obama administration labor panel recommended a 17 percent increase, yet the MTA balked at it.

New York City unions should follow the LIRR union's stance.

Lucky LIRR workers: they are covered by federal law, not by biased, anti-labor NYS Taylor Law.
There was a time --2006-- when New York City's labor leaders --including the United Federation of Teachers' then president Randi Weingarten-- spoke out against the Taylor Law at the City Council's Committee on Civil Service and Labor. Weingarten said, "The city's ability to stall without repercussions means unions have virtually no leverage." Have we ever heard Mulgrew put it so succinctly about the Taylor Law?

The Times also wrote, 
The labor leaders said the law had repeatedly given City Hall an upper hand in labor talks, provided incentives for the city to drag out negotiations years after contracts expire, and established the framework for a system of "pattern bargaining" in which all public employees are expected to accept the same terms that are accepted by a union picked out by the city to set a bargaining precedent.

In 1994, under Andrew Cuomo's father, Mario, the workers struck for three days. They got a 8.7 percent over three years.

No concessions! Full retroactive pay! Ample salary increases to match rent and other New York City cost of living increases since 2009!

Here is the background of the Obama labor panel's recommendation in LIRR contract considerations, from Anton News of Nassau County, January 9, 2014:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) made a strategic mistake recently when it said that its planned 2015 fare hike may be reduced to four percent from 7.5 percent.

In essence, the MTA, the Long Island Rail Road’s (LIRR) parent, was announcing it’ll forgo an estimated $200 million in fare box revenue in 2015, given the MTA’s improved financial standing. The MTA conveyed this message as the LIRR was telling an emergency presidential panel, in early December, that the LIRR could only give the bulk of its unionized employees a cumulative general wage increase (GWI) of four percent over a five-year period, dating back to 2010 and extending into 2014. Meanwhile, advocates for most of the LIRR’s unions, representing about 5,500 of the LIRR’s approximately 6,400 employees, were trying to convince this panel its members deserved a GWI of 18.5 percent over a six-year period (2010-2015).

President Obama’s three appointees sided, big-time, with the LIRR’s unions, when releasing its 51-page, non-binding report on the LIRR’s ongoing labor dispute. The panelists, two of them from Massachusetts and the other from Maryland, called for the LIRR to reach an accord that would give its unionized employees what amounts to a GWI of 14.75 percent over a six-year period. The panel’s final recommendation would have been 17 percent over six years, but even the president’s appointees agreed with LIRR management’s contention that these LIRR employees should contribute to their health insurance premiums. By 2015, the panel believes the LIRR should pay 97.75 percent of its unionized employees’ premiums. Today, the LIRR picks up a union employee’s entire health insurance tab.

The LIRR management team’s bid to get the presidential panel to endorse any of its proposed work-rule changes also went nowhere, such as those governing staffing requirements at Richmond Hill, or ones that would make it easier to reassign LIRR track workers to undertake bridge and building maintenance. To combat these findings, the LIRR ought to find a way to explain to the media how antiquated work rules drain the LIRR’s coffers and perpetuate inefficiencies. The LIRR’s labor unions are the only ones benefiting from the status quo when it comes to allocating personnel.