The MTA forced transit beat reporters to a very special New Year's Day press conference to explain that, yes, their settlement with the transit workers union was good. With reports of a pension refund to union members that would total somewhere around $100 million (give for take tens of millions here and there - the reports totally conflict on that point) and an "extremely upset" Governor Pataki (props to the NY Post for supplying this great "extremely upset" picture him) over that refund, the MTA sought to explain that the deal was not "bought." The MTA's lead negotiator, Garry Dellaverson said that he felt the governor knew about the agreement, saying, "Do I believe he was fully briefed on the costs associated with the collective-bargaining agreement? I believe the answer to that to be yes. Was he engaged in the process? I believe the answer to that to be yes." Hmm, maybe the governor was too busy planning his next trips to New Hampshire and Iowa to read the briefing about the strike settlement! But Pataki also implied he would consider asking MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow to resign. Dunh dunh dunh! Given that Pataki will be out after this year (huzzah!), we wonder who will be next in line to lead the MTA.
And the other thing the MTA told reporters yesterday was that they were going to ask the state to prohibit the union from collecting its dues automatically. The NY Times says that, plus the fines incurred during the strike, "could cripple the union." Ah, "if you can't beat 'em, just take out the kneecaps" must be the MTA's New Year's resolution.