It's been three months since the transit strike and still the MTA and Transit Workers Union Local 100 don't have a new contract. So nobody should be too surprised that the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) decided today that the two have to go into binding arbitration where "a three-member panel will essentially dictate the terms of a new contract."

Still, a deal could theoretically be worked out during arbitration. The TWU says it is putting the contract that it's members previously rejected by seven votes up for a revote though the MTA says it has taken that deal off the table. But the sense is that if it was accepted by a sizable margin there would be real pressure on the MTA to "approve the deal" outside of the arbitration. Especially if the tricky pensions issue can be addressed as state law "bars arbitrators from ruling on pension-related maters in rulings involving public employees."

Also, as 33,000 TWU Local 100 members started getting fined this month we find it really hard not to smirk when TWU president Roger Toussaint, one of the key figures in this whole mess, complains that "Today's PERB ruling serves neither transit workers nor the riding public."