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MTA and union to meet for first time since talks broke down last month

John Samuelsen

John Samuelsen Credit: TWU president John Samuelsen speaks with reporters after leaving a contract negotiation (Marc Beja)

The MTA and its largest employee union will meet Thursday for the first time since union leaders stormed away from the bargaining table last month.

The Transport Workers Union will sit down with MTA negotiators at 9 a.m. Thursday, union sources said. They expect the meeting will mostly focus on a presentation by the MTA on its financial woes.

MTA officials have repeatedly said the agency can't afford any wage increases for the next three years unless their costs are mitigated by concessions by the union, but a spokesman declined to confirm Thursday’s meeting, saying the agency won’t comment on contract negotiations. MTA chief Joseph Lhota told reporters at last week’s board meeting that he speaks with TWU president John Samuelsen “almost every day.”

Samuelsen has rejected the MTA’s wage-freezing proposal, asking for increases that match inflation.

TWU officials staged a walkout from the talks two weeks ago, claiming the MTA was negotiating “in bad faith” and leaking details to the press. The agency denied the accusations.

The union’s contract expired on Jan. 15.

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