Posts Tagged ‘GO 505’

SMART GO 505 prepares to strike LIRR

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Simon

Following the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Jan. 15 announcement that it is rejecting a proposed series of wage increases for unionized employees on the Long Island Rail Road, SMART Transportation Division General Committee of Adjustment GO 505 has signaled that its members are prepared to strike as early as March 21.

The wage increases and other recommendations were the findings of Presidential Emergency Board 244, which was appointed by President Barack Obama to settle a long-running dispute between LIRR management and its unionized employees.

“With the guidance and support of our SMART International Union, along with the teamwork and solidarity of our brothers and sisters from the sheet metal side of SMART, the Transportation Communications Union and the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, 70 percent of the represented workforce on LIRR is prepared to deliver on the actions allowable by the process of self-help, as per the Railway Labor Act,” said GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon.

“In addition, we have the support of Transport Workers Union Local 100, which demonstrates an overwhelming sign of solidarity from labor to MTA.”

“Due to the MTA’s unwillingness to accept the recommendations of PEB 244, and without their request for a second board, our labor coalition is prepared to strike as early as March 21. While we have said time and time again that this is not what labor wants for the riders at the MTA, it will be the sole result of the MTA’s unwillingness to take the next step.”

The three board members recommended that the LIRR pay wage increases totaling 18.4 percent over six years (2.9 percent per year) and that employees begin contributing to health insurance premium costs. After factoring in the recommended employee health insurance contributions, the board’s recommendations will produce net wage increases of 2.5 percent per year.

The board’s wage recommendations are retroactive to the first year of the contract dispute, which has been ongoing for more than three years. The board rejected MTA’s demand that workers accept three years of net zero wage increases, followed by two, two-percent increases over five years.

The board also rejected MTA’s demand for major concessions in pensions, including a permanent five-percent employee contribution.

In its recommendations issued Dec. 22, the PEB said the wage increases were comparable to recent commuter settlements in large cities like Chicago and Boston.

Simon said that since its Jan. 15 announcement, the MTA has refused to say if it would seek a second PEB and has declined to meet with him or leaders of any of the other affected unions in the bargaining group.

“Strong leadership requires strong action. Now is the time our SMART membership, and the membership of our supporting unions, realize that we are ready to deliver. Ready for March 21 … or with MTA action, ready for the next step.”

“We need the full support of our members and their full trust in their leadership. The-long standing battle cry for labor has never been more true, ‘progress through unity.’”

To view the complete PEB report, click here.

GO 505 delivers gift for autism services

Officers and members of SMART Transportation Division General Committee of Adjustment GO 505 on the Long Island Rail Road Dec. 18 delivered a $5,000 check to support a program for autistic children in the Town of Islip, N.Y.

The donation adds to the committee’s yearly commitment to autism services in the local community, which it is proud to serve with reliable and safe transportation.

As reported earlier this year, GO 505 sponsors a golf outing annually to raise funds for Autism Speaks and autism services in Long Island, N.Y. Autism Speaks is a leading autism science and advocacy organization dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism.

While supporting research to assist in the continued efforts to aid families affected by autism, SMART leadership of the committee was determined to set additional funds aside to give to families in the local community, General Chairperson Anthony Simon said.

Simon, Vice General Chairperson Vinnie Tessitore and Local Chairperson Michael Denn met with Town of Islip Councilman Anthony Senft Jr. to learn about a new program in the community called Inclusive Sports and Fitness (ISF). The program, founded and managed by Alexander Lopez, utilizes mentoring and therapeutic principals inherent in sports to foster positive personal, social, and physical growth in an inclusive way for all children.

“On behalf of our railroad union members, we are pleased to assist in getting this program expanded to assist more children in our community. SMART members are proud to give back to the neighbors we serve,” Simon said.

lirr_autism_services 

SMART Transportation Division GO 505 officers Anthony Simon, Vinnie Tessitore and Michael Denn
present a check to Alexander Lopez, with the support and appreciation of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Town of Islip Councilmen Senft and Flotteron. Also pictured are Inclusive Sports and Fitness volunteers and children enrolled in the program.

PEB 244 issues recommendations in LIRR dispute

whitehouselogoPresidential Emergency Board 244 issued its recommendations Dec. 21 for settling a dispute between the Long Island Rail Road and its unionized employees represented by the SMART Transportation Division and several other labor unions.

The board’s recommendations are non-binding and the parties now have 120 days to reach agreement based on the recommendations.

The three board members recommended that the LIRR pay wage increase totaling 18.4 percent over six years (2.9 percent per year) and employees begin contributing to health insurance premium costs. After factoring in the recommended employee health insurance contributions, the board’s recommendations would still produce net wage increases of 2.5 percent per year.

anthony_Simon_web

Simon

“Obviously, I am satisfied with the board’s findings,” said SMART TD GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon. “The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Rail Road management had been demanding three years of ‘net zero’ wage increases and larger contributions to our health and welfare plans. They were also seeking numerous work-rule changes to our contract, which the board rejected. This is a ‘home run’ for the employees we represent.”

“All unions on LIRR will accept the board’s recommendations – although they’re not everything that we bargained for – so we can avoid any inconvenience to the riding public,” Simon said. “We hope the MTA will do the same.”

“I thank SMART General President Joe Nigro, SMART Transportation Division President John Previsich, Vice President John Lesniewski, Vice General Chairperson Vinnie Tessitore Jr. and the entire negotiating committee from GO 505 for their support and guidance during this process.”

In its report to the President Barack Obama, the board stated that, “It simply cannot be concluded that the MTA’s current financial position is one in which it is unable to pay for wage adjustments that are otherwise warranted.”

The board’s wage recommendations are retroactive to the first year of the contract dispute, which has been ongoing for more than three years. The board rejected MTA’s demand that workers accept three years of net zero wage increases, followed by two, two-percent increases over five years.

The board also rejected MTA’s demand for major concessions in pensions, including a permanent five percent employee contribution.

The PEB also rejected MTA’s demand that retirees begin paying for health insurance and that railroad retirement disability pensions be offset by LIRR’s pension payments.

PEB recommendations include that employees begin contributing to health insurance premium costs, beginning at one percent of 40 hours straight-time pay, at the contract’s opening date of June 16, 2010, and increasing by .25 percent increments each year thereafter. MTA had proposed larger employee contributions, while the affected unions had proposed no contributions from current employees.

If no agreement is reached, the company or the governor of New York can ask for a second PEB to be appointed, whose recommendations would also be non-binding. If no agreement between LIRR and its unions is reached following the second PEB’s recommendations, the unions would be free to strike.

Simon said he did not expect that a second PEB’s findings would be much different from that of the first.

The board’s recommendations come after holding hearings for a full week that began Dec. 2.

“After an intensive and relentless week of deliberations, I can say that our organization left no stones unturned during these proceedings,” Simon said at the time. “We presented an excellent case before the board and we are determined to fight for our members in order to obtain a fair and well-deserved agreement for all,” he said.

The board’s members included chairman Ira F. Jaffe, Roberta Golick and Arnold M. Zack.

To view the complete PEB report, click here.

Presidential Emergency Board 244 proceedings begin

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Anthony Simon

Following years of failed negotiations with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Long Island Rail Road, the official proceedings of Presidential Emergency Board 244 (PEB 244) began Dec. 2, 2013, at the New York Hilton in New York City.

MTA had been seeking three years of “net zero” wage increases and major concessions from labor on pension contributions, health and welfare contributions and work rule changes.

The past week’s hearings, including testimony from various industry and financial experts, legal counsel and union leadership, were a clear indication of the commitment of the SMART Transportation Division’s leadership to its membership of General Committee of Adjustment 505 on the Long Island Rail Road.

GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon was joined by Transportation Division President John Previsich, Transportation Division Vice President John Lesniewski and members of GO 505 throughout the hearings as a coalition of unions worked tirelessly throughout the week to prepare and deliver labor’s case and arguments before the board.

Simon has maintained a commitment to utilize the process of the Railway Labor Act in obtaining a fair agreement for the 2,500 SMART members employed on the LIRR.

“After an intensive and relentless week of deliberations, I can say that our organization left no stones unturned during these proceedings. We presented an excellent case before the board and we are determined to fight for our members in order to obtain a fair and well-deserved agreement for all,” he said.

SMART International Representative Charles Fraley and SMART General Chairman John McCloskey were also in attendance and participated in the process, showing solidarity among the transportation and sheet metal divisions of SMART. SMART General President Joe Nigro has been kept informed of all matters in this ongoing dispute and has been supportive throughout the process, Simon said.

The board was provided an extensive history relative to other agreements in the industry, along with detailed financial information relative to the MTA’s ability to meet labor’s demands. The MTA has a robust financial plan that includes service restorations and extensive capital improvements, while standing firm on its unwillingness to provide wage increases to its represented workforce.

LIRR members’ golf tourney supports autism research

The UTU’s Long Island Rail Road General Committee of Adjustment GO 505 is hosting it annual golf classic on May 13 to benefit families on Long Island affected by autism.

The gold classic will tee off at 9:30 a.m. at the Hamlet Wind Watch Golf & Country Club in Hauppauge, N.Y., and GO 505 is seeking both sponsors and participants for the event.

The cost for participation in the tournament is $225 per person, which includes breakfast, 18 holes of golf with cart, drinks, snacks, cocktails and buffet dinner with dessert.

Four sponsorship levels are available ranging in cost from $150 to $600.

To download a tournament registration and sponsorship form, click here.

A portion of GO 505’s golf tournament proceeds will support Autism Speaks, a leading autism science and advocacy organization dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism.

“We look forward to spending a day in solidarity with members from our organization as well as other labor organizations in our area. We also appreciate the support and friendship of businesses and associates we work with every day to provide safe and efficient transportation on Long Island,” said GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon.

The number of tournament participants is limited. All golf reservations will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact GO 505 Vice General Chairperson Vinnie Tessitore at (631) 661-3500.

To learn more about Autism Speaks, visit www.autismspeaks.org.

Sister of LIRR GC Anthony Simon dies

The sister of UTU General Chairperson Anthony Simon (Long Island Rail Road, GO 505) died Sept. 15 following a long-struggle with cancer.

Cards of condolence may be sent to Simon at his general committee office at Suite 3, 200-B West Main St., Babylon, N.Y. 11702.