By Philip Newman
In a record affirmative vote, thousands of Transport Workers Union members, who operate subways and buses, have approved a new five-year contract.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board added its unanimous approval at its monthly meeting Wednesday.
John Samuelsen, president of Local 100 of the TWU, beamed as the union election returns were announced at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Brooklyn Monday.
“That is the largest yes vote in the history of Local 100,” Samuelsen said of the 82 percent vote, adding that it bodes well for unity in the Local.
The agreement provides wage raises totaling 8 percent dating back to 2012. The MTA’s 34,000 employees had been working without a contract since then.
For years, the MTA financial plan was for no raises for wages and benefits for employees so serious was the transit agency’s money problems.
But the two sides announced April 17 that they had reached an agreement with mediation assistance from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Meanwhile, speculation increased about the possible effects of the settlement on negotiations between the Long Island Rail Road and its unions.
For the second time, a White House-appointed mediation committee rejected a suggested proposal of a 17 percent raise at the LIRR. Such proposals are non-binding.
Without a settlement, the 300,000 LIRR employees could strike July 20.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 718-260-4536.