But both parties were willing to work remotely through the night, as they went to hotels, and were hired to return to the negotiating table 9 a.m. Thursday, July 17. In light of the collective bargaining on the table, union representatives and MTA leaders are concerned that their relationship will be tarnished. A look at how this could have happened: workers spend double time after eight hours and 16 years. Nowhere do we wonder whether it is wise for track workers to work two full days. The agreement provides for retroactive wage increases of 4% from 1 January 2007; 3.5% effective January 1, 2008; 3% as of January 2009. It also includes two provisions that reduce the future cost of pensions for the ERSA while improving other levels of benefits. A sickness benefit contract – 12 days plus a 72-day long-term „bank“ for people who do not get very sick – dates back to 1968, when people became very ill. The agreement, which has yet to be ratified by union members, resolves a four-year contractual dispute between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the eight unions representing the 5,400 employees of Long Island Rail Road. Anthony Simon, Executive Director of the UTU, said: „I thank our President Helena Williams of Long Island Rail Road for all her efforts to help us achieve this goal. I would also like to thank the management of our unions for their confidence and support during the negotiation process. First of all, I would like to thank all Long Island Rail Road staff for the overwhelming ratification of this agreement.
The UTU, which represents about 40 percent of the 5,558 unionized railway employees, was ahead with a signing on December 6. „Developing the workforce and improving labour management relationships are the MTA`s top priority,“ said Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and CEO. „I am pleased that we have reached another agreement that respects our employees, while ensuring fair business for the MTA and our clients.“ „I am very pleased with the teamwork in the work management that has characterized this round of contract negotiations and culminated in overwhelming confirmation,“ said Helena Williams, President of the LIRR. Anthony Simon, President of the Transportation Union (UTU) and Chair of the Long Island Rail Road Council, played an important role in the collaboration of the various Railroad unions. The „Section 6 Communication“ of 42, presented by the MTA as part of the formal opening of collective bargaining with its 10 LIRR unions, proposes numerous changes to workers` wage structures, benefits and work rules. These include the abolition of the dual pay of some workers after a certain number of consecutive overtime hours; a limit to more than 16 hours in a row; and a provision that „gives the railway the opportunity to assign all work to its sole discretion and exclusively.“ MTA Long Island Rail Road has agreements with 17 of its bargaining units, represented by 10 different unions. The agreements – which cover the period from 1 January 2007 to 15 June 2010 – were signed last month by all trade union organisations, marking a historic milestone and marking an era of mutual respect between work and management.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority`s Board of Directors today approved all ten agreements. The MTA`s action included agreements with the UTU and the following unions within the LIRR Labor Council: Transportation Communications International Union; Brotherhood of locomotive drivers and railway workers; Brotherhood of Railway Signals Men; International Association of Machinists – Aerospace Workers; International Brotherhood of Electricity Workers; Independent Railway Supervisors Association; National Conference of Firefighters and Tankers; Blecharbeiter International Association; and UTU Yardmasters. Some of these rules are decades long.