| NEW YORK, April 17
NEW YORK, April 17 New York's Metropolitan
Transportation Authority (MTA) struck a deal on Thursday to end
a 2-year pay dispute with a more generous offer to workers than
the years of pay freezes it had originally proposed, New York
state Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The MTA, a state-run agency, had previously insisted on 3
years of pay freezes, but the new deal struck with the help of
the governor's office, which is eager to avoid a strike in an
election year, offered an 8 percent pay rise over 5 years.
That includes two 1 percent pay rises for 2012 and 2013 and
2 percent rises in 2014 through to 2016.
"The resolution of this contract dispute is fair to transit
workers, fiscally responsible for the MTA, and will have no
impact on fares," Cuomo said in a statement, adding that the
transit system was the "lifeblood" of New York City.
The MTA declined to immediately put a figure on the cost of
the deal, which also includes an increase in employee healthcare
contributions from 1.5 percent to 2 percent, paid parental
leave, broader healthcare coverage, and improved dental and
The MTA runs 842 miles (1355 kilometers) of subway tracks in
New York City as well as urban buses, the Long Island Rail Road
(LIRR) and Metro North rail systems, and some of the city's
bridges and tunnels. New York City's urban transport network is
the largest in the country
The current agreement mostly covers workers on the subway
and bus systems and does not include the LIRR, which has its own
ongoing dispute with the MTA.
Cuomo, a Democrat who is up for reelection in November, said
the agreement would be accommodated within a revision to the
MTA's $13.5 billion budget, but did not provide specifics other
than confirming the deal would not lead to an increase in wages.
"This is a fair and equitable contract for transit workers.
The agreement secures raises in every year of the contract, with
full retroactive pay," said John Samuelsen, president of TWU
Local 100, the union which represents 34,000 MTA workers. The
deal still needs to be ratified by union members.
The deal will likely be closely scrutinized by public city
workers in New York City, all 300,000 of which are currently
working without a contract due to a dispute with the
administration of former mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had also
insisted on pay freezes for public workers.
The City's new mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat who is seen
as more labor friendly than Bloomberg, is currently negotiating
with the United Federation of Teachers, the city's teachers'
Union. The deal outlined today could add weight to their claims
for retroactive pay increases.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy)