– Angry Transit Workers Slam Bloomberg

Gothmist.com

New York, USA

Is another transit strike looming on the horizon?

Yesterday over 350 furious transit workers took to the streets outside MTA headquarters in protest, some carrying signs like the one seen here. The employees are outraged over an ongoing contract dispute with the MTA board, whose decisions are heavily influenced by the Mayor. The MTA is refusing to accept a plan to raise the hourly pay rate by more than 11 percent over three years; the deal was reached through arbitration in August, but now the MTA is asking a judge to toss it out, claiming that the panel “made legal and factual mistakes.” The raises would cost the MTA 350 million dollars.

Subway station agent Bonita Morgan, who earns $22 an hour after 13 years with NYC Transit, tells the Daily News, “We tried to fight fair. Now the MTA doesn’t want to give us the contract we won in arbitration.” But Curtis Tate, acting president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, stopped short of strike saber-rattling, saying, “We wouldn’t do anything to harm the citizens of New York. We love them. We just want to be treated fairly.” In December 2005, transit workers loved New Yorkers so much that they went on strike for three days.

In other MTA news, more details have emerged on the authority’s plan to relocate residents of some 60 apartments in four buildings on the Upper East Side, to make room for the mythical Second Avenue subway line. The MTA has set aside $10 million for the displaced residents, but payments will vary widely, as some tenants are being forced out of rent-stabilized units they’ve occupied for decades. Still, many are panicked they won’t be able to find comparable homes in the neighborhood. But it will all be worth it on that glorious day in 20?? when east siders can take the subway without walking two blocks over to Lexington.

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