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.

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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.

whitehouselogo Presidential 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.

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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.

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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.

anthony_Simon_web
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.

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Simon

The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Oct. 21 rejected a proffer of arbitration from the National Mediation Board to SMART Transportation Division’s General Committee of Adjustment GO 505, which represents a variety of crafts on the Long Island Rail Road in New York.

“After three years of difficult negotiations, the two sides are far apart on the major issues of wages, health and welfare and pension contributions,” said GO 505 General Chairperson Anthony Simon. “This release is a major step in getting us on the right path to obtaining a fair deal.”

Simon thanked Transportation Division President John Previsich for his continued assistance throughout the negotiations and SMART General President Joe Nigro for his ongoing support.

“Our organization has been working closely with SMART Sheet Metal Division General Chairperson John McCloskey and the leadership of the Transportation Communications Union and the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers in obtaining a positive outcome for LIRR workers,” Simon said. “Together in solidarity, our organization will continue to work at obtaining a fair contract for our members. I ask for the continued support of our membership as we go through these very challenging times.”

GO 505 represents conductors, car inspectors, car repairmen, car appearance maintainers, track workers, track supervisors and special service attendants employed by LIRR.

Anthony Simon, general chairperson on Long Island Rail Road, has been elected to a four-year term as chairperson of District 1 of the UTU’s Association of General Chairpersons.

District 1 is made up of some 190 railroad general chairpersons. Its purpose is to formulate concerted movements relating to wages, rules and working conditions of transportation service employees represented by the UTU.

Simon succeeds BNSF General Chairperson Randy Knutson (GO 245).

Simon, a member of Local 645, Babylon, N.Y., began his railroad career on LIRR in 1990. He was promoted to conductor in 1993.

He became interested in the affairs of his union and was elected Local 645 secretary in 1998, local secretary & treasurer in 2000, and general chairperson in 2007. He was re-elected Long Island Rail Road general chairperson by acclamation in 2011.

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.