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Transit workers negotiate for higher wages with contract set to expire

The 44,000-member workforce of subway and bus employees now earn an average of $76,000 a year, according to an independent report.

TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen, right, speaks with former MTA chief John LMTA/Flickr

The contract for thousands of New York City transit workers expires in a few days, and union officials negotiating a new deal with the MTA are seeking salaries on par with other divisions the agency operates.

The 44,000 transit workers affected by the collective bargaining agreement that expires Jan. 15 are hoping to receive more than the existing 2 percent pay increase, Transit Workers Union spokesman Jim Gannon told Metro. The TWU represents most of those unionized workers. Another 6,000 workers are not union members.

Negotiations will continue over the next week and a spokesman for the MTA said the agency could not comment on ongoing talks.

“In general, the [MTA] has ‘budgeted’ a 2 percent labor cost increase in their projected budget," Gannon said. "That’s not necessarily what they’ve offered, but it might be a clue of where they are willing to go.”

The average compensation for a New York City Transit employee — whose ranks include subway operators, maintenance crews and managers — was $75,891 in 2015, according to figures published by the New York City Independent Budget Office. Their counterparts at the Long Island Rail Road make an average salary of $95,652.

Average gross pay for the MTA policewas $132,803 in 2015, the IBO report shows. The police force, however, accounts for less than 1 percent of the MTA’s entire labor force.

Meanwhile, more than 15 percent of Metro-North employees earned over $150,000 a year, the IBO said.

MTA workers across all divisions make an average of $80,158.

The only divisions earning less than NYC Transit are workers from the MTA Bridges & Tunnel, who earn an average of $71,570, and MTA bus employees, who earn approximately $72,800 a year.

“We don’t want to just keep pace with inflation but get ahead,” TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said last week.“We don’t want to just tread water but gain ground.”

In addition to salary, the union’s other demands include improveddental care coverage, increases in longevity pay, an ironclad no-layoff clause and more comfortable boots.

“We’d like to get this thing wrapped up at least before the end of the current collective bargaining agreement,” which was a five-year contract that wasn’t fully stipulated until two years into the term, Gannon said.

 

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