Union Wins Additional Accommodations for Pregnant Workers

NOVEMBER 9 -- Union efforts to secure light-duty jobs for pregnant Local 100 members have resulted in an important agreement with management initially covering women in the Train Operator and Conductor titles.

Train Operators and Conductors with pregnancy-related medical restrictions will now be able to apply for Restricted Duty Announcer positions, TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano announced Monday. These temporary assignments will be for up to 60 days at a time - but also can be extended for additional 30-day periods.

“This is a significant union victory,” Utano said. “Pregnant women for the first time will have an opportunity fora real light-duty option that doesn’t include standing on their feet all day or doing physical labor. The agreement is an important first step to finally provide our union sisters, regardless of title, the opportunity to continue to work in jobs that will not threaten their health or the health of their babies. We have a way to go still but we are all thrilled that we have made this pivotal agreement with the MTA.”

RTO Vice President Eric Loegel said: "This is a long time in the making, and a big step forward for the women of RTO. I'm thrilled we've prevailed in providing true light duty accommodations for our members."

There are ongoing discussions between union leaders and management on ways to expanding this new initiative to other departments and titles.

TWU Local 100 has been battling with the MTA over the lack of reasonable accommodations for pregnant women with medical issues for some time now. Last year, Local 100 filed several lawsuits against the authority. Those cases are active and ongoing. The union also pressed the issue in contract negotiations last year. The multi-year contract, which members ratified overwhelmingly in January, included a pledge from the MTA to participate in a joint labor-management committee and continue talking about potential job set asides for pregnant workers, particularly those in service- delivery roles, like Train Operator and Conductor.

“We are now seeing the fruits of those contract-mandated discussions," Utano said. "We promised that contract language would lead to positive change, and that positive change is taking place."

The MTA has agreed to have four pregnant women in the specified RTO titles – at any one time – filling these Restricted Duty Announcer positions. Over the course of a year, that could mean dozens of women will benefit as members give birth and shift to maternity leave. To be eligible for the posts, workers have to be designated “restricted duty” by the Medical Assessment Center based on supporting documentation from their treating physician or physicians.