Workers at Metro-North, represented by The Transport Workers Union of America, are livid – and will strike upon release from the National Media Board – unless MTA Chairman Janno Lieber stops the THEFT

By John Samuelsen | August 28, 2023

MTA Chairman Janno Lieber is like a pickpocket prowling Grand Central. But instead of stealing from riders, he targets Metro-North’s own blue-collar workforce.

Workers at the railroad, represented by The Transport Workers Union of America, are understandably livid – and will strike upon release from the National Media Board – unless Lieber comes to his senses.

These 600 mechanics and cleaners are livid because the MTA refuses in contact negotiations to give them the same economic package it gave to the 35,000 bus and subway workers in its NYC Transit division. Without a doubt, he is essentially reaching into the wallets of the men and women who fix, inspect, maintain, and clean railroad trains and facilities. He also is ignoring the pattern of bargaining that has been honored for decades.

This says more about the ego of a politically appointee who doesn’t have to face the voters, than it does about MTA finances. Janno appears desperate to be seen as a fiscally tough executive. So, he goes after his front-line workers, even though the amount of potential savings, if anyone looked at the details, are minuscule: less than 1/10th of 1% of the MTA’s enormous operating budget.

The MTA’s operating budget is $19 billion dollars. For one year. That enormous sum of money greater than the operating budgets of Miami, Boston, Chicago, Miami, and Philadelphia combined. The MTA is not broke.

Making matters worse, Janno and his minions flat-out lied in contract negotiations with other unions at Metro-North and the LIRR. To advance their aims in those talks and shortchange other workers, Lieber and the MTA falsely claimed that TWU Local 100, the bus and subway workers union, gave a concession in the last round of bargaining. They repeated that lie in our ongoing proceedings, and before the National Mediation Board. But they were exposed. Janno has been caught lying, essentially caught stealing.

Lieber can’t trusted, and that’s why the current situation is so volatile. We know he wants to pick workers’ pockets, and we’re determined to stop him.

John Samuelsen is International President of the Transport Workers Union of America.


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