The contract includes other salary and benefit increases, the full cost of which was not included in the MTA report. The Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) estimates that these benefits add at least 0.5 per cent to the 9.8 per cent annual salary increases, representing a total cost of 10.3 per cent. CBC estimates the four-year cost of these benefits at at least $64 million, bringing the total cost of the four-year agreement to $US 1.1 billion. These changes include: the TWU collective agreement increases costs more sharply than provided for in the financial plan, but has savings that, if realized, can offset most of the increased costs. However, there is a real risk that these savings will not be realized, further exacerbating the projected deficit of $638 million over four years. This risk is compounded by the extension of the model to other unionized workers. The MTA has taken a step in the right direction by including productivity committees in the new TWU Treaty. The MTA should set productivity targets and report quarterly on savings to ensure accountability, and similar committees should be established with other unions if labour changes are not negotiated directly in other collective agreements. While these agreements may not have significant negative effects if all savings are realized, the MTA did not understand the possibility of offering “net zero” wage increases for which productivity would have offset the cost of all increases. Had it done so, the MTA could have significantly reduced its budget deficits from the previous year. It should not miss the opportunity to introduce labour changes in other collective agreements.
If the MTA negotiates similar agreements (and savings) with its other bargaining units, it will cost $11.7 million more than what is budgeted for in the fiscal plan. In order to maintain the impact of the neutral financial plan, agreements should include larger savings, including changes in work, in order to offset the impact of these increased costs. In addition, the productivity committees for labour management established in the TWU Treaty should set productivity targets and present public quarterly reports on savings to ensure accountability. The impact of the severe COVID-19 pandemic on the operation of the business has created uncertainties about the ability to predict specific dates for the implementation of certain contractual assets that the company is required to put in place. Therefore, the parties agreed to meet within 60 days of ratification and on an ongoing basis in order to reach agreement on all outstanding implementation issues that remain outstanding after the date of ratification and that are not addressed in the implementation agreement concluded today. If the MTA can achieve savings comparable to the TWU agreement, it could save $31.2 million per year, which would represent a total of $124.9 million in savings from 2020 to 2023. This would result in an additional cost of $11.7 million during the financial programming period. However, if the savings are similar to those negotiated with EMU, they may suffer the same risk of being neglected if staff behaviour is not sufficiently changed.
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