Today’s Headlines

  • Deal With TWU Throws MTA Budgeting Out of Whack (NY1, News, Post, NYT)
  • The News Has Some Harsh Words for the Arbitrator Behind the Deal
  • Public Perception of Subway Service Unchanged in Last 10 Years; Most Are Satisfied (AMNY)
  • GM on the ‘230 MPG’ Volt: There’s No Way to Charge It On a City Street (NYT, Streetsblog Cap Hill)
  • City Room Profiles the Budnick Bikeway
  • More on Yesterday’s Debut of Bus Arrival Displays on 34th Street (Post, News, AMNY)
  • John Liu Turns ‘Two Sets of Books’ Into a Campaign Slogan (News)
  • MTA Capital Funding: Where Does the Money Come From? (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Jay Walder to Face Confirmation Hearings This Fall; Kruger Rubs Hands in Anticipation (Politicker)
  • A Busier Columbia Waterfront Port Has Neighbors Worried About Truck Traffic (Bklyn Eagle)
  • Eat Your Heart Out, Jersey Mayors: 6 Nassau County Workers Nabbed in Ticket-Fixing Ring (Newsday)

Catch more headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill — including the latest on the Cash for Clunkers debacle

  • Larry Littlefield

    RE: The TWU Raise via the New York Times:

    “The arbitration panel said the authority could use federal stimulus funds and money from its capital program to make up any shortfall in its operating budget.”

    There is your precedent. By law, arbitrators are not permitted to consider the effect on the quality of public services like transit in their decisions. Nor do they consider what private sector workers are paid. Only what other public sector workers are paid, and the taxpayers ability to pay.

    If the capital program can be diverted to operating costs, and it is borrowed money, therefore, the operating budget is unlimited with no effect on taxpayers.

    Anyone here going to be thrilled with all the innovative studies by consulants over the next couple of decade, as the system decays and no improvements are built? Anyone even mentioning proposals for improved service shows they are willing to go along, and be unpleasantly surprised down the road, blaming future leaders.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I hope all you racists out there are busting your butts to serve the TWU, after all as Mr. Toussant puts it, it isn’t Memphis in 1968, when workers could be treated unequally.

    “The Labor Department said Tuesday that the American work force produced, at an annual rate, 6.4 percent more of the goods they made and services they provided in the second quarter of this year compared to a year ago. At the same time, ‘unit labor costs’ — the amount employers paid for all that extra work — fell by 5.8 percent. The jump in productivity was higher than expected; the cut in labor costs more than double expectations.” (MSNBC)

    TWU workers demand lower prices and better service when they spend their money. Otherwise, they’ll use their power of choice to go elsewhere for a better deal. So unless you are a recipient of Wall Street bonuses or a tax-free pension, and also expect to get more not matter how tough things get for those who pay, shut up and get back to work.

  • Yeah, 4% “cost of living” increases are a bit absurd at a time when the cost of living is not going up. We’re experiencing deflation right now, but of course the labor union contracts don’t need to have any connection to reality in order to be enforced. Enjoy your raises, boys, because none of the people riding your trains got near as much, if anything.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Enjoy your raises, boys, because none of the people riding your trains got near as much, if anything.”

    That’s why they’ll enjoy it — otherwise the prices they have to pay would rise. Makes those Wall Street bonuses that are still being paid worth more too.

    Under the circumstances, having the TWU invoke Dr. King is highly offensive.

    The question is, how long can the political class and the executive class point fingers at each other, while continuing to profit at the expense of the serfs? Perhaps the answer is as long as money can be borrowed and cost deferred, hiding at least some of the consequences until an institutional collapse.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Larry is offended, I’m shocked. I feel sorry for his keyboard.

  • Lee

    Cost of living as not been going up? Are you nuts?

    That is only true if you believe the manipulated and redefined statistics that the government publishes.
    Annualized inflation is actually around 9% http://www.shadowstats.com/section/content-feed/commentaries

  • Well, I don’t have access to the content on that site, so how could I verify it? Or decide whether that site also manipulates statistics for its own purposes? Not that I put much stock in a government statistic, but it’s the only one I have to go by.

    But my main point stands. Unions negotiate multi-year contracts which must be fulfilled regardless of actual circumstances in the economy. They only care about their own wallets despite the fancy rhetoric they come up with (usually right around election time), and that’s fine, I can’t blame them. I do blame the city government that’s in their pocket and rolls over every time the unions demand something. This situation was tolerable when the city was stuffed with bajillionaire Wall Street tycoons who paid the bulk of the city’s taxes, but now they’re dropping like flies and the rest of us have to pick up the slack. Meanwhile spending continues to go through the roof and as Larry might say, something’s gotta give. We’re just seeing the beginnings of a 70s style meltdown.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The city and MTA go for multi-year contracts too. I don’t get it. Those who negotiate them, on both sides, get paid every year, so they should work every year. There should never be a contract for more than one year.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    How about every day Larry, would that give you sufficient flexibility?

  • lee

    Rhywun, The data is readily available, so is the formula used. It is the same formula used in 1990.
    http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data
    Explained in more detail here, about 1/5th down the page
    http://www.shadowstats.com/article/aa871

  • Yeah, those transit workers are really making out. But not, you know, like these guys:

    Nine banks that received government aid money paid out bonuses of nearly $33 billion last year — including more than $1 million apiece to nearly 5,000 employees — despite huge losses that plunged the U.S. into economic turmoil.

    Top employees at nine big U.S. banks that received government aid shared a bonus pool of $32.6 billion. A breakdown of those receiving more than $1 million each.

    The data, released [July 30] by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, provide a rare window into the pay culture of Wall Street, where top employees typically make 90% or more of their compensation in year-end bonuses.

    The $32.6 billion in bonuses is one-third larger than California’s budget deficit. Six of the nine banks paid out more in bonuses than they received in profit. One in every 270 employees at the banks received more than $1 million.