Senior Labor Relations Administrator
MTA, New York City Transit
“We have Democrats, Republicans, we have socialists, we have conservatives, we have labor, we have management, we have capitalists, we have not-for-profit people, we have public sector, we have private sector…and still one of the things that strikes me is how well we all get along and that there is actually a certain oneness—that even though we are all different, we can all study labor relations as academics. And this actually helps all of us understand our careers better and appreciate the different viewpoints in labor relations.”
I've been at New York City Transit for 20 years, all that time in labor relations, in progressively more responsible positions. Notably, I was recently promoted, since I enrolled in the MPS program. I think that contributed to my present position as a senior labor relations administrator.
In that position, I am presently the acting director of labor relations for three operating divisions. So I handle anything that can come up in those three operating divisions on a day-to-day basis: it might be job actions, labor disputes, grievances, discipline, cases of violence, drugs, for example. In addition to that, I'm also involved in collective bargaining. I negotiate contracts for the [Transit] Authority and assist in negotiating contracts. Also I’m the farming out person in labor relations, and I liaison with the various unions of the property, of which there are some 25.
I got interested in the MPS program because I had been in the forerunner of this program back in the early 90s, shortly after I was hired into the Transit Authority and labor relations. At that time, I never completed my degree because I took a semester off. And I never went on after that because my life got very busy. I ended up getting more responsibility in the Army Reserve, became a commander. I got engaged, got married, had children. I went to Iraq, and when I got back, I decided that now it's time—my children are older, and I retired from the Army Reserve—it was time to pursue my degree once again. And I looked for a program that met my needs. I have small children, so the schedule being on Saturdays was very convenient. And I thought, the timing is right to get a master’s degree in two years.