Updated 11/15/2011 11:45 PM
MTA And Transit Workers Begin Talks On New Contract
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Talks between the Transport Workers Union and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began in Midtown on Tuesday to reach a new contract agreement that will cover 34,000 workers.
Both groups came to an agreement earlier in the year, but it will expire on January 15.
The TWU invited management to hear their concerns, including a wage increase and a no layoffs clause.
"First and foremost, regardless of what other unions have done in this city, we are going to fight tooth and nail for a fair wage increase," said TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen.
The union members also said the MTA is paying too much for debt service.
MTA Executive Chairman Nominee Joseph Lhota had only headed the agency for two days, but nevertheless he presided over the talks and had high praise for the transit workers.
"You stepped up, all of you stepped up in a big way during Hurrican Irene, working tirelessly to secure the worksites, get our system down, get our system up and running again in record time after our first planned shutdown in history," said Lhota.
Lhota also said the two groups need to find creative ways to keep wages fair during tough economic times for the MTA.
Both sides are presenting their formal proposals next week.