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Thread: NYC transit workers reject new contract

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
    Oct 2001
    Arlington, Virginia

    NYC transit workers reject new contract

    I feel sorry for the poor commuters of New York who are going to be the victims if there is another strike:

    NYC Transit Workers Reject New Contract

    The Associated Press
    Friday, January 20, 2006; 5:58 PM

    NEW YORK -- The city's 33,000 transit workers rejected a new
    contract by a mere seven votes Friday, raising fears of
    another crippling strike like the one that brought subways and
    buses to a standstill a month ago.

    The Transport Workers Union voted down the contract 11,227
    to 11,234, despite the urging of union President Roger
    Toussaint to ratify the agreement.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the harshest critics of the
    three-day walkout in December, called the contract
    rejection "disappointing news to all New Yorkers." He urged
    both sides to return to the negotiating table.

    Toussaint did not address the possibility of another strike.
    But opponents of the proposed three-year contract said they
    were hopeful a new deal could be reached without another

    "I would not advocate going back on strike," said union
    Vice President Ainsley Stewart, who opposed the new contract.
    Stewart said opponents were most upset by a provision that would
    have required workers for the first time to contribute part of
    heir salaries toward health care premiums.

    The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the
    city's mass transit system, had no immediate comment.

    Toussaint blamed "downright lies" told by contract opponents
    for the ratification failure but said the union's leadership was
    ready to "go back to the drawing board" as soon as possible. He
    also said TWU members were worried by Gov. George Pataki's threat
    to veto a key $110 million refund of pension plan contributions.

    The strike that started Dec. 20 shut down the nation's largest
    mass transit system in the middle of the holiday shopping season.
    It was the first system-wide strike since an 11-day walkout in
    1980, and it left millions of New Yorkers and tourists scrambling
    to find ways to get around the city.

    It was also an illegal strike. State law forbids strikes by
    public employees, and the walkout put the union and its members
    at financial risk.

    The union was fined $3 million, and workers were docked two
    days' pay for each day on strike, though a Brooklyn judge has
    yet to determine exactly how much of those penalties the union
    and its employees will pay. Toussaint could also face jail time
    for the walkout. A hearing scheduled for Friday was postponed.

    The rejected contract would have provided raises of 3 percent
    in the first year, then 4 percent and 3.5 percent in the following
    two years. But it would have required the workers for the first
    time to contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries toward health
    care premiums.

    The MTA agreed to drop a proposal that would have raised the
    retirement age for new hires from 55 or required new employees
    to contribute more to their pensions.

    © 2006 The Associated Press

  2. #2
    How long can the public accept this kind of behavior? That's not how things should work. That's not how they work for honest, innocent people. You know it. Everyone can see it.

    Those of us who claim we need the state to protect us against the evil of the free market, what protection do we have against this evil?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
    Jan 2005
    If they are on strike during my first trip to Manhattan I will be right bloody pissed off.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian safege's avatar
    Jul 2005
    Golden Valley MN
    Quote Originally posted by abrowne
    If they are on strike during my first trip to Manhattan I will be right bloody pissed off.
    And with our Government resources involved with Iraq, this could be our Waterloo.
    Psychotics are consistently inconsistent. The essence of sanity is to be inconsistently inconsistent.
    -Larry Wall

  5. #5
          quink's avatar
    Apr 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    To ease gridlock, the Budget proposes highway and transit infrastructure spending of $283.9 billion over six years.


    Moderator note:
    Leeched image replaced with a url.

    User suspended 24 hours for image leeching.

    Well, I feel sickened. Brisbane has twice to thrice the public transport usage as Houston with a n almost equal density.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 22 Jan 2006 at 11:39 AM.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    May 2003
    City of Low Low Wages!
    ^-- So? Houston is a suburban hellhole.

    I think all the anti-union fanatics should wait until they actually strike before going on the warpath. Rejecting a contract in a narrow vote is a long way from striking.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    ^-- So? Houston is a suburban hellhole.

    I think all the anti-union fanatics should wait until they actually strike before going on the warpath. Rejecting a contract in a narrow vote is a long way from striking.
    They already did strike! Why wouldn't they do it again?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
    Apr 2003
    Philadelphia, PA

    reality bites.

    If it were ever as cut and dry as you'd have us believe strikes would always be busted. Apparently there's a little more to it.

    Study Finds Rich - Poor Income Gap Growing

    Published: January 27, 2006
    Filed at 2:29 a.m. ET

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The disparity between rich and poor is growing in America as the federal minimum wage has remained flat for years, union membership has declined and industries have faced global competition, according to a study released Thursday.

    The report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, both liberal-leaning think tanks, found the incomes of the poorest 20 percent of families nationally grew by an average of $2,660, or 19 percent, over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, the incomes of the richest fifth of families grew by $45,100, or nearly 59 percent, the study by the Washington-based groups said.

    Families in the middle fifth saw their incomes rise 28 percent, or $10,218.

    The figures, based on U.S. Census data, compare the average growth from 1980-82 to 2001-03, after adjusting for inflation.

    The poorest one-fifth of families, the report said, had an average income of $16,780 from 2000-03, while the top fifth of families had an average income of $122,150 -- more than seven times as much. Middle-income families' average income was $46,875.

    Trudi Renwick, an economist with the union-backed Fiscal Policy Institute in New York, said globalization, the decline of manufacturing jobs, the expansion of low-wage service jobs, immigration and the weakening of unions have hurt those on the lower end of the economic scale.

    In 38 states, the incomes of high-income families grew by a higher percentage than those of the lowest-income families; Alaska was the only state in which the reverse was true. The 11 states where the high and low incomes increased at about the same rate were mostly in the West and Midwest.

    The greatest disparity between rich and poor was in New York, where the top 20 percent of wage earners had average incomes 8.1 times larger than the poorest 20 percent in the early 2000s. Texas had only a slightly smaller gap; Wyoming had the smallest disparity at a 5.2 to 1 ratio.

    Leaving New Jersey

    Published: January 22, 2006

    FOUR years ago, if you had asked Stephen Joubert where he would be living in 2006, the last place he would probably have said was Florida.

    Chris Livingston for The New York Times
    The Jouberts, who once lived in Edison, now have a four-bedroom house in Montverde, Fla.

    Leaving New Jersey

    Mr. Joubert and his wife and three children were living in a small three-bedroom house in Edison, looking for something bigger and hoping to find a house in the $500,000 to $600,000 range, he said.

    As luck would have it, the 37-year-old Internet consultant landed a job that took him to Atlanta, and eventually to Orlando, where he had an epiphany: Florida was not just a bunch of old people any more, and he could buy a big house there for a lot less.

    He bought a 3,500-square-foot four-bedroom house with a three-car garage in Montverde, about 35 minutes from Walt Disney World, for $300,000. He earns less than the $80 an hour he commanded in New Jersey, but still feels as if he is ahead of the game.

    "I don't have the $165,000 income I was used to," Mr. Joubert said, "but then again I don't have a $500,000 mortgage, so it's O.K."

    A quest for affordable housing is driving an increasing number of young people, families and empty nesters from the New York suburbs to destinations near and far, a review of migration data by The New York Times shows.

    Mr. Joubert is part of one of the fastest-growing segments of the population, those who have made the exodus to central Florida. Nearly 10,000 taxpayers from the northern suburbs of New Jersey followed that path in 2004, a 66 percent increase over 1996. But the new émigrés from New Jersey are also including destinations in gentrifying neighborhoods in Hudson County and New York City, exurban communities in Pennsylvania and upstate New York, and boomtowns throughout the Sun Belt.

    "I do think a lot of this movement - to Florida and the exurbs - reflects, in part, a 'housing affordability' movement, or what I have sometimes termed a 'middle-class flight,' " Prof. William Frey, a demographer at the University of Michigan, said in an e-mail message. "They'll move as far out as eastern Pennsylvania, or northern Connecticut. But many are probably looking at Sun Belt markets, including central Florida, Georgia, North Carolina."

    As Manhattan Booms, Inflation Squeezes Rest of New York

    Published: January 25, 2006
    As the pay and purchasing power of Manhattan residents have moved higher and higher, incomes in all four of the boroughs outside Manhattan have trailed inflation over the last few years, in a stark example of the increasing income disparity in New York City. In terms of wages, Manhattan families are doing better on average than those in the rest of the nation, while families in the four other boroughs are doing worse.

    In Manhattan, real wages - earnings adjusted for inflation - rose 5.4 percent between the first quarters of 2002 and 2005, led by the finance and information industries, while the national average was flat.

    Soaring year-end bonuses seemed to play a major role in the Manhattan increase. Economists generally look on first-quarter results as providing the best indicators of trends.

    But in the rest of the city, those wages fell at least 2.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The drop was biggest on Staten Island at 8.3 percent, although that figure may be more volatile because that borough has the smallest population in New York City.

    Real wages are one of the best indicators of how people are doing financially. Driving the buying power of these wages down, it appears, is inflation. There is also an absence of serious upward pressure on wages in most industries, especially those that employ the lowest earners. The number of both high- and low-wage jobs has grown, but there is little mobility between the two.

    Stories of financial frustration abound in the boroughs outside Manhattan.

    Joshua Henderson, who is 29 and works in Queens as a case manager for a welfare-to-work company, said his salary had gone up about $10,000 since he left his former teaching job.

    But a rise in rent on his apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn - to $950 a month from $850 - and increases in telephone, cellphone and utility costs have eaten up much of his salary increase, he said.

    Mr. Henderson feels "priced out of Brooklyn, where I was born and bred," he said, adding: "I feel disgusted. I feel like the 'Sex and the City' set has taken over, spending most of their money on rents, which puts pressure on the rest of us."
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  9. #9
          quink's avatar
    Apr 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Eeeek! Sorry about hotlinking an image....

    I found it (albeit as a link) on Wikipedia and I'm used to hotlinking to pictures on Wikipedia which they say is alright. Plus, I didn't want to insult Houston or any other similar city in the way I did. I realise that my comment was inappropriate and off-topic that I should not have made it in they way that I did. Sorry everyone from Houston and sorry for glorifying Brisbane, which is just a low-density posterchild in itself. Sorry!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian safege's avatar
    Jul 2005
    Golden Valley MN
    Surface transportation workers are being downsized. Freight railroad lines are double stacked, autoworkers are double stacked in benefits, airlines are suffering from both problems.

    In each of the above, the "roads" are losing out on projected capital improvements.

    These are not isolated problems, education and health care need to do the same thing, if only the political parties wouldn't treat them as children.

    During the baby boom, job programs worked. Why is it so hard to understand that times have changed?

    Can unions adjust to this? I doubt it.
    Psychotics are consistently inconsistent. The essence of sanity is to be inconsistently inconsistent.
    -Larry Wall

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
    Oct 2001
    Arlington, Virginia
    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    If it were ever as cut and dry as you'd have us believe strikes would always be busted. Apparently there's a little more to it.
    Nothing about busting strikes. In the case of the New York subway workers it was illegal. They still owe millions in contempt of court fines (ultimately they will have to borrow this and raise dues to pay down the loan) and if they choose to strike the union leadership will likely be thrown in jail.

    There's two points here to be made. First, America is a country of laws and one only has to look at how many lawyers you have. If you don't like the law, you work to change it not just ignore it. Secondly, someone has to pay for the costs of a contract and in this case it's the riders who pay much of the operating costs and the taxpayers who pay the rest. Should they not have a voice? Well, they do it's in the politicians they elected and they have just as much a right to ask for certain things in the contract as the union. I believe the sentiment against the union changed during the strike as they cost society a lot, proving they don't care about the average rider just their selfish interests. The NYMTA presented another offer after the contract was rejected, which was spurned by union leadership. My guess is this will go to arbritration if there is an impasse and that's also the law. Let the arbitrator decide and let New Yorker's get on with their lives without a cloud of a strike hanging over their heads. That way there's no strike to bust and neither the union or the MTA will get everything they want.

    Looks like the union will be preoccupied with ensuring its survival instead of negotiating a contract. Not a good position to be in:


    January 28, 2006
    Transit Union Fights Effort to Restrict Dues Collection

    The New York City transit workers' union, already roiled by
    internal discord and a protracted contract dispute, now finds
    itself fighting to avoid a potentially ruinous penalty: the loss
    of its ability to automatically collect dues from members.

    Unions that violate the state's Taylor Law, which
    prohibits public-sector unions from striking, can indefinitely
    lose the ability to collect dues through payroll deduction, a
    procedure known as dues checkoff. For the transit union, which
    struck for 60 hours in December, the loss of that privilege
    would be financially calamitous.

    On Jan. 10, the state's Public Employment Relations Board began
    the process for revoking dues checkoff by formally charging
    Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union with calling an illegal
    strike. Yesterday, the union responded by accusing the
    Metropolitan Transportation Authority of "extreme provocation
    that helped to cause the strike and prolonged the strike."

    "Dues checkoff is absolutely indispensable," said David L. Gregory,
    a labor law professor at St. John's University. "If dues are
    suspended, frozen or sequestered, that's a radical move. It
    would fundamentally cripple the union."

    Although the transit workers are required to pay dues to Local 100
    under state law, in practice it is almost impossible to collect
    regular dues without payroll deductions. The union has set up
    a contingency plan under which members would be asked to pay
    dues automatically through electronic bank transfers, but
    union officials acknowledge that ensuring compliance
    among 33,700 workers would be a logistical nightmare.

    In a separate action involving another strike-related penalty,
    Local 100 yesterday appealed a state judge's decision to fine
    it up to $3 million for contempt of court. The Brennan Center
    for Justice, a public-interest law firm, filed a brief in support
    of the union, contending that the fines were unconstitutional
    because the union was entitled to a jury trial under the
    Sixth Amendment.

    The loss of dues checkoff and the contempt fines would both be
    severe setbacks, but the dues provision is the graver threat
    over the long run, Professor Gregory said.

    After the previous citywide transit strike, in 1980, Local 100
    lost dues checkoff for several months, but the privilege was
    restored, with the authority's support, after the union made
    clear its dire financial state.

    New York City Transit workers represented by Local 100
    have $21.94 deducted from their paychecks for dues every two
    weeks, or $570.44 a year. Dues finance everything from
    newsletters to legal representation in disciplinary

    In 2004, the union collected $19.8 million in dues, accounting
    for 87 percent of its total revenue of $22.8 million, according
    to the union's most recent annual report.

    Dues checkoff could also be revoked for two other unions that
    joined the strike, Locals 726 and 1056 of the Amalgamated
    Transit Union; 726 represents bus workers on Staten Island,
    and 1056, those in Queens. "Anybody losing their source of
    income is going to be in trouble," said Angelo Tanzi, the
    president of Local 726.

    The next step is a hearing on the strike charges before
    an administrative law judge for the Public Employment Relations
    Board or before the board itself. The hearing has not yet
    been scheduled.

    The fact that the union staged an illegal strike from
    Dec. 20 to 22 does not guarantee that dues checkoff will be
    revoked. Under the Taylor Law, the board is supposed to
    consider "the extent of any willful defiance" by the union,
    the impact of the strike on public health and safety, and
    the financial resources of the union.

    Under the Taylor Law, two factors may stand in the union's
    defense. First, it agreed to accept board-appointed mediators,
    who later devised the settlement that allowed the strike to
    end. (Union members narrowly rejected that settlement last
    week.) Second, the board may consider whether the
    employer "engaged in such acts of extreme provocation as to
    detract from the responsibility of the employee organization
    for the strike." The union made that second argument
    yesterday, asserting that the authority had brought on the
    strike by improperly insisting on pension demands.

    In the separate contempt case, Local 100 yesterday appealed
    a state judge's decision in December to fine it up to $3 million,
    Local 726 up to $150,000 and Local 1056 up to $225,000.

    In 1968, the State Court of Appeals ruled that public employees
    were not entitled to a jury trial when accused of criminal
    contempt for violating the Taylor Law. The Brennan Center
    contended yesterday that under a 1994 decision by the United
    States Supreme Court, "criminal contempt punishable by serious
    monetary penalty must be adjudicated by a jury."

    * Copyright 2006The New York Times Company
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 29 Jan 2006 at 9:56 PM.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
    Jan 2005
    NYC transit workers make substantially more than the average income in NY, so posting news articles about the widening gap between rich and poor isn't exactly helping your case when any direct fare increase or loss of service disproportionately impacts lower incomes (largest user of transit anywhere).

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
    Oct 2001
    Arlington, Virginia

    [Article] Transit Union Leader Sentenced to 10 Days in Jail Over Strike

    You know what they say, you do the crime then you do the time:

    "Roger Toussaint, the president of the transit workers' union who led bus and subway workers in a strike that crippled New York City for three cold days in December, was sentenced yesterday in a surprise ruling to 10 days in jail.


    The ruling came amid a series of hearings on other penalties that are being sought for the strike, including fining the union $1 million for each day of the walkout, as dictated by the Taylor Law, and a motion by lawyers for the transit authority that it be authorized to stop automatic payroll deductions of union dues for Local 100 members."


  14. #14
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
    Oct 2001
    Arlington, Virginia

    Article: Transit Union Is Fined $2.5 Million Over December Strike

    You know what they say, crime doesn't pay!


    Transit Union Is Fined $2.5 Million Over December Strike

    Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union was fined $2.5 million yesterday for the 60-hour strike that hobbled the city in December and ordered to suspend its automatic payroll deductions of union dues for at least 90 days — a move that could cripple, at least temporarily, the union's ability to collect from its members.

    rest of story at (registration required and available for only 7 days for free):


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