Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No one-person crews for New York subways--yet

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The Transport Workers Union demonstrated its strength in recent contract negotiations with MTA New York City Transit Authority.

An arbitration ruling made public Tuesday gives workers an 11.1% pay increase over a three-year period.

mta_nycsubway.jpg

More important, the ruling disclosed that during the negotiations, the transit authority withdrew a demand for the right to operate its trains with one-person crews. The agency had wanted to start converting to one-person operation on the L and No. 7 lines, which are being modernized for that purpose with new signaling and new railcars compatible with a changeover.

This was key issue to the arbitration panel, which said the transit agency withdrew its crew demand in return for hoped-for concessions for the union on health care provisions, but there was "no evidence" that the management strategy had worked.

The TWU welcomed the arbitration awed, saying it brought transit workers up to the same level of pay and benefits given to other city employees. But thet Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the new contract would add $350 million to the authority's already-strained budget during the next three years.