IDCWLaw Partner Howard Wien’s and Our Client’s Recent Agreement Featured in The Chief Leader.

THE CHIEF LEADER MTA’s Deputy Supers, Asst. GMs Gain Pact 


Dec 23, 2021

A LONG RIDE PAYS OFF: The leadership of the United Transit Leadership Organization had reason to feel good after completing a contract deal for Metropolitan Transportation Authority managers who five years ago were not entitled to union representation. 

Close to 1,000 managers in the titles of Deputy Superintendent and Assistant General Superintendent with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Headquarters, Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operation Authority, New York City Transit Authority, and MTA bus have secured a new union contract after the agency’s board voted Dec. 15 to approve it.

The contract is the first for the union’s membership in the MTA’s Departments of Subways and Support Services and the second in its Department of Buses.

The 30-month contract is effective July 1, 2019, runs until Dec. 31, and provides two 2-percent raises for employees, whose salaries range from $86,000 to $135,000. 

Union Rights Came Late

The deal was reached almost five years after the Subway-Surface Supervisors Association funded a grass-roots organizing campaign that resulted in the recognition of the United Transit Leadership Organization and the creation of an international union, the National Association of Transportation Supervisors

“At every salary grade we negotiated salary increases and got a commuter pass for Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Railroad as well as for Express Bus,” said Mario Bucceri, president of the UTLO. “And when we got the commuter pass, it even got extended for the non-represented managers.”

He said that checks implementing retroactive pay from the deal, which will be disbursed separately, will total several thousand dollars, with amounts depending on members’ base pay. 

Mr. Bucceri said his union had also codified “significant improvements” in the discipline and grievance processes for his members. “In the past, arbitration was only triggered by a dismissal or demotion—now we have expanded it to 30-day suspensions,” he said.

‘No More Begging’ 

Cassius Pryce, UTLO’s senior vice president of subways, said the formation of the union had dramatically improved the represented positions.

“For years the MTA and New York City Transit had treated their managers as second-class citizens,” Mr. Pryce said. “For a period of several years from 2007 until 2014, they gave us no general wage increase. It was always budgeted to give their managers a 2-percent raise and they just chose not to give it.”

He continued, “Now, instead of begging and crying, now that we have a union it’s totally different. They have to sit down at the table and negotiate with us. They have to talk with us. We never had that before.”

Mr. Pryce said the pandemic, which has killed more than 180 MTA employees, had created a renewed sense of solidarity among his co-workers in the managerial workforce.

‘We Show Up Every Day’

“Most of the senior managerial staff worked remotely and only returned to work on Nov. 15,” he said. “The front-line managers like myself had to show up for work every single day. I cannot run a train from my living room. I have to do it from the Control Room. That’s where I work.”

Mr. Bucceri said that UTLO’s titles had seen a jump in retirements and that the labor shortage had played to the union’s advantage at the bargaining table.

The union president, who started with the MTA as a cleaner in 1982, added that management was having a hard time finding managers from within the transit agency to fill the slots he represents because in the past SSSA members did not want to move into those jobs and lose their union representation.

According to Howard Wien, the attorney for both the UTLO and its international union, the latter successfully petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to “represent employees of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail in New Jersey. We were also successful at getting certification for the buses division at NJ Transit.”

Michael Carrube, president of SSSA and the international president of the NATS, said the pandemic had sparked calls from workers all over the country looking to be organized. “During the last year, because essential workers were getting abused on the job throughout the pandemic and a lot of them were managers…I got a call from a doctor” seeking a union.