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News :: Labor
New York City Transit Strike!
by class war
21 Dec 2005
News about the current NYC transit strike, and information on what you can do to support these workers...
New York City Transit Strike!
NYC: 33,700 transit workers in New York City are on strike for the first time in 25 years. Defying the Taylor law--1967 Public Employees-Fair Employment Act--members of Transport Workers Union Local 100 are courageously striking to maintain their health benefits and pensions.
The city is threatening the union with a $22 million a day law suit if the workers strike; and this is workers currently without a contract! On the busses not directly employed by the Metropolitan Transit Administration, the city is asking for additional damages against individual workers: $25,000 for the first day of the walkout, doubling each day thereafter. The huge fines amount to two days pay for every day workers remain on strike. Seven million commuters are effected by a strike, estimated to cost the city some $400 millon each day.
The principal part of the dispute is the MTA wishing to change the way new employees are treated. The MTA originally wanted to raise the age at which new employees become eligible for a full pension from 55 to 62. The union objected. The MTA later agreed to allow pension eligibility at 55 for new employees, but asked that they contribute 6 percent of their salaries for their first 10 years of employment. The MTA wants new employees to contribute 1 percent of their salary to pay for health insurance. Transit workers currently do not have to pay anything for health insurance and are resisting this change.
The MTA had proposed annual raises of 3 percent. The union wanted considerably higher pay increases; a later MTA offer included annual raises of 3 percent, 4 percent and 3.5 percent. Operators and Conductors on Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Railroad also run by the MTA make $6 - $8 more per hour than the TWU workers; but the lines worked by TWU carry more passengers that pay higher fares than Metro-North or LIRR. The Metro-North and LIRR workers are not expected to strike in support of TWU Local 100. Anthony J. Bottalico, the chairman of the union that represents Metro-North engineers, conductors and rail-traffic controllers, said none of his members planned to strike. However, two other unions, which represent Metro-North ticket collectors and track workers, have vowed to show solidarity with Local 100 by refusing to cross picket lines, and they could conceivably delay, though not disrupt, regular train service.
TWU Local 100 claims that not only does the MTA have a billion dollar surplus, but that surplus has been understated by a hundred million.
President Michael T. O'Brien of Transport Workers Union of America cautioned Local 100 against striking. Local 100 disagreed--it's executive board voted to strike with 28 for, 10 against and 5 members abstaining,
The strike was limited initially against two Queens bus lines, Jamaica Buses Inc. and Triboro Coach Corporation, as a presure tactic by TWU in hope of reaching an overall settlement before the entire system was shutdown. The transit workers of the two Queens line had been without contract for 33 months. While the MTA intends to asorb these two lines with five others, TWU argued that since the MTA had yet to take full control, their strike did not violate the Taylor law.
The last time the transit workers in New York City walked out was in April 1980, with an 11-day strike.
In November, 5,000 TWU and UTU workers won a strike on the SEPTA system in Philadelphia. The issues were similar in regards to changes in new hire employee contributions to health care. Instead of new hires paying 30 percent of their health care premium the first year and 20 percent the second year, now they will pay the same 1 percent as everyone. New hires will also get dental, prescription and vision coverage earlier and SEPTA will make a bigger contribution to pensions.
Toussaint: TWU Local 100 on Strike
Dec. 20 - With a one billion dollar surplus contract between the MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 100 should have been a no brainier. Sadly that has not been the case.
Our contract expired midnight on Thursday. In an attempt to save Mass Transit an in deference to our riders, we postponed our deadline and attempted to continue talking to the MTA.
From the beginning, the MTA approached these negotiations in bad faith, demanding arbitration before even trying to resolve the contract. Hours before contract expiration, the MTA got rid of its one billion dollar surplus -- a surplus which we believe continues to be understated by some one hundred million dollars.
The MTA knew that reducing health and pension standards at the authority would be unacceptable to our union. They knew there was no good economic reason for their hard line on this issue - not with a billion dollar surplus. They went ahead anyway, supported by the Bloomberg administration which wants to overrun Municipal Labor Unions and all City workers with down pressed wages and gutted health benefits and pension plans.
This has been combined with continued attempts by the MTA, joined by the Governor and the Mayor, to intimidate and threaten our members and their families.
This is a fight over whether hard work will be rewarded with a decent retirement -- over the erosion or eventual elimination of health benefit coverage for working people. And it is a fight over dignity and respect on the job. A concept that is very alien to the MTA. Transit workers are tired at being under appreciated and disrespected.
The Local 100 Executive Board has voted overwhelmingly to extend strike action to all MTA properties effective immediately.
All Local 100 representatives and shop stewards are directed to report to their assigned strike locations picket lines or facility nearest you immediately.
To our riders, we ask for your understanding forbearance. We stood with you to keep token booths open, to keep conductors on the train and oppose fare hikes. We now ask that you stand with us. We did not want a strike. Evidently the MTA, governor and the Mayor did.
We call on all good will New Yorkers, the Labor Community, and all working people to recognize that our fight is their fight, and to rally in our support with solidarity activities and events. And to show the MTA that TWU does not stand alone.
-Roger Toussaint, President, TWU Local 100
The MTA and the Governor Forced This Strike: Call Them to Stop It
For generations, a job in New Yorks subways and buses was the first step on the road to the American dream. The MTA is telling us Not Any More.Thats what this strike is all about.
We know how hard things are for New Yorkers. Its hard to get around New York when the trains and buses arent rolling. Its hard for us and our families too.
We are losing wages, and the Mayor wants every transit worker to pay fines of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Easy for a billionaire. But were working people like you.
So why is the strike still on? Ask the MTA and Governor Pataki. They are the ones who shut down New Yorks lifeline. They came in at the last minute with a take-it-or-leave-it 10 year 4% pay cut for all future hires.
They risked your livelihood and the whole NYC economy over a proposal that top legislators in both parties say is illegal. (Times, Dec. 20)
Its up to the Governor and the MTA to get things rolling. Call them. Tell them to Stop it. We need real leadership to get the buses and trains rolling again.
MTA - 212-878-7274
Governor Pataki - 518-474-7516
TWU Local 100 Strike Assignments
For all you NYers and people close to NYC who want to walk the picket line:
This is a list of TWU Local 100 Strike locations.
180th Street Yard: 1151 East 180 Street
239th St. Barn: 4570 Furman Avenue
240th St. Barn: 5911 Broadway
241st St. White Plains Road. (RTO)
242nd St. Yard
Concourse Yard: 3119 Jerome Avenue
Eastchester Depot: Interstate 95 at Exit 13
Gunhill Depot: 1910 Bartow Avenue
Jerome Yard: Jerome Ave. & Van Courtlandt Ave.
Pelham Barn/Westchester Sq. Yard: Eastchester Rd. & Water Street
Tiffany Iron: 1170 Oakpoint Avenue
West Farms Depot: 1100 East 177th Street
Woodlawn 1 & 9 Lines (RTO)
Yonkers Depot: 59 Babcock St.
Zerega CMF: 750 Zerega Avenue
370 Jay St./130 Livingston
Atlantic Ave/Bergen Street Shop: 1415 Bergen Street
Bergen St. Shop
Coney Island Yard: Avenue X & McDonald
Cozine: 50 Cozine Avenue
East New York Depot/Shop: 1700 Bushwick Avenue
Flatbush Ave / Nostrand (RTO)
Flatbush Depot: Flatbush & Utica Ave.
Jackie Gleason Depot: 871 Fifth Avenue
Linden Shop: 1500 Linden Blvd.
Livonia Shop: 824 Linwood Shop
Pitkin Yard: 1434 Sutter Avenue
Rockaway Parkway Carnarsie L-line
Ulmer Park Depot: Cropsey Ave. & Bay
71st & Continental G,R & V lines (RTO)
179th St. F-line (RTO)
College Point Depot: 128-15 28th Avenue
Corona Barn: 126-53 Willets Point Blvd.
Ditmars Blvd. N & W lines (RTO)
Fresh Pond Depot: 56-99 Fresh Pond Road
Jamaica Barn: 7815 Grand Central Parkway
Jamaica Depot: 114-15 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
Main St. 7-line (RTO)
Parsons / Archer E & J lines (RTO)
Triboro Coach Depot: 8501 24th Avenue
Woodside Electronic Shop: 33-33 54th Street
34th St. - Penn Station *
100th Street Depot: 1552 Lexington Avenue at 100th Street
126th Street Depot: 2460 Second Avenue
148th St. Lenox Ave.
168th St. C Line
207th St. Yard: 3961 10 Avenue
Chambers St. Flagging Quarters (RTO)
Grand Central Station (RTO)
Kingsbridge Depot: 4065 10th Avenue
Manhattanville Depot: 666 West 133rd St.
Michael J. Quill Depot: 525 11th Avenue
West 53rd St Power/RCC: 53rd St. btw 8/9
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