Will NYC Transit Go on Strike?
November 28th, 2005

The Daily News reports today that the city is preparing for a possible transit strike. Transport Workers Union President Roger Toussaint has said that if the MTA does not negotiate fairly he may instruct his union to follow the example of Philadelphia transit workers, who went on strike last month.

The Daily News editorial board urges both sides to compromise. “Toussaint would do better to follow the example of his New York City union brothers and sisters, who completed successful labor talks with Mayor Bloomberg, often winning substantial raises. And the MTA would be wise to emulate Bloomberg’s insistence on securing productivity savings in exchange for especially large raises.”

However, several blogs point out big differences between Philadelphia and New York City.

Dan Zukowski, who writes about transit issues, provides a link to the Taylor Law, which makes strikes by public employees illegal in New York State. Pennsylvania has no such law.

Also an article from Governing.com entitled “Do
Cities Always Lose in Strikes?”
argues that New York mayors no longer fear the strikes like the one that plagued Mayor John Lindsay.

“The Lindsay lesson,” writes Otis White, amounted to “Don’t let municipal workers go out on strike. Talk tough but, in the end, settle on their terms.”

But “strikes are hardly sure things these days,” he continues. “Lots of unions lose them and end up accepting far less than they wanted (and sometimes less than management originally offered)… [And if] the public sees the unions as greedy, then there’s an excellent chance a city can win.”

For the latest news on negotiations and other transportation-related issues, check out the latest entries in this Wonkster blog. For links to news in the mainstream press, go to Gotham Gazette’s transportation links in the news.

For helpful links in the event of a strike, go to Gotham Gazette’s page, Preparing For NYC Transit Strike

By on November 28, 2005, 8:50 am
In category: Transportation | 13 Comments »

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13 Responses to “Will NYC Transit Go on Strike?”

  1. The Yankee Says:
    November 28th, 2005 at 9:09 am

    The last thing either side needs is a strike. Nobody will sympathize with the TWU chapter if they strike now. And all the goodwill the MTA is trying to create with the holiday discounts and the passage of the transit bond will be gone. Why can’t both sides realize they need each other?

  2. Larry Littlefield Says:
    November 28th, 2005 at 2:11 pm

    This is all about the pension. Transit workers want to work 20 years and retire at age 50, and then get paid 25 to 30 years for doing nothing.

    That’s just unfair. Half of all private sector workers have no retirement plan other than Social Security, which will not pay out unitl age 67, if then. Most of the other half, if hired since 1980, have 401K plans which cannot be touched until age 62, and to which employers are increasingly less likely to contribute. You can’t touch a 401K until age 62. All this holds down prices for transit workers, who demand a better deal for themselves from the rest of us, or they go elsewhere.

    Meanwhile, the rich pension determines who you get at New York City Transit — those who look forward to not working from their first day on the job. I know.

    Yes, trackworkers cannot work as long as the rest of us, but most NYCT employees are not trackworkers. If the TWU wants more pay for working, they’ve got a case. If they want more time getting paid for not working, to hell with it. Slavery went out in 1865.

  3. Larry Littlefield Says:
    November 30th, 2005 at 8:41 am

    Another point — the 30 year pattern of more pay and benefits for those cashing in and moving out, and lesser compensation for new hires, has to stop. It is the new hires who will be providing services in the future, and the city will suffer if they are less qualified and motivated.

    If the MTA wants lesser benefits for new employees, fine. The ENTIRE savings should be used for higher CASH pay FOR THOSE NEW EMPLOYEES ONLY, not for those about to retire. New hires discount rich health and pension benefits, because they don’t pay the rent, so a shift to smaller benefits and richer pay is good for the city. More generational inequity is not.

    The 2000 pension enhancement for those cashing in and moving out was a crime. The Mayor’s decision to pay for it with lower pay for new hires in the DC37, police, fire, and teacher contracts (9% increase in starting pay vs. 15% for those about to retire with higher pensions) cost him my vote. As for the 25/55 in the teacher contract, ANYTHING but that.

  4. Gary Says:
    December 16th, 2005 at 11:09 pm

    I work for TA. Just wanted to be upfront about that.
    People retire from Transit, and unfortuantely, many, many, pass away in an unusually short period.
    I have no scientific or statistic date to offer. If you worked in the subway tunnels on the track, or in a train or booth, your environment takes a toll. The E and F line thru Queens Blvd is reffered to as “Cancer Alley”.
    I think much of the emotion TA workers display at these contract times, stems from an oppression from management that is so charged with abuse and harrassment, which would never be tolerated in the private sector.
    So many factors come into play on the worker level, and yet we have to allow our Local president , represent us as he feels is best.

    I’m new to this (9 years) but after the last contract, with a “0” in the first year, Roger needs to bring home at least double digits over 3 years. Straight 4’s would probably do the trick.

    Thanks for reading

  5. Lou P Says:
    December 20th, 2005 at 3:34 pm

    All of you involved in this strike are a joke. Get back to work you greedy bastards. It’s the holiday season and freezing outside. The citizens and tourists are suffering because of your ridiculous demands. Realisticaly, you can all be replaced very easily since the required IQ to perform your job is about 30. I hope all who are involved are fired and that you all lose the fat pensions you have waiting in your future.

    Please enjoy the many days of lost pay that await you. I have no sympathy for your cause and either do most New Yorkers. I will gladly walk to work for the next year while mayor Bloomberg trains new monkeys to perform your mindless work.

  6. Anthony V Says:
    December 20th, 2005 at 3:42 pm

    Right on LouP!!!!

  7. Gary Says:
    December 20th, 2005 at 6:41 pm

    EVerything you say about the local 100 members, regarding greed , and consideration, or lack there of, neglect and abandonment of responsibility, is exactly what TWU workers feel about the Company MTA.

    So as you fume over the labor action and respond as you will, consider that the same emotional level exists on the part of the workers.

    You could not, would not, do the job I do. Period.
    And monkeys crash trains and buses. The resulting lawsuits would require a fare increase

    The more vitriolic the objections, the less factual the opinion.

    good day sirs,

  8. Anthony V Says:
    December 21st, 2005 at 10:06 am

    I hope you guys realize that most of the city looks at the TWU and sees a bunch of greedy, selfish people who will never be satisfied.

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    October 30th, 2010 at 7:30 am

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