– MTA asks judge to kill contract for transit workers

New York Daily News


MTA asks judge to kill contract for transit workers over blunders made in evaluating finances

by Pete Donohue
Daily News Staff Writer

The MTA has urged a judge to toss out the transit workers contract, claiming it could cause higher fares, service cuts or maintenance reductions.

In legal papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, transit officials also say the arbitration panel that crafted the contract last month made critical blunders when evaluating the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s finances.

In one instance, the panel said the MTA has a $75 million rainy-day fund, which the authority says has been drained.

“The MTA simply does not have the money to pay for the ramped-up, out-of-scale unbudgeted costs…without foisting upon the public some very unpleasant choices regarding fares, service levels…and maintenance of the system,” the MTA argues.

At the end of the three-year contract, transit workers’ income will rise by more than 11%.

The arbitration panel majority – outgoing transit union President Roger Toussaint and former Deputy Mayor John Zuccotti – also included a provision lowering workers’ health care contributions.

Even with new funds authorized by Gov. Paterson and the Legislature, MTA fiscal plans are precariously balanced and the “huge” pay hikes will tip the scales.

The MTA is again being represented by its longtime labor-law experts from the Proskauer Rose law firm.

Union officials argued the wages are justified in part because the Bloomberg administration has doled out similar increases in recent years to police, firefighters and other city workers.

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