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Date Posted: 04:40:04 04/30/03 Wed
TWU Local 100 Bulletin...
Audits Show That
MTA Lied About $$$
What Happens Now?
MTA Lied. Two Sets of Books. MTA “Lost” Surplus Funds.
The papers have been filled with screaming headlines exposing the MTA. Hundreds of millions might be involved. Local 100 members are outraged, but not surprised. We always knew these guys played fast and loose with the truth. Now we are hearing some talk about reopening the contract. Here ‘s what Local 100 has to say about this situation:
· Why were there audits in the first place? Local 100 called for them. Remember our chant in December—”Open The Books, Expose The Crooks.” The audits were first announced during our negotiations. They are a direct result of our contract struggle, our fare-hike fight, and our token booth battles.
o What do the audits show? The MTA lied about money. They moved pots of money around and tried to hide some revenues. They lied to force a fare hike this year instead of next year.
· Did the audit show the MTA is rolling in dough? NO. There will he another big hole next year and the year after. The system is under funded. It relies too much on fares from passengers, and gets too little from government. We have been saying this for years.
o What does this exposé have to do with our contract? Nothing. Throughout the entire contract process the MTA claimed that it was broke and we said it doesn’t matter. What was the big chant at out September contract rally. It was FIND THE MONEY. Because it is suicide to base your contract negotiations on your employer’s financial state. Ask the city workers. The City is deep in the hole. Does that mean city workers should take a pay cut? No. Tell the city to find the money.
· Our contract was a solid win on dollar value alone. Our wages + health benefits + child care + training funds + retiree drug benefit will likely add up to much more than any other contract in these tough times. City workers would sign our deal in a heartbeat if they could get it. Plus we got big changes on the dignity and respect issues. All the MTA lies did not stop us from getting a good contract.
o But now that the secret money has been discovered, shouldn’t we reopen the contract now? Not so fast
· Look at what’s happening in New York today. Paraprofessionals ripped out of our children’s schools, with larger class size coming. Fire houses slated to be shut down. Library hours slashed. Fewer garbage pickups for next year. That means more rats in the streets, like in the 1970’s. They are even talking about closing the zoos. Over 5,000 city workers have gotten pink slips and this is only the start. Unlike in December, we are now in the midst of a war economy.
o Reopen a contract now? It sounds tough, but it doesn’t make any sense. A reopener means throwing everything we just won up for grabs — not just the wage portion but all of it, everything we gained. A reopener could wind us up losing in arbitration.
· Demanding that the MTA reopen the contract now would mean Local 100 stands alone. Last time we had the support of the community and other unions. This time, we would be saying that if the MTA has more money, we want it. Even after we have a contract. We want more for us, instead of stopping the fare hike. We want more for us, instead of stopping the booth closings. That’s no way to build a strong coalition.
§ So what should we do? First, we have to make sure the MTA stops their version of double entry bookkeeping by making it against the law. Local 100 is backing legislation that keeps the books open.
o What else? We have an opportunity to increase the pressure on the MTA to keep all token booths open, and roll back the fare hike. The MTA better not say they can’t afford it.
§ What about pensions? The 20/50 bill and the 25/55 rebate are in Albany. This is the right time to increase our political action activities.
· Local 100 did well to get a solid three year contract when we did. The situation for labor is worse today that it was in December. Let’s keep the pressure on the MTA, not on us. Reopening the contract is the wrong way to go.
TWU Local 100
80 West End Avenue
NewYork NY 10023
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