Photograph of commuters walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on December 20, 2005 by Jake Dobkin

The Daily News reports that the MTA has been meeting with the Transit Workers Union, "holding secret negotiations to hammer out a contract months ahead of schedule - and without the usual rancor." Nice, as we all remember what rancor and a lack of a contract meant last time: A three-day transit strike without subway and bus service--the exercise was good.

While neither the MTA nor union would comment, aside from the union saying the board is allowing union head Roger Toussaint to "seek an early settlement," the News points out two factors leading to these much more (seemingly) amicable talks. First, the MTA's new management has "forged a somewhat unprecedented working relationship with the union" (former MTA chairman Peter Kalikow had terrible relations with the TWU). Second, the union is also worried that delaying a contract in the faltering economy will hurt them.