Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Since the rejection of the tentative agreement we have received many concerned calls and emails from members worried about what will happen next. Some were fears of an imminent strike while others were disappointed they did not see increases in their past few pay checks. Let me assure you that we are working hard on the issue.
The first step was to get a day to day contract extension which we got. This will ensure the current rules, pay levels, and benefits contributions from the previous contract will remain while we continue the negotiations process. This was an important first step because without it, operators would be at the mercy of the MTA managers without any contract terms to protect them.
When the tentative agreement was rejected, all the articles went back on the table. With a low voter turnout, it gives the MTA the impression that our members don’t care and that we have no solidarity which I whole heartedly disagree with. Whether true or not, it left your negotiating team with a very weak bargaining position.
Since then I have spent a great deal of time and effort working with your Local Chairs to ensure that we don’t lose any of the gains we made in the last tentative agreement. I am extremely proud of the work we did in crafting the new work rules in Article 27 and I would hate to lose any of those gains in the next agreement. Other transportation unions have gone on strike to get a fraction of what we accomplished in terms of work rules and those rules will serve as a model for other bargaining units in the future.
We are also working hard to ensure we don’t lose anything on the financial side of the tentative agreement as well. I know we got every dollar we could from the MTA. $85 Million is more than 4 times what we got in our last contract and it represents a lot in pay and medical benefits security for members and their families. We have met this week with the MTA and will meet again next week to discuss options in the area of pay and benefits structure so that we meet the goals given to us by the members.
To ensure we are able to reach every member with the next tentative agreement, please make sure that your union has an updated address and contact information. You can contact us through our website GCA875SMART.org or by calling the union offices direct at 626-962-9980.
James A Williams