As we’ve said (repeatedly), the new labor contract betwen the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Transport Workers Union, decided by a panel of state arbitrators yesterday, is an outrageous giveaway.

But just as outrageous was the suggestion that two arbitrators — John Zuccotti, representing the public, and Roger Toussaint, representing the TWU — made in how the MTA should pay for the deal, which will cost nearly $465* million more in higher wages alone by three years’ time.

First, the arbitrators refered to the bailout that the MTA received from state taxpayers three months ago, saying that “in considering ‘the impact of the panel’s award on the financial ability of the public employer to pay …,’ this panel points to the state’s financial assistance package that was passed on May 7, 2009.”

Second, the arbitrators pointed to a bill that President Obama signed in June, which “permits the MTA to utilize 10 percent of the federal stimulus funds it has been allocated toward operating expenses. As the MTA has been allocated $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds … the MTA could … use $110 million toward operating expenses.”

Third, the arbitrators said that the MTA could “manage its capital programs to meet better its overall financial requirements,” perhaps through “a deferral of its capital programs, which it has done numerous times in the past, particularly when faced with cost overruns or budget constraints.”

In sum, then, the two arbitrators (a third, NYU prof Dall Forsythe, representing the MTA, dissented) want New York’s economy to suffer without adequate new investment and improvements to an outdated, aging transit system, so that well-paid union members can receive compensation packages that would be generous to a fault in the private sector.

And they want New Yorkers to pay higher taxes — such as the new $1.5 billion payroll tax included in the recent bailout — for this purpose.


But blaming the arbitrators distracts from who deserves the ultimate blame — Gov. Paterson, for not holding the line on wages and benefits during negotiations, and for helping push the contract to arbitration in the first place, which helps him avoid accountability now.

*corrected from an earlier version.


You may also like

New Docs Raise Big Questions About NY’s Megafab Mega-Deal

The Hochul Administration published a pair of documents concerning the Micron Megafab deal that raise more questions than they answer. Read More

City union scandal isn’t NY’s first

One of New York City’s largest public-sector unions has been effectively taken over by its national parent after an audit revealed extensive financial mismanagement. It’s the latest example of misconduct made possible under New York’s public-sector collective bargaining rules that force the government to collect hundreds of millions of dollars annually without any safeguards on how the funds are spent.  Read More

Firefighter-rights bill torches local control

Two of Albany’s most-vetoed concepts are headed toward Governor Hochul’s desk, this time concealed as a “firefighter bill of rights.”  Read More

Still-Unreleased Union Deal Rains Cash on State Workers

The still-unreleased deal between the Hochul Administration and the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), state government’s largest group of unionized workers, would award bonuses, backpay, and guaranteed raises the next three years, documents sent to union members show. Read More

MTA: Overtime down, take our word for it

Every year for over a decade, the Empire Center has submitted Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the payrolls of MTA corporate subsidiaries. And in almost every one o Read More

Thanks to Unions, NYC’s School Reopening Deal Was Costly and Educationally Hazardous

New York City schools reopened this fall under terms dictated by the city's teacher and principal unions. Now, as city schools close -- once more at the unions' behest -- the city is left with thousands of extra teachers hi Read More

De Blasio’s (Apparent) Good Move Dissolves Into Phony “Savings”

Late Thursday, as hailed in this space, Mayor de Blasio finally made a decisive move—or at least seemed to make a move—in the direction of actually saving some money on labor costs by getting tough with a powerful (and powerfully self-entitled) municipal union. Read More

Cahill Charges Are An Indictment Of Cuomo’s Policies

Yesterday’s indictment of the state’s top construction union official on federal corruption charges raises a big question: if private companies are paying bribes to avoid having to work with certain construction unions, why is Governor Cuomo insisting that the state keep doing it? Read More

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!