Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that a deal is in place in the long-running labor dispute between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Transport Workers Union, a deal that the union's executive board voted in favor of Thursday evening. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
A tentative deal was reached Thursday between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Transport Workers Union, two sides that had been at odds since the TWU's last contract expired in January 2012.
"It's been a very long two years, a two-year fight," said John Samuelsen, president of TWU Local 100. "The union believes that we've achieved many of the goals that we set out to achieve."
After getting no raises since 2011, more than 34,000 transit workers would get 8 percent more, spread out over five years. That includes retroactive bumps of 1 percent for the first two years, followed by 2 percent raises for the next three.
However, the deal also calls for workers to pay more in health care costs, 2 percent of their salary, up from the current 1.5 percent.
As for riders, the MTA said there will be no fare hikes beyond those already planned for 2015 and 2017.
"What we have here is a fair wage settlement for our employees," said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast. "Most importantly, no impact on fares, and it's an agreement that is consistent with our financial plan."
It didn't happen until Samuelsen publicly petitioned the governor for help in breaking the stalemate.
"We got to a point within the last 48 hours where we could get there, and we got there," Prendergast said.
That's quite a departure from fiery rallies where union workers vowed that there would be no retreat on their demands, and where MTA management said no deal could happen without workers agreeing to vast concessions.
As for any threat of another crippling transit strike like the one in 2005 that cost the TWU $2.5 million in fines, that thought can be tucked away for now.
Cuomo praised the transit workers, calling them the "epitome of great public servants" and citing their efforts in restoring the transit system after Hurricane Sandy.