After two years of negotiations, the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Transport Workers’ union have reached a tentative agreement on wage increases for New York City’s subway and bus employees. The new contract proposes an eight percent raise for about 34,000 employees to be implemented over the next five years.
Raises wouldn’t affect proposed fare increases, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement this afternoon.
Per the governor’s office: Under the terms of the agreement, TWU workers would receive increases within the 2% cap that Governor Cuomo has achieved with state labor contracts (1% increase in each of the first 2 years, beginning with 2012, and 2% increases in the last 3 years). Employees would pay an increased share of health care costs - increasing from 1.5% to 2% percent of the employee’s salary - but would receive important new benefits including paid maternity/paternity leave, coverage of health care for surviving spouses of deceased TWU retirees, and improvements to dental and optical benefits.
Despite Cuomo’s insistence that future fares wouldn't be affected, the Wall Street Journal reported the agency’s budget had been set through 2017 prior to the agreement.
"The MTA had earlier raised the possibility of a much higher fare increase, one at double the rate of inflation," the Straphangers Campaign said in a statement. "In the wake of widespread public outrage, the MTA pledged no more than a four percent increase, and possibly even less if the agency's finances continued to improve."