Mayor's CoS raise adds to frustration of public transit drivers who are without contract

An interesting sub-text to the ongoing saga of the Mayor increase the salary of his Chief of Staff position by 33% is the ongoing stalled negotiations between the City and its public transit drivers.

The HSR operators have been without a contract since the new year when their last one expired December 31, 2010.

Not surprisingly, operators I spoke to since the Mayor’s CoS raise story broke are upset. They wonder how the city can claim it’s broke when yet another example of those at the top getting raises surfaces.

Adding to their frustration is the feeling of helplessness about their negotiating power.

Legally, they are can strike. In reality, they can’t. The City demonstrated during the 1998 bus strike a willingness to allow a strike to drag on for a long period of time during the winter season. The 1998 strike lasted 90 days and broke the assumption the city would not allow for a long inconvenient winter strike.

The stalemate of these negotiations will continue and the regular headlines of pay increases at the top will leave these workers scratching their heads.