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Let workers keep pay hike, say two MTA board members

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By Pete Donohue

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

 

Thursday, September 17th 2009, 9:53 AM

MTA should stop trying to void a transit workers contract featuring generous wage increases, two of the authority's board members said Wednesday.

 

Last month, an arbitration panel approved the raises and a reduction in health care contributions by union members after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the union failed to craft a contract deal through negotiations.

 

After the award was released, MTA executives blasted it as too costly. They asked a judge to toss out the pact, saying the panel made legal and factual errors.

 

MTA board members Norman Seabrook and Mitchell Pally said the authority should take its medicine and live with the contract's terms.

 

The court challenge sends a "clear message to all municipal workers in the city and state that managers want to have their cake and eat it, too - that if a decision comes down they don't like, they'll take you to court and strip you of it," Seabrook said.

 

Workers' pay rates would rise by more than 11% by the end of the three-year deal, while their health care contributions would decrease.

 

Seabrook, president of the correction officers union, yesterday introduced a motion in a closed-door executive session to halt the court challenge. The motion was tabled for further discussion next week.

 

As expected, the MTA board also approved, in a 7-to-1 vote, a $350,000 annual salary for incoming Chairman Jay Walder and a hefty severance package if he is ousted without cause before his six-year term expires.

 

Mayor Bloomberg signaled symbolic opposition, with his four board representatives abstaining from the vote.

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MTA board members Norman Seabrook and Mitchell Pally said the authority should take its medicine and live with the contract's terms.

 

The court challenge sends a "clear message to all municipal workers in the city and state that managers want to have their cake and eat it, too - that if a decision comes down they don't like, they'll take you to court and strip you of it," Seabrook said.

 

...

 

Seabrook, president of the correction officers union, yesterday introduced a motion in a closed-door executive session to halt the court challenge. The motion was tabled for further discussion next week.

 

Good to see someone with some sense in a position of power. Maybe there's hope after all...

 

Mayor Bloomberg signaled symbolic opposition, with his four board representatives abstaining from the vote.

 

Then again maybe not...

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