With just a few days left before the Jan. 8th deadline for TWU Local 100 members to mail in their ballot on the pending MTA contract, union leadership remained confident about the outcome.
“We’re out there explaining the contract and are confident the members will ratify it,” the union said in a statement.
Will Be Counted Jan. 9
The balloting is being conducted by the American Arbitration Association.
Ballots were mailed out Dec. 18. Members who did not receive one through the mail have until 5 p.m. Jan. 3 to call the AAA hotline at 1-800-529-5218 to request a ballot.
The results will be tabulated on Jan. 9 by the AAA at their offices at 120 Broadway at 9 a.m. Only mailed in ballots will be counted.
Back in 2017 the contract was approved by a more-than 2-to-1 margin with fewer than half of the 32,700 eligible members casting a ballot.
One female Local 100 member with six years on the job, said that as of Jan. 2 she had not made up her mind.
“I do hear folks saying to vote ‘no’ but if we vote it down it could go to arbitration and then you don’t what you are going to get,” she said. “So, if I had to vote right now, I would lean toward voting yes.”
'Could've Been Worse'
A subway Conductor was a definite yes, explaining, “Hey, it could have been worse,” he said. “I am not one of those that cries about it.”
A third New York City Transit worker said that he also had still not gotten his ballot through the mail.
“The truth is I haven’t given it much thought,” he said, adding that not getting the ballot had made it easier to ignore the issue.
The deal, which provides raises of 9.8 percent over four years, was approved last month by Local 100’s executive board by a 42-to-4 vote, with 3 abstentions. The contract still in effect expired on May 16.
Under the tentative accord, union members would get a 2-percent raise retroactive to May 16, 2019, followed by a 2.25-percent hike next May, a 2.5-percent increase in the third year, and a 2.75-percent bump effective May 16, 2022.
Local 100 President Tony Utano said after the deal was reached, “At the end of the contract, if a guy is making $30 an hour, he will see a $3-an-hour raise."
On social media platforms both the Progressive Action and the Transit Workers United slates that opposed Mr. Utano in the last union election continued to press their case for rank-and-file members to vote no and send the union back to the bargaining table.
“By the members voting yes because they believe that’s the best the union leadership is capable is just enabling leadership to set a bad pattern as they did in the last two contracts,” said Joe Campbell, who led the Transit Workers United slate.
Bus Operator Roberto Martinez, who ran on the Progressive Action slate said that he had received numerous complaints from Local 100 members that they had not yet received their ballots.
He said in a phone interview, “This antiquated and archaic mail-in ballot system is equivalent to voter suppression. Face it, we are in 2020 and the next union election is in 2021 and we will still not be doing secure electronic on-line voting.”