[Marxism] Fw: [gangbox] Fwd: MTA PUSHES FOR BINDING ARBITRATION TO RAM BAD DEAL DOWN WORKERS THROATS
Louis R Godena
louisgodena at ids.net
Sun Jan 22 10:43:28 MST 2006
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Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2006 11:49 AM
Subject: [gangbox] Fwd: MTA PUSHES FOR BINDING ARBITRATION TO RAM BAD DEAL
DOWN WORKERS THROATS
MTA BID TO BREAK IMPASSE
By JEREMY OLSHAN
January 22, 2006 -- Stunned by the transit union's narrow rejection of a
contract, MTA officials said yesterday they will formally request binding
arbitration to settle the dispute.
Meanwhile, transit-union boss Roger Toussaint was missing in action, union
"Nobody knows where he is or what he's doing," said Transport Workers Union
Vice President John Mooney, who led the opposition to the contract. "There
was no plan B. And our executive board is still is not scheduled to meet."
If approved by a state labor board, the MTA's request for arbitration ?
which it will submit tomorrow ? would put the matter in the hands of a
three-member panel. There would be one representative of each side and a
Despite this aggressive move, MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow has not ruled out
renewed talks, if only to temper union posturing about another strike.
Toussaint has repeatedly rejected arbitration, citing fears the union would
fare worse by giving up control.
"Instead, why not give it another month of negotiation," said a source
to the beleaguered president. "What really is the rush?"
In what labor historians say is a first, the TWU went on strike for three
days in December only to reject the results of their efforts. Although this
sent the already fractious union further into disarray, the MTA should not
mistake that for weakness, union leaders said.
"If they've shown anything it's that the members are not going to sit on
sidelines," Mooney said. "We should still hold a strong, militant position.
If the MTA wants to play hardball we have to put the issue of a strike back
on the table."
Toussaint has blamed interference from Gov. Pataki and the "lies" of a
handful of dissidents. Though the union has not released a breakdown of the
decided by a mere seven ballots, insiders say the contract had stronger
support among bus workers than subway workers.
Much of the opposition to the contract was over the provision that for the
first time, members would have to pay for their health coverage with a
contribution of 1.5 percent of their gross earnings.
Once Kalikow requests arbitration, both sides would have 10 days in which
select their representatives on the panel, according to the Public
Employment Relations Board, the arbiters of the state's Taylor Law.
Since Toussaint has already broken his pledge not to work without a
contract, labor experts said the MTA could even stall until new leadership
jeremy.olshan at nypost.com
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