MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said he’s confident that the agency will reach an agreement on a new contract with its workers’ union before the current contract expires.
“I’m confident,” he said after an MTA board meeting Wednesday. “We’re always confident…The economy is in much better shape. And we’re in better shape.”
The comments come a day after John Saumuelsen, president of TWU Local 100, threatened to strike if the union’s demands weren’t met before its current contract expires on Jan. 15. Samuelsen rallied with thousands of workers on Tuesday evening outside of MTA headquarters, where the union announced demands for higher pay and better benefits, among other wants.
“Without us, the city grinds to a halt. We make this city go, and we can make it go in the other direction too,” Samuelsen said at the rally. “There is no economic calamity this time. The MTA is actually working with a slight surplus. We demand a fair contract. We demand that they negotiate in good faith so that we get that agreement by Jan. 15. No more waiting. We want an on time contract.”
Union heads, which represent about 38,000 transit workers, said they want the MTA to give raises above the 2% rate of inflation.