To the Editor: The Chief’s Jan 17, 2020 story regarding TWU Local 100’s recently concluded contract ratification incorrectly identifies both the name and potential beneficiaries of an employee availability clause contained within the Memorandum of Understanding voted on. The referenced clause is part of Attachment A, which is titled Employee Availability, not Productivity, and the potential beneficiaries of the new gainsharing scheme are the MTA and the UNION, not the members.

The misnomer of the clause is largely inconsequential, but the implications of having the employees being displaced by the union as a gainsharing beneficiary are not.

The previous iteration of the availability clause (see 2017-2019 MOU) apportioned equal gains among the EMPLOYEES, the MTA and service enhancements to the PUBLIC (EMPLOYEES potentially up to ½ share). The recently ratified contract adds the UNION and drops the PUBLIC and EMPLOYEES from the relevant provision.

Ironically, by supplanting its members as a potential beneficiary the Union de facto extricates a giveback from those that it represents, and even more ironically, it will be the members who will be responsible for any gain realized. Members can only conjecture as to why they didn’t earn a dividend while still holding beneficiary status due to the non-disclosure of baseline usage figures. We can assume that at least a 1.5-day increase in availability was achieved as an extension of a sick cash-out pilot program contingent upon an increase of that magnitude. The pilot was, in fact, continued.

The establishment of the union in lieu of employees as a beneficiary at the very least creates the appearance of a conflict of interest. There now exists a perverse economic incentive for the union to facilitate management’s efforts to discourage and deny members use of various categories of leave time. I don’t believe this will be the case, but to assuage member concerns regarding a possible conflict, the union might do well to be transparent as to the computation and the amount of any gains coming its way, and to ensure that said gains be channeled back to those who earned it.

WALTER COLON


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