So the MTA and its largest union, TWU Local 100, have yet to come to a deal in their ongoing contract negotiations (the last contract expired January 15!). And it looks like it is starting to get a bit tense? Today MTA chair Joe Lhota took to the Op-Ed pages in the Post to vent about the situation. Man sounds tired.

The gist of Lhota's rant is simple (The MTA has, over the past few years, really gotten its financial act together—and the only thing holding it back from doing even better, Lhota says, are the unions) but if you want some specifics, here you go:

Over the last year, during a period of 2.8 percent inflation, the MTA’s discretionary costs of $6.3 billion have increased only 0.6 percent. They’re forecast to rise just 1.8 percent from 2010 to 2015, significantly below the rate of inflation.

But nondiscretionary costs, which totaled $5.2 billion in 2011, are another story entirely. Over that same 2010-to-2015 period, our health-care costs are forecast to jump 9.5 percent. Pension costs rise 6.9 percent. Energy costs go up 9.7 percent. And debt service is projected to increase 7.5 percent.[...] All the while — during a time of unprecedented cost-cutting at the MTA, and as our nondiscretionary costs spiral out of control — binding arbitration has required that members of our largest labor union get pay hikes of 4 percent in 2009, 4 percent in 2010 and 3 percent in 2011.

That’s a whopping 11 percent over the last three years, at a time when New York City’s cost-of-living index rose 4.6 percent.
Managers and non-union workers haven’t been so lucky. They got 0 percent in 2009, 0 percent in 2010 and 0 percent in 2011. Today, these public servants have gone four years without so much as a cost-of-living increase.

And with those numbers in mind, Lhota is asking the union to accept the current global financial reality and "be a part of the solution" by foregoing raises for a few years. The TWU's response? Via Twitter, of course: "OUTRAGEOUS."

SIGH. As if six months weren't long enough, suddenly we're worried this could take even longer and get uglier before it is over. Let's just hope current TWU prez John Samuelsen doesn't decide to take ex-prez Roger Toussaint's advice and put a strike back on the table!