NEW YORK - On the evening of Oct. 25, lower Broadway here became a sea of green as thousands of transport workers wearing green hats filled the street in front of the headquarters of their employer, the New York City Transit division of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to rally for a good contract. The workers were members of TWU Local 100, which represents New York City's bus and subway workers.
Chanting "no contract no peace" the assembled transport workers, filled the area in front of the NYCT headquarters, extended down Broadway and continued down Broad Street.
The rally featured music and the workers heard the union's leaders giving voice to the resolve to accept, "no zeros," referring to managements demand for a wage freeze.
The protest was timed to coincide with the first year anniversary of the Hurricane Sandy that, in addition to other damage, devastated the New York City subway system. In the wake of the hurricane the transit workforce played a vital role in restoring the system, however management took all the credit.
As far as the workers and their leaders see it management's failure to negotiate a fair contract illustrates their complete contempt for the people whose work they want to take all the credit for.
The workers have been without a new contract, and any wage increase, since the expiration of the last one almost two years ago. The employer has not backed off some outrageous demands, including a three year wage freeze for incumbents, inferior wages and benefits for new hires, reduction of the wages of cleaners who already are among the lowest paid of the transit authority's workforce, reducing the size of train crews, hiring part-time bus operators and self funded medical benefits. In other words, the MTA is saying transport workers must "pay" for any raises subsequent to the freeze company is demanding.
For their part the transport workers are firmly rejecting management's demands for a wage freeze.
Photo: (PW/Elena Mora)