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Long Island

MTA managers to get 8 percent pay raises

Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Thomas Prendergast speaks briefly

Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Thomas Prendergast speaks briefly on July 14, 2014, during negotiations with LIRR union representatives in Manhattan. Credit: Craig Ruttle

The MTA has approved an 8 percent salary increase for managers through next year -- weeks after reaching agreement to give raises to most union workers.

In a memo to the agency's top brass sent Wednesday, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Thomas Prendergast authorized all full-time, nonunion-represented employees to receive "an upward adjustment to their base salary" of 4 percent, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013.

MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg confirmed Saturday the plan includes another 2 percent raise this year and the next, for a total salary increase of 8 percent.

The raise would only be given to management workers "who have satisfactory performance," and would not include agency heads, whose salaries are negotiated separately, Prendergast said in his memo.

Lisberg said the nonunion workers, who compose 8,000 of the MTA's 68,000-member workforce, have not received a raise in six years. The raises will cost the agency about $25 million a year, he said.

During contentious contract negotiations, however, union leaders disputed the MTA's assertion that managers have had their salaries frozen for six years. They accused the agency of routinely disguising management pay bumps as promotions, title changes or expansions of duties.

In December, a panel of mediators assigned by President Barack Obama to review a labor dispute involving Long Island Rail Road unions agreed such "ad hoc" raises "have increased the pay" for some managers.

Prendergast waited on approving the raises until after he settled the contract disputes with most MTA unions.

In April, the MTA reached a pact with its largest labor organization, the Transport Workers Union, to give about 35,000 New York City Transit subway and bus workers raises of 8 percent over five years.

In July, three days before a strike deadline, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo brokered a deal to give more than 5,000 LIRR laborers raises totaling 17 percent over 6 1/2 years.

Thomas Creegan, a Transport Workers Union officer, said the management raises prove the agency "ripped . . . off" laborers. "How do you have that kind of money?" said Creegan, a subway third-rail chairman, who noted that the 8,000 managers account for more than the LIRR labor force of less than 6,000. "Obviously, the money is there," he said.

Lisberg noted the managerial workforce, which includes secretaries and other administrators, has seen layoffs and major cost-cutting in recent years.

"If he [Creegan] thinks that managers did not make sacrifices and did not take cuts . . . I think he should talk to some people who were laid off," Lisberg said.

Prendergast's memo did not address future raises for MTA managers, but the agency's recently released financial plan assumes "wage-inflation for non-represented employees" averaging about 1.85 percent through 2018.

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