Home » Issues » Community Development, Government, Issues, Jobs, Labor, Transportation, Uncategorized, Urban Planning, Western PA » Allegheny Conference— Spreading Misinformation about Transit???

Allegheny Conference— Spreading Misinformation about Transit???

In the Post-Gazette today, attorney Joseph Pass responds directly to Ken Zapinski of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development’s management-slanted editorial from labor day weekend.

Don’t punish transit workers

Perhaps local corporations should make ‘concessions’

I read with interest the rantings of Ken Zapinski of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development titled, “A Time for Concessions” (Forum, Aug. 31). For four decades, I have proudly served as the attorney for Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union and I negotiated and arbitrated the two most recent contracts between the Chicago Transit Authority and the unions to which Mr. Zapinski alluded in his article. Let’s get the facts straight….. (read entire article)

Mr. Pass confirmed some ideas that were being suggested elsewhere on the internets in recent days. (see: nullspace transit 1 ; nullspace transit 2 ; bram 1 .

I’m so happy to finally hear some analysis of the situation from the workers’ side.  The messages that have dominated the public discourse around the Port Authority budget so far have been so obviously engineered by the Port Authority board and executives (and the corporate and political leaders who put them there.)  I just can’t believe that it’s either the full story or that their positions are in the best interest of my community and my family.

As a city resident who supports a strong, better!, public transit system, I’m deeply suspicious of any proposal to save transit that will end up hurting the families of all of the unionized Port Authority workers.   I’ve been suspicious that there’s been a whole other side to the story than what we’re getting on PAT’s websites: pghtransitinfo.com and portauthority.org (PR which we, taxpayers, are footing the bill for).  Messages pernicously mimicked in and around all things Allegheny Conference for Comm. Development.  http://www.alleghenyconference.org  and nocommuterleftbehind.wordpress.com/

More commentary later from me, for now I’ll just agree with Mr. Pass when he writes:

In the meantime, if the Allegheny Conference is interested in the development of this community, it ought to seek ways to fund transit other than on the backs of workers. Since public transit is vital to the economic growth of this community, as recognized most recently by the fact finder appointed to analyze Port Authority contract issues, perhaps the conference should urge local corporations to buy bus passes for their employees. Better yet, when corporate America and/or its CEOs make exorbitant profits or wages, perhaps we could tax them to subsidize transit. Their backs are bigger and better able to sustain “concessions” than those of the working men and women who provide transit service to our community.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • http://www.nocommuterleftbehind.com Ken Zapinski

    I’m glad to see more and more people paying attention to the transit debate in Pittsburgh. It’s important in that debate to distinguish between fact and opinion. It is a fact, that when using the methodology and data sources that the PA Economy League used, that the Port Authority drivers have the highest wage, when adjusted for regional variances in the cost of living, of any major metro area in the country.

    How significant or relevant you think that is in the current debate is opinion. Mr. Pass and Mr. Null Space do not believe the analysis is relevant to the debate. We think it is.

    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in the discussion.

  • rachel c

    I was really struck by this particular point in Mr. Pass’ piece:

    Mr. Zapinski extols the benefits of the retiree health-care trust put in place for the employees of the Chicago Transit Authority. Having drafted and fought to have that trust implemented, I would point out that Local 85 proposed the same type of trust for the Port Authority.

    I had not heard this before. If Local 85 offered to do something similar, why wouldn’t PAT jump at the offer?

    Certainly Ken, your article makes it sound like Local 85 has never offered something so reasonable.

  • CBriem

    Ken, I’m trying not to respond to your repeated mischaracterization of what I said.. but I have stated it’s the selective use of cost of living adjustment and the misuse of the COLI data for a purpose it clearly states it is not intended for. The state factfinder makes a stronger statement against the use of regional cost of living adjustments that I do by herself ignoring the adjustment you think are so important. I think she is fully aware of the state reports that do use the adjustment. Do you take issue with the state factfinder report? I also point out that the average fare calculation does not begin to take into account the different age/experience patterns at the Port Authority vs. other sytems. So to keep saying I just don’t think cost of living adjustment is relevant is just plain false and misleading. If you think that is too harsh, then clearly you have to admit its superficial. This is not helpful to the debate unless you think it’s all about spin.

    I actually do think there are lots of times a cost of living adjustment is appropriate, so again as I have asked before: what is the cost of living adjusted base fare in use by the port authority compared to other systems.