Blogging Employee Benefits

January 21, 2006

New York Transport Workers Reject New Contract

Filed under: Collective Bargaining, PERS — Fuguerre @ 2:17 am

Members of Transport Workers Union Local 100, whose strike shut down the New York City public transit system for 3 days in December, have narrowly defeated a compromise hammered out after the strike by a margin of only 7 votes, with 11,227 workers voting to ratify the contract against 11,234 voting to reject. [New York Times, 1/21/06]

The rejection is being blamed on a provision requiring union members to contribute 1.5% of pay toward their health insurance, that rate set to increase after 2006 by a rate equal to the excess of health care inflation over the general wage increase rate. [Memorandum of Understanding Between MTA NYCT and TWU Local 100]  In exchange, the New York City Transit Authority dropped its demand for less generous pensions for future new hires, and a pension refund provision was offered to older workers. Reports indicate that the deal left middle-aged workers feeling abandoned, with nothing to show for the employee health insurance premiums.

The Transit Authority indicates that it may seek arbitration, although that route has previously been rejected by the union. Neither side seems to think another strike might be in the cards, but neither is the possibility being ruled out.

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