9:50 am Jun. 19, 2012
Six months after a Transport Workers Union contract expired, M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota is doing something he's been thus far reluctant to: negotiate with the union in public.
Today, in a New York Post opinion piece, Lhota asked the union for a three-year wage freeze, arguing that the M.T.A.'s finances are precarious, other expenses have been reduced dramatically, the riding public and local businesses have already been burdened with tax and fare increases, and "Now it’s time for labor to be part of the solution."
The op-ed suggests a growing rift between the union and the authority.
Lhota has sought to cultivate a warm relationship with T.W.U. head John Samuelson. And until now, Lhota has been reluctant to talk about contract negotiations on the record.
When, in February, the Post reported that the M.T.A. had agreed to give subway operators more time off after hitting someone, the agency issued a statement saying, "It is the MTA's policy not to negotiate through the press."
Apparently, something has changed.
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