Sunday, March 2, 2008

What Does New Blue Ribbon Panel Mean for our 2009 Contract and the Future of Transit Workers in New York State?

On Thursday, January 17 2007, MTA Chairman Eliot Sander and TWU President Roger Toussaint announced a new blue ribbon panel with the purpose of improving labor relations between the MTA and TWU.

President Toussaint went so far as to say "I think we will resolve the next round of negotiations without a crisis," Toussaint said, calling the day a "milestone.”One has to wonder how Mr. Toussaint came to this conclusion as the stated mission of this panel is to assist MTA leadership in identifying ways to improve efficiency and address the current and future issues that impact the workforce so that the MTA’s mission and vision are achieved.

Nowhere are workers or TWU part of the mission.

The seven person panel, who will have a heavy influence over the lives of transit workers consists of former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch, and long time labor mediator and arbitrator Hezekiah Brown as co- chairs. The panel also includes state Labor Commissioner Patricia Smith; MTA Chief of Staff Myrna Ramon; MTA board member Susan Metzger, who recently made news with her lack of respect for transit riders; Robert Paaswell, Director of the City College-based University Transportation Research Center, and Sonia Toledo. Also on the panel is Robert B. Catell, Chairman, President and CEO of Key Span Energy Corporation, who is one of Forbes highest paid CEOs (at over 12 million dollars in salary over the past five years.)

Some key items:
1. Workforce Development: There are 16 recommendations in this area of the report - only one of which deals directly with workers - that includes identifying additional training needs, and creating a committee to develop joint programs.
2. Development Succession: There are nine recommendations in this section of the report.
3. Employee Availability: There are 12 recommendations in this section of the report, most of which deal with employees.
4. Labor Management Relations: There are eight recommendations in this section, most of which are already in the contract in one form or the other.
5. Organizational Culture: There are sixteen recommendations in this section, most of which deal with employee recognition. The panel also calls for an MTA-wide culture, as each of the seven MTA agencies has its own unique organizational culture.

More on this topic: Read the report: Workforce Development Report
Opinions & Feedback: Does The Workforce Development Report Work for The Transit Worker?

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1 comment:

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