Okay, it's been about three-plus fruitless days since the MTA and Transit Workers Union contract expired and they deadlocked during new negotiations. Two other private city buslines in Queens went on strike (even though they are run by the MTA, they haven't officially been taken over, therefore those workers are not subject to the Taylor Law and the crippling fines the city has threatened), and now the TWU's president Roger Toussaint is warning that the rest of the system's workers on subways and buses will strike tonight if an agreement is not made. Yes! We get to stay up really late to see whether or not a workday will be striking - awesome! The union is trying to have the state labor board to step in by requiring the MTA to stop offering reduced pensions for future employees, but the MTA said that move was a publicity stunt.
Yesterday, Toussaint told the Daily News that the limited strike was to "upthe ante": "The preference would be to systematically escalate the challenge, to always retain the ability to up the ante, maximize the impact on the MTA, minimize the impact on my members." Okay, the ante is upped, but will the MTA raise their offer? While the agency says that their last offer of 3% for each year over a 3-year contract - with future hires retiring later and contributing 1% of their paychecks to medical - is their last offer, though they might be willing to tweak it. Gothamist is doubtful the MTA will make the kind of "substantial movement" that the union wants.
The NY Times had an interesting analysis of how the MTA is trying to give the union what it wants by making it agree that its future employees will have concessions. It turns out that transit workers do face a lot of abuse from riders. Plus, wondering whether the TWU is stuck in a time warp, how strike fear is getting in the way of shopping, and Mayor Bloomberg agrees that we're a city in limbo.
Photograph from Reuters