Welcome to the MTA, John Lhota—now deal with the union! The MTA's new chairman only just started his job yesterday and already he is being thrown into the fire. Nearly six years after the Transit Workers Union struck and ground the city to a halt for three days negotiations for a new worker's union have begun. Luckily, one of the first things Lhota has done to differentiate himself from his predecessor, Jay Walder, is start buddying up with the union.

The MTA is trying to keep its bloated budget frozen for the next three years, but TWU Local 100 workers want more money. "We're looking for a fair wage increase, and a fair wage increase is not three zeroes," explained John Samuelsen, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100.

The current three-year contract between the MTA and TWU 100 expires January 15, so at least there is some time for both sides to let out their grievances before (hopefully!) coming to a good solution. And right now at least the MTA seems to be taking the union's desire for more money seriously (with some catches). "They can have an increase in their wages as long as we get work rule changes or other contributions to reduce the cost in the budget to zero," Robert Foran, the MTA's chief financial officer, told reporters.

One bad sign for TWU workers? This year, Governor Andrew Cuomo successfully got some major concessions from two big unions, putting major pressure on the Authority to do the same. Interestingly, the MTA's new plans for consecutive nightly subway shutdowns just happens to start right when worker's current contracts expire...