2005_12_mtaprivbus.jpgAfter round-the-clock negotiations, the MTA and Transit Workers Union contract negotiations haven't progressed much - in fact, the TWU rejected the MTA's latest offer. But there is subway and (mostly) bus service! Why? The TWU announced they would start "series of strikes," beginning with the private bus lines run by the MTA. Which means Queens residents who rely on select private buses are out of luck, but everyone else will be able to take the subway or regular bus. The TWU agreed to withhold all of its workers from striking across the whole MTA network until midnight on Monday night, so the TWU and MTA will continue to negotiate through the weekend. Yay, a couple more days of this (we updated our countdown clock in the left column)!

Newsday had a nice explanation of where things are left so far:

The main issues separating the two sides are pensions, health insurance and safety. The authority had offered pay raises of 3 percent a year in a 27-month contract, which the union rejected. In addition, the MTA asked that the retirement age for new employees be raised to 62 after 30 years of service, while the union wants it lowered to 50 after 20 years on the job. Transit workers can now retire at age 55 after 25 years of service.

Gothamist guesses that the union probably realized they needed to stay on the public's good side (except for the Queens private bus riding public). We can't wait for coverage of Mayor Bloomberg's night sleeping on a cot at the Office of Emergency Management - did he and other staffers stay up all night, watching scary movies and eating junk food? And didn't waiting for news of a transit strike feel like waiting for a school snow day?