New contract agreement pending between MTA, TWU Local 100

At midnight on January 15th, the contract between MTA and TWU Local 100 expired. After several rocky weeks of negotiations, the MTA and TWU Local 100 found common ground on Monday, January 16th. Although still in the process of ratification, the union’s Executive Board voted 37-6 in support of the agreement according to the TWU Local 100 website. The union heads have expressly stated their support for the tentative contract. An article in The Chief Leader states that once the union members get the contract, the full and final vote on the acceptance or denial of the agreements will take about two weeks.

This comes in the wake of a difficult year for the MTA and TWU Local 100. In November, one employee was critically injured and another was killed on the same day while setting up warning lights for overnight construction. This event was undoubtedly at the forefront of the issues addressed during negotiations. A common theme was that union members did not feel properly compensated for the daily risks they take and possible hazards they are subjected to while operating public transit. The contract’s new guidelines were made to create safer environment for all workers. Several accomplishments of the contract were highlighted on the TWU Local 100 website. Some of them were the 5% raise rate over the life of the contract,  more comfortable uniforms, and lengthened healthcare coverage for workers’ dependents. There are also some benefits specifically for women, considering the ever-growing rate of women in this field. Some of these include improved locker rooms and changing facilities as well as private, comfortable spaces for new mothers to pump breast milk. On top of the supported negotiations, another win was that the tentative agreement has been made before the current MTA President, Thomas Prendergast, is set to retire.

However, members did have their criticisms about certain issues-specifically in relation to the raise and the pensionable bonus at the end of the now-tentative contract. Currently on the table for member approval are two 2.5 % raises and a $500 pensionable bonus once the contract expires. “A survey of several Local 100 members who were on the job last week, and did not want their names used, ranged from an upbeat “I can work with it” to a disapproving “I would have rather had a third 2.5 percent in the third step rather than the $500 in the payout” critique.”, as quoted from The Chief Leader.

TWU Leader Points To Above-Inflation Raises, Other Gains in Pact

Tentative deal reached between MTA, Transport Workers Union

 

 

Columbia grad students win battle to unionize

Some time ago, an article titled Timeline of Tug of War for Graduate Student Unions was posted. This past Friday, the rope was pulled a littler harder in the students direction. Graduate students at Columbia University voted 1,602 to 623 in favor of the move to form a union. This union applies to graduate students who work as teachers or research assistants. Their right to be considered employees has been federally protected since late August, and this development now gives their bark a bit more bite. The United Automobile Workers will be representing close to 4,000 of Columbia’s students. This is in response to a petition signed by the private university’s students last summer and ends the back-and-forth history of graduate student unions. Columbia University has been spearheading this fight since August of this year, when their petition helped overturn a 2004 decision by the National Labor Relations Board stating that graduate students could not be granted the power to unionize. “The ruling held that the assistants could not be considered employees because they “are primarily students and have a primarily educational, not economic, relationship with their university.”, in an article posted on nytimes.com the week after the ruling was officially overturned. The United Automobile Workers will also be representing close to 1,3000 of N.Y.U. graduate students, who accepted their students vote to unionize in 2013. N.Y.U. students move to join the U.A.W comes just three days after Columbia students won their vote. Aside from these two private schools, the U.A.W. represents roughly 30,000 public university research assistants and teachers throughout certain states. The caveat is that it is public, not private, institutions that can choose to let their student workers unionize. Graduate students who work for their private university are now privilege to all the rights afforded by a union! There is no word yet as to when the contract negotiations will start, but the fact that they are starting is what private institutions have been pushing toward for 12 years. Congratulations, Columbia!

Please see the links below for more information.

Columbia Graduate Students Vote Overwhelmingly to Unionize

N.Y.U. Graduate Assistants to Join Auto Workers’ Union

Grad Students Win Right to Unionize in an Ivy League Case

Is there a connection between safety and union vs. non union jobs?

Is there a relation between the recent spike in construction accidents and whether or not these are union or non-union projects? New York City officials want to know. A working theory is that this is because of a difference in union vs. non-union safety regulations. Damning statistics show that not only that more projects in the city are coming from non-union companies, but also that work related accidents in the construction field have gone up in the past two years. This has been highlighted after the recent spike in housing construction in the city. This is coupled with a rise in things like work-stop orders and recorded injuries. Officials are asking that sites and accidents start being recorded as union or non-union to create a way of monitoring the theorized source of these accidents. “The number of construction site incidents increased over the past two years, with 433 accidents and 471 injuries on work sites last year, according to Department of Building figures cited by the New York Daily News. That’s around double what it was in 2014. The city also counted 12 construction site fatalities last year, up from eight in 2014.”, as quoted from an article on The Real Deal, a New York Real Estate website.

Please see the articles posted below for more information.

NYC official urges city to classify construction site accidents as union or nonunion
WSJ: NYC construction unions ‘losing their grip’ on private market
EXCLUSIVE: NYC urged to release info on construction accidents to show whether union jobs are safer
Council committee wants city to record data on accidents at union, nonunion sites