Culminating almost three years of tough bargaining, all three TCU crafts – Carmen, Clerks and Supervisors – have ratified five year agreements with the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad (MBCR).
The agreements deliver approximately 20% in net value over the term of the agreement, and contain several unprecedented breakthroughs. For the first time anywhere, non-operating crafts captured the full equivalent of operating craft certification pay, $10 a day. Additionally, the TCU and other non-operating crafts also captured the full equivalent of the operating crafts’ release pay – a 1.8% wage increase. And for the first time anywhere, the Supplemental Sickness Plan compensation schedule will be updated annually to reflect each year’s wage increases.
These were just a few of many impressive features of contracts reached during a period when public sector workers are fighting for their lives to retain existing wages and benefits. (MBCR is financed by MBTA, a public agency.) In fact, during the ratification vote, Massachusetts courts rejected appeals by Boston transit unions to retain control of their health care bargaining. Instead, under a law passed by Massachusetts state legislators, transit workers’ health care benefits and contributions will be set by the state and no longer collectively bargained.
Despite the clear overall value of the MBCR agreements, and the fact that the agreements were negotiated by a coalition involving every non-operating union on the property, rank and file members in other unions on the property waged a fierce campaign to derail TCU and every other union’s efforts to ratify the contracts. In addition to TCU, TWU Carmen and National Conference of Firemen Oilers-SEIU successfully overcame what became a nasty and often dishonest disinformation campaign. Three other unions fell victim, with other unions’ ratification counts pending.
“I salute the wisdom and courage of our TCU members, and those in the other unions that ratified, who took the time to analyze the pros and cons of the agreement, rather than succumb to a misguided smear campaign,” says TCU President Bob Scardelletti.
“I especially commend TCU’s negotiating team, led by Special Assistant to the President Joel Parker, and consisting of International Vice President Artie Maratea, Carmen Vice President Carl Tingle, and ARASA International Representative Joe Derillo, as well as the negotiating leaders of all the other coalition unions, for bringing home such an excellent contract during such difficult times,” adds Scardelletti. “And special recognition goes to General Chairman Joe English and Local Chairmen Donna Lock and Jim Trowbridge for their on the ground efforts to do what was right for their members.”