LIRR workers, they haven't been so direct as to say it to your face, but the MTA thinks you are ignorant and stupid. How else could they could they ignore PEB 244 and PEB 245?
We are entering the final throes of negotiation between the LIRR and its union workers, just days away from a strike, and I am appalled at how the MTA thinks the public has the memory and comprehension of a gnat. The MTA continues to beat the party drum, saying “When the union workers are ready to compromise and talk, we are here.” That is ridiculous. It is also untrue, because the unions have followed the rules, agreed to compromise and been rebuffed at every attempt. I am reminded of my nine year old demanding dessert when that was conditioned on eating dinner – which still sits on the plate in front of him.
After not having a real wage increase since 1998, when taking inflation into account, the unions sought one years ago. The MTA refused and then the company and the unions went through PEB 244, at the request of the LIRR. The LIRR told that board of three independent federal mediators that they shouldn’t have to pay for both substantive and financial reasons. For days they presented comprehensive explanations of their financial picture. That fair and impartial board determined what was reasonable based on the LIRR’s presentation. The railroad has never claimed they were not allowed to present everything they wanted to. After the board issued their recommendation, the railroad said, “not good enough. We refuse.” They still didn’t want to eat their vegetables before having dessert.
So like a tolerant parent, the federal government sat through PEB 245, where the LIRR presented nothing new, just the same arguments with a retread. The unions said they are willing to accept the federal recommendations. The railroad said they couldn’t pay what the federal board recommended. The same argument they made in PEB 244, but now to three different federal mediators. The outcome? The second board said again that the recommendation was reasonable.
Now we are literally days away from a strike by 5,400 union workers and the MTA public relations machine is in everyone’s face daily saying they are ready to talk when the union is ready to compromise. No mention of the fact that the unions did compromise and agreed to abide by the federal recommendations. It is being spun as if this dispute is of the unions’ making.
To the public, being misled by the MTA PR machine, I say:
Photo by Marc Wietzke
Please remember where this whole dispute started and don’t blame the workers who are asking for a raise when they haven’t had a real one since 1998. Don’t blame the workers for doing what every person would demand in their own right if in the same position. Instead, look at the railroad and its stomping of feet and blinders and ask where their credibility is in light of the facts.