The MTA just got screwed. Again. Last Monday, an arbitration panel declared that the Transport Workers' Union, the union that represents train drivers, conductors, and bus drivers, would be able to receive a 11.3% raise in the next 3 years, for a total of $350 million, something that the MTA just cannot afford in these times. Their deficit is projected to be $10 Billion in the next 5 years. The Union claims that these pay raises are on par with some city workers' unions that got 4% raises. Mayor Bloomberg's rebuttal: "The city's finances are different than the MTA's finances, the city's workforce is different. So there's no reason to think that if one does something, the others automatically have to get it." To make things worse, they also won the right to not have to increase healthcare contributions for the next 3 years-currently at 1.5%, as well as not having to pay that cost on overtime pay. This was something that was negotiated out from the 2005 illegal transit strike. In addition, the MTA now has to postpone the initiation of One Person Train Operation (OPTO) to the year 2012, something where a train does not have a conductor on board but only the driver, already present on numerous train systems throughout the world. This would have saved the MTA millions in operating costs, not to mention the investment in new technology to make OPTO happen over the past few years. Now the MTA's future, as well as the economy of the city, is at even greater stake. Unions.
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