The Transit Strike of 2005
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On 12/20/2005 the TWU Local 100 calls strike against the NYCTA
buses and subways at 3:00AM
The deadline had been extended from 12/16 and started with Jamaica and Triboro buses on 12/19 (employees not under Taylor Law)
The TWU Agrees to return to work without contract 12/22
Service was normal after midnight - Negotiations continued
MTA web site
TWU web site
Local 100 web site
ATU web site
a modest proposal
Taylor Law how much the fine? See section f.
On 12/27 The TWU Executive Board voted to approve a 37 month contract
This will extend the next negotiations to after the holidays in 2008-9


Major Provisions:

37 Months, so this agreement expires in January 2009
Retirement age remains 55
3%, 4%, and 3.5% increases
1.5% of wages goes to health costs, a first for TWU
Additional pay for some employees who are assaulted on the job
A stipend for employees on maternity leave
Increased health benefits to pensioners
Employees who bought into the age 55 pension (when it was 62) may get the contributions refunded - this will take the State Legislature approval
Martin Luther King Day is a new paid holiday

The following are the opinions of Joseph D. Korman, webmaster

The addition of the Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday is interesting because the TWU first won their personal day off when the MLK day became an almost universal holiday. The logic then was that employees of different ethnic groups would want different days off, so the personal day could be used for that purpose. Now that MLK day is observed by most employers, it has become another holiday for the TWU. This means an extra 8 hours of pay or another day off for working. It can be a day off if service levels allow it within the employee's work location.

The pension refund goes back to the four tier pension system implemented by the NYC Employee Retirement System (NYCERS).
Tier Four is for all employees hired after July 1976.
For those employees who elected to convert from age 62 retirement to age 55 in 1994, had to pay extra into NYCERS to be eligible.
Then in 2000, NYCERS allowed all Tier 4 Transit employees (and others) to get the 25/55 plan. This is the refund money that the TA and TWU will ask the state to authorize NYCERS - not the MTA to refund. This will not cost the MTA or the taxpayers anything.
The TWU was not the only group included in the 25/55 retirement plan.
See NYCERS Tier Four for all the details.
Also of interest is the NYCERS Annual Report for 2004.
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Added 12/30/05 - Governor says no to pension refunds. I don't understand this. NYCERS in 1994 or so said that the only way to get your retirement changed from 62 to 55 for transit and others in Tier Four was to buy into it. Between 1994 and 2000 many folks bought the line and paid. Then in 2000 NYCERS said, ok everyone can get on the 55 bandwagon. But those who paid won't get a refund. This money and the interest earned should come from NYCERS not the state, city, MTA or NYCTA.
More confusion the NY Times says:
"The question of cost is complex because the New York City Employees' Retirement System would pay most of the refunds and be reimbursed by the authority."

The saga continues:

Added 12/31/2005 - It's finally starting to make sense. As reported in the NY Daily News, the MTA had a side deal with the TWU to pay the pension refunds if the Governor vetoes the legislation to authorize NYCERS to refund the money. The Governor has vetoed the refund in 2000 and 2001, saying that it was an issue for the negotiations. Now that it's in the proposed contract, he is threatening to veto it anyway. An editorial in the NEWS claims the money does not belong to the TWU. This is wrong, since NYCERS convinced the Tier Four members in 1994 that the only way to reduce the retirement age to 55 was to pay extra into the system. Then in 2000 it granted the 25/55 plan to all Tier Four members. Thus the money was taken under false pretenses. If a non-government agency did this, they would be fined. This money and the interest it earned in the years since belong to the Tier Four members who bought into this.
Added 1/1/2006 The union members are afraid that if the TA pays for the refund, it may be taxed a second time. The pension deductions are done after NY State tax is collected. This may cause members to vote against the contract.
Added 1/21/2006 At the close of voting on January 20th, by a margin of only seven votes, the TWU rejected the contract. Next stop arbitration? What will become of Roger Toussaint in the next TWU Local 100 election?
Added 1/24/2006 The MTA Transit committee met and said nothing about the contract. However, The Daily News reports that the MTA is filing papers to bring the issues to binding arbitration. The TWU says it may strike before accepting arbitration.
Added 2/1/2006 The TWU leadership appears divided as they decide what to do next. One thing is clear, they do not want arbitration.
Added 2/6/2006 The Daily News reports that TWU insiders are convinced that if the union were to revote on the same contract, it would be approved. but there is nothing requiring the MTA to accept it.
Added 2/10/2006 The TA and TWU have been conducting negotiations out of the media spotlight.
Added 2/11/2006 The SI ATU (buses) approved the same contract on 2/10/06. Now the pressure is on the TWU (mostly subway workers) who voted it down.
Added 2/24/2006 The TWU and TA are back to square one, but the union does not want arbitration.
Added 2/28/2006 Some members of the TWU have asked for a new vote on the contract that was rejected by only seven votes on January 20. This is from the members and doesn't involve local President Roger Toussaint or his administration. The MTA has not commented about this. The MTA has approved both ATU local (Queens and Staten Island buses) contracts that are mostly the same as the TWU contract.
Added 3/2/2006 The Daily News reported that state prosecuters won't look for jail time for Roger Toussaint, president of local 100 of the TWU for the illegal strike. However they are looking to eliminate the automatic payroll deduction for union dues from the 33,000 members pay checks. This will force the union shop stewards to collect the dues from the employees each week.
Added 3/9/2006 It was reported that the TWU is looking at various means of insuring their income - members' dues - will continue, if a judge enforces the Taylor Law provision that allow the TA to stop automatic dues check-off from the employees' paychecks. Among other thoughts is to have the members authorize automatic account deductions directly from their bank accounts.
Added 3/9/2006 Late afternoon - the MTA request to go to binding arbitration is on hold pending more negotiations between the MTA and TWU next week.
Added 3/15/2006 The TWU wants to re-vote on the rejected contract. But even if it passes (there are some members against it) the MTA doesn't have to honor it.
Added 3/25/2006 The state Public Employment Relations Board voted to to send the contract dispute to binding arbitration. The TWU still wants to take a revote of the rejected contract. Although the MTA has said the rejected contract is off the table, they could still choose to accept the January deal if the union approves it.
Starting with the 3/25 bi-weekly paychecks, the TWU's 33,000 members are being docked for the three-day strike. Workers will lose a day's pay for each day they walked off the job in violation of the state's Taylor Law. This is in addition to the three days they weren't paid during the strike.
Added 4/5/2006 The TWU will mail out new ballots on 4/6. They are due to be counted on 4/18. The union officials hope that if the contract gets ratified this time, there will be pressure from the public for the MTA to accept it.
Added 4/8/2006 The Daily News reported that the TWU is claiming in court that if it is fined $3 million, it will put the union out of business. One of the defenses is the MTA didn't define a day.
Added 4/10/2006 Local 100 President Roger Toussaint was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a $1000 fine. He has 30 days to appeal/surrender. Two other officers were given $500 fines. See Daily News article.
Added 4/17/2006 WNBC-Channel 4 reported that the union will be fined $2.5 million and lose the automatic dues check off indefinately. This means that shop stewards will have to collect dues from the members every week. The TWU collects $1 million a week in dues. The two ATU (Queens and Staten Island drivers) locals received lower fines, and will lose checkoff for 30 days.
Added 4/18/2006 WNBC - Channel 4 reports that the revote on the previously rejected contract was passed by some 14,000 to 7,000 this time around. The MTA says it won't count, since the contract was removed from the table after the rejection.
Added 4/21/2006 - modified 4/23/2006The NY Daily News reported that the TWU has set up a web page where members can go to pay their union dues. One of the penalties for the strike was the loss of the payroll deduction dues check off. The monthly dues to the union is about $1.6 million.
Added 4/24/2006 TWU local 100 President Roger Toussaint reported to jail for his 10 day sentence for calling the strike. He hopes that the MTA will accept the revote on the rejected contract. The MTA is still pushing for binding arbitration.
Added 4/26/2006 The NY Daily News reported that the TWU is considering a work slowdown if the MTA does not accept the revote passing of the previously rejected contract. In a related story, Firefighter Matthew Long was upset that fire union chief marched in support of transit union leader Roger Toussaint. Mr. Long was seriously injured while riding a bike to work at the Randalls Island Fire Academy when a chartered bus hit him.
Added 4/27/2006 In interviews with the NY Daily News, both TWU President Roger Toussaint and MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow discuss both sides of the issue.
Toussaint: "The MTA should not underestimate how volatile they can make this situation become,"
: Kalikow: "Transit workers have no right to push a contract down our throat,"
Added 4/27/2006 at 6:15PM On its 6:00PM newscast, NBC TV 4 reported that TWU President Roger Toussaint will be released on Friday 4/28 at 9:00AM.
It seems that the city lawyers checked 'good behavior' rules and discovered that Mr. Toussaint is in fact eligible for early release for good behavior. He would have to serve 7 of the 10 days of the sentence.
Now follow this: the seventh day would be Sunday, but prisoners are not released on weekends. That pushes the release to Friday. The usual practice is to release them at 9:00AM, so Mr. Toussaint will be released at that time after serving only 3-1/2 days.
Added 4/30/2006 The April 29 edition of the New York Daily News reported that on his release from jail, Transit union leader Roger Toussaint said there is nothing to talk about. ". . . We have a contract. He (MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow) just doesn't want the contract that he agreed to in December." He forgets that the union rejected that contract, and it was only accepted with a re-vote.
Added 5/2/2006 The New York Daily News the TWU filed a law suit against the MTA to force them to accept the re-vote on the at-first rejected contract. The MTA still wants the issue brought to arbitration.
Added 5/11/2006 The New York Daily News reported on 5/10 that a member of the MTA board (from Long Island) has suggested that the MTA vote on accepting the revote by the union.
Added 5/17/2006 The New York Daily News reported that the TWU have until 2007 to pay the full $2.5 million fine in $200,000 payments. During that time the NYCT will continue to deduct the dues checkoff from members' pay checks. After the fine is paid in full, the checkoff will be cancelled.
Added 5/24/2006 The New York Daily News reported that George Nicolau has been named to the arbitration panel deciding the TWU contract situation. Mr. Nicolau has experience in Major League Baseball cases. In some 28 decisions, he has ruled 50-50 for each side (just as any good arbitrator who wants to keep his job). In addition to sports disputes, he has also ruled on caeses in the Airline industry and others.
Added 5/30/2006 posted 5/31/2006 The New York Daily News reported that the MTA hired a high priced law firm to work on the contract related legal battles. The firm's partners earn $540 an hour. They specialize in labor law pertaining to union strikes.
Added 6/6/2006 The New York Daily News reported that the TWU made its first payment toward the $2.5 million fine. A total of $300,000 was made, $200,000 from the union and $100,000 in donations from TWU retirees and other NY City unions.
Added 6/8/2006 WCBS-TV and The New York Daily News reported that frustrated members of the TWU picketted in front of MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow's Manhattan apartment building. They were upset that MTA is going to arbitration on the at first rejected then accepted contract. Mr Kalikow said nothing to the employees.
Added 6/26/2006 In an editorial published on June 25, The New York Daily News stated that TWU President Roger Toussaint is pushing for the state legislature to water down the Taylor law. The union line was that Taylor Law penalties are too oppressive and labor needs a way to force, say, City Hall into wrapping up contract talks when a pact expires. In other words the union can't get the city to give them what they want.
Added 7/12/2006 Although not directly related to the strike, the The New York Daily News reported that One Person Train Operation on the L line is on hold, because arbitrators twice ruled that OPTO must be negitiated into the contract. Since the whole contract is still pending, Transit Authority President Lawrence Reuter said OPTO will have to wait. There's also the feeling by many that OPTO is dangerous in an era of terror threats.
Added 7/25/2006 After a long stretch of no news, the The New York Daily News reported that MTA board will not vote on accepting the previously rejected contract with the TWU. Some union members have staged protests outside Chairman Peter Kalikow's apartment building. The state arbitration panel is set to hold hearings next month.
Added 8/5/2006 The New York Daily News reported that various unions, retired employees and other individuals have contributed almost $200,000 toward the fines imposed by the court against the union for the stirke in December 2005. This is in addition to $50,000 a month, to cover staff and other expenses, from the national TWU, which did not authorize the strike.
Added 8/8/2006 The New York Daily News reported on 8/5 that the MTA and TWU met with arbitrator George Nicolau in Manhattan to begin the arbitration process.
Added 8/11/2006 The New York Daily News reported that a judge has thrown out the TWU Local 100 claim that the arbitration is illegal because the union ratified the contract (after rejecting it the first time). Supreme Court Justice Theodore Jones didn't rule on the merits of the case, but said the court lacked jurisdiction. The union will appeal.
Added 8/21/2006 A New York Daily News editorial agreed with governor Pataki, when he vetoed legislation that would have gutted the Taylor Law by giving raises to the union when a state board felt that the public agnecy was not bargaining in good faith."Obviously, the unions would cry bad faith the moment public officials didn't meet their demands or, worse, asked for contract reforms."
Added 9/18/2006 While the contract is still in arbitration, some members of the TWU are planning to oust union President Toussaint, saying that he made a mistake by calling off the strike after only three days. They claim he destroyed the workers' morale.
Added 9/24/2006 TWU President Toussaint has fired union members who oppose his re-election. They are running on the Rail and Bus United slate, but now must return to thier regular TA jobs. The election will be in December.
Added 9/28/2006 The ATU, which settled in February 2006, will get the pension refunds.
Added 10/2/2006 The New York Daily News reported that TWU President Roger Toussaint claims tthat one of his reelection opponents wanted to call off the strike after 24 hours. He showed a document from Barry Roberts stating that the rank and file members were not up to a long time on the picket lines.
Added 10/5/2006 to aid in his re-election campaign, TWU President Roger Toussaint is selling autographed photos for $2 each and 3 for $5 at Roger Toussaint Victory-2006. There are also Tee shirts that say It's About Respect. NYC Transit Strike 2005 for $17.50.
Added 10/6/2006 The Appelate Court has ruled that the TWU must pay the $2.5 million in fines imposed becuase of the strike. The union argument claimed they were denied a jury trial on the charges that they broke a state law by going on strike. The four judge panel also rejected the claim that the strike was forced by the MTA for making illegal contract demands during negotiations.
P.S. there still is no contract.
Added 10/10/2006 The The New York Daily News reported that TWU President Roger Toussaint claims that members who support his opponent in the union election will be playing into the MTA management hands.
Added 10/25/2006 The The New York Daily News reported that the MTA has spent $1.2 million in legal fees to an outside law firm. The Proskauer Rose firm plays a role in the ongoing negotiations with the TWU. The MTA claims that although they have a number of lawyers on staff, the intensity and high stakes in the contract talks makes it necessary to use the law firm, which is used by many companies in labor talks.
Added 11/9/2006 The The New York Daily News reported that "Transit strike leader Roger Toussaint's top rival in the union has collected more than 13,000 election petition signatures, officials said yesterday - indicating the labor leader faces a formidable challenge."
Added 11/11/2006 In a related issue, the The New York Daily News reported that the MTA will ask President Bush to appoint a federal panel to hear and recommend possible contract terms between the MNCRR and the union representing 3400 machinists. This is in accordance with the Federal Railway Act, under which the MNCRR falls. The union is looking for equal pay for equal work with the TWU.
Added 11/13/2006 In a strange twist, the The New York Daily News reported that TWU President Roger Toussaint had a secret agreement with the MTA before he called off the strike. Because many politicians didn't want negotiations to continue while the strike was in progress, the deal was kept secret. It was thought that the strike was called off, then the deal finalized. Toussaint's chief rival for election, John Samuelsen, was amazed that the labor boss didn't reveal the terms of the secret agreement sooner.
Added 12/10/2006 The The New York Daily News published a winner and loser list recapping the strike of a year ago. Including status of the main players, Union President Roger Toussaint, MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow, and Judge Theodore Jones, who imposed fines on the union for the strike.
Added 12/16/2006 It looks like it's finally done. The The New York Daily News reported double good news for TWU President Roger Toussaint. The union has ratified the contract and re-elected him for another term. With 90% of the vote counted, Toussaint had an insurmountable lead over chief rival Barry Roberts and three other candidates. The contract was settled by veteran arbitrator George Nicolau. As is the case in these situations, both sides, the TWU and MTA are claiming victory. The cotract is almost the same as the one rejected by the union by seven votes. See the artlcle for the details. The big news, the members who bought into the 'One Time Only' pension scam will get their money refunded. The new contract expires after the holiday in 2008-9 on January 15, 2009.
Late in 2007, the TWU has been requesting through the courts to regain the dues check off, one of the penalties for striking. Without it, the union representatives in the field must beg the members for dues, rather than having it taken from the employees' pay checks. The city has countered that the reinstatement would be acceptable to them, if the union promises not to strike in the future.
November 8, 2007- The judge ruled against the union of the issue of dues checkoff. He said that the union wouldn't promise to not strike.
What's NewApril 12, 2008, the Daily News in an editorial reported that TWU Local 100 has a $5.5 million deficit mainly because less than 16,000 members were paid up with dues. This is because of the loss of the dues check-off lost because of the strike. The MTA will restore the check-off if the union promise no future strikes. The Union will not make such a promise.


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Saturday April 12, 2008
Copyright © 2008 by Joseph D. Korman