FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2023
Contact: Jonna Huseman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Metro-North workers to passengers: We are prepared to strike
New York, NY – Dozens of members of the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO (TWU), employed by Metro-North Railroad, converged on passenger terminals this morning to alert Metro-North passengers that they are fully prepared to shut down service at America’s second largest commuter railroad in the coming months.
Handing out fliers to commuter rail riders in New Haven Connecticut and at New York City’s Grand Central Station, TWU members let the public know that, absent good-faith bargaining by Metro-North and upon lawful release from the National Mediation Board, they are prepared to strike in order to achieve a fair contract. The workers are asking the riding public to support their efforts and help prevent a strike by calling Metro-North CEO Janno Lieber.
“Pathological dishonesty and MTA bosses’ bully mentality has led us to this place,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen. “For five years Metro-North workers, who steadfastly worked to ensure the operation of this railroad through the pandemic, have been trying to negotiate a fair contract with this carrier, only to be pushed aside, lied to, and otherwise ignored by company executives. If Metro-North workers are forced to strike, it will have been triggered by the MTA itself.”
At issue is a Metro-North contract demand that would allow the employer to unilaterally change the terms of the agreement at any time, even on whim. In other words, the MTA is demanding a contract that isn’t a “contract.” Additionally, the economic terms demanded by MTA-MetroNorth falls short of the prevailing labor contract pattern which covers the overwhelming majority of MTA workers.
The public education campaign comes just one week after TWU members at TWU Locals 2001 and 2055 announced a nearly unanimous strike vote. The two local unions collectively represent 600 workers at Metro-North Railroad, including car inspectors, coach cleaners, and carmen mechanics, and have strong support from other unions representing conductors and Metro-North workers should a strike take place.
The workgroups are covered under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), and have the right to strike in New York. Under the legal process established by the RLA, the TWU recently entered into mediation with Metro-North, but the union describes the first session as “not productive.” The next mediation meeting between the TWU and Metro-North is scheduled for August 1, 2023.
The TWU represents more than 155,000 workers across the airline, railroad, transit, universities, utilities and service sectors. The TWU is the largest airline workers union in the United States.