New York City Transit Authority Fact Finding Panel Records
Collection Number: 5114
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University LibraryThis collection was processed with the help of generous funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
New York City Transit Authority Fact Finding Panel Records, 1953-1954
New York City Transit Authority
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Exhibits and briefs regarding a contract dispute between the Transit Workers Union of America (TWU) and the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) presented to the New York City Transit Fact Finding Board by the TWU, the Civil Service Forum of New York City, the American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 380, AFL, and the NYCTA.
Collection material in English
The New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) was created by Governor Thomas E. Dewey on March 20, 1953, removing the control of the city's public transportation from the New York City Board of Transportation (NYCBOT) and placing it under the control of a public authority. The three subway companies, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT), the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation (BMT), and the public Independent Subway System (IND), which had been unified under direct city control in 1940 under the NYCBOT were now under the control of the NYCTA, along with the surface transportation systems. The governor created this authority, over the objections of many New York City politicians, liberals, and labor groups, to address the major financial issues faced by the system. The NYCTA signed a 10-year lease with the city on June 1, 1953 and took over operations on June 15, 1953, after surviving a suit brought by taxpayers and the city itself, alleging that the NYCTA was unconstitutional.
Under the NYCTA, the transit system was to be fully supported by the fares paid by its riders. As a result, the fare was raised to 15 cents, and a token system was introduced. The fare increase, however, was not enough to close the operating deficit and the NYCTA began to look at other ways to defray costs, including service cuts and elimination of union positions. The president of the Transit Workers Union (TWU), Michael J. Quill, threatened a rule-book slow-down unless the NYCTA negotiated a new contract with the TWU as well as discussing service cuts with the union. Quill asked Mayor Vincent Impelliteri to appoint an arbitration panel; after first refusing, the Mayor eventually agreed, and the matter of service cuts was resolved. However, new contract provisions were not.
On December 14, 1953, contract negotiations between the transit employees and the Transit Authority came to a halt. Quill warned the NYCTA that when the existing contract expired on January 1, 1954, his men would walk off their jobs. Since Quill's union represented 34,000 of the 44,000 transit employees, it was obvious that his "no contract, no work" policy would mean a complete shut-down of New York City's transportation facilities.
In an effort to head off the impending strike, Mayor-Elect Robert F. Wagner Jr. proposed that a fact-finding committee be appointed to look into the contract dispute. Both sides agreed to meet before the impartial committee while making it known that they would not be bound by its recommendations. With the threat of a strike momentarily mitigated, Mayor Wagner was able to create a three-member panel for the fact-finding committee. The fact-finding committee began a series of hearings in January 1954 where the following records were submitted by both the NYCTA and the transit employees for consideration.
Additional information on the history of the Mayor's Fact-Finding Committee from:
Roess, Roger P. and Gene Sansone. The Wheels That Drove New York: A History of the New York City Transit System. New York: Springer, 2013.
Inclusive date range: 1953-1954
Bulk date: 1954
This collection is comprised of briefs, statements of support, and exhibits submitted by the TWU and its supporters to the New York City Transit Fact Finding Board in support of their proposed contract provisions; the collection also contains the exhibits presented by the NYCTA in support of their position that they could not meet the TWU's demands.
In addition to the TWU's proposed contract revisions and supporting exhibits, this collection also contains two supplemental briefs from the Civil Service Forum of New York, a collection of union exhibits documenting various contracts between public and private transportation companies and municipal authorities; of note is the arbitration award and agreement between Boston's Metropolitan Transit Authority, precursor to the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA), and the Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway, and Motor Coach Employees (AFSCME), Division 589, which is mentioned in the union exhibits as source material for the Fact Finding Board to examine. Another AFSCME Local, Local 380, submitted a paper titled, "An American Standard of Living for The Transit Workers of America's Largest City."
The NYCTA's submissions to the Fact Finding Board present in the collection are two documents, with exhibits, detailing the financial crises facing the transportation system that arose in conjunction with the consolidation of the three independent transit lines in New York and the cost of maintain such a large public transportation system, as well as detailing comparable rates of pay from other transportation systems.
New York City Transit Authority. Fact Finding Board.
Transport Workers Union of America.
New York City Transit Authority.
Civil Service Forum.
Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America. Local 589 (Boston, Massachusetts)
Transport workers -- New York (State) -- New York.
Transport workers -- Labor unions -- New York (State) -- New York.
Wages -- Transport workers -- New York (State) -- New York.
Collective bargaining agreements -- Local transit -- New York (State) -- New York.
Strikes and lockouts -- Transport workers -- New York (State) -- New York.
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New York City Transit Authority Fact Finding Panel Records #5114. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.
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