Details of TWU, MTA 4-year contract deal that avoids potential strike

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Details are emerging of the tentative deal after leaders of the MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 100 reached an agreement to avoid a strike.

The unionized workforce will get a four year contract that is retroactive to May of this year, with annual wage increases of 2%, 2.25%, 2.5%, and 2.75%.

Their heath benefit contributions will not increase and will remain at 2%.

"This contract reflects the hard work of thousands of transit employees who have helped us reach the highest on-time subway performance in more than half a decade, while providing a fair deal for taxpayers and our more than eight million daily customers," MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye said. "The tentative agreement is responsive to the financial challenges we face and addresses important issues such as accessibility, overtime and healthcare costs."

The TWU contract calls for better overtime management, allowing workers to swap shifts for the first time. This provision alone is expected to save more than $17 million a year and, through an incentive program, the union will share in the savings.

In addition, TWU has agreed to work with MTA management and disability advocates to speed-up elevator installation, maintenance and other accessibility projects.

"We had a real fight on our hands, but transit workers stood together and we were able to secure a fair contract," TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said. "Our Executive Board overwhelmingly approved the tentative agreement this morning. The American Arbitration Association will now conduct a ratification vote with members receiving ballots in the mail."

The drivers of articulated buses will get a $1 per hour increase over above the raises.

The agreement also allows third-party contractors to provide a one-time deep cleaning of up to 180 subway stations.

The MTA and TWU will work together to increase public awareness of assaults on transit workers, advocate for increased usage of existing provisions in state law that classify worker assaults as a felony, and create a task force that includes partners in law enforcement to ensure these issues receive necessary attention and that all parties have a sustained focus on solutions.

New York City Transit and TWU will also cooperate to explore the use of new technologies to increase track worker and flagger safety.

The contract covers more than 30,000 TWU employees working for NYC Transit and 6,600 employees of the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, which include bus operators, maintainers, cleaners, maintainers and other employees who work out of seven bus depots in Manhattan and the Bronx.

The union's executive board met Thursday and "overwhelmingly" approved the tentative contract, according to a spokesperson.

The board recommended ratification by the membership by a vote of 42-4, and ballots will be mailed beginning next week to the rank and file members.

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