NYC Subway and Bus Strike

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Matt in the Hat, Dec 20, 2005.

  1. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    "NEW YORK - Subways and buses ground to a halt Tuesday morning as transit workers walked off the job at the height of the holiday shopping and tourist season, threatening to plunge the city into chaos by forcing about 7 million daily riders to find new ways to get around.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the strike would cost the city as much as $400 million a day.

    "I think they all should get fired," said Eddie Goncalves, a doorman trying to get home after his overnight shift. He said he expected to spend an extra $30 per day in cab and train fares.

    Authorities began locking turnstiles and shuttering subway entrances shortly after the Transport Workers Union ordered the strike.

    At one subway booth, a handwritten sign read, "Strike in Effect. Station Closed. Happy Holidays!!!!" At Penn Station, an announcement over the loudspeaker told people to "please exit the subway system."

    Bloomberg has said the strike would be particularly harsh taking place during the holidays. He said a strike would freeze traffic into "gridlock that will tie the record for all gridlocks."


    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&u=/ap/20051220/ap_on_re_us/nyc_transit_strike_6

    Floods of people are walking across the Brooklyn bridge right now, including the greatest Mayor in the history of the city who spent the night on a cot at the office of emergency managment to monitor the situation.

    The MTA wants approx. 3% raises every year over 4 years and a small contribution from workers to their pension and health plans (co-pays), plus salary commensurate on productivity.

    The Union Wants 8% raises every year over 3 years and no personal contributions to health or pension, saying it sells out their future.

    The MTA is willing to go to arbitration. The TWU is not.

    Under the state's Taylor Law, the Union can be fined $1M per day while each participating worker can be fined $25K per day. Fines double each day.

    This is gonna be fun!
     
  2. riverplate

    riverplate Member+

    Jan 1, 2003
    Corona, Queens
    Club:
    CA River Plate
    I'm on vacation this week, so it isn't a terrible inconvenience for me right now.

    The MTA has bent over backwards to accomodate the TWU demands, yet the union insists on striking. In addition to the above mentioned fines, each worker will lose two days pay for every day out on strike. The TWU will also lose their union dues check-off provision.

    This almost ruined the union back in 1980, but this new bunch running the show wasn't there and doesn't care to remember. And it's laughable when the union speaks about fighting for its "unborns." Let the unborns do their own contract negotiating when their time comes.

    I hope Bloomberg, Pataki and the courts break them big time.
     
  3. DJPoopypants

    DJPoopypants New Member

    Wait wait wait - did I just hear a republican say 'screw the unborns'?

    Or is this just kinda the same as the conserative pundit saying 'abortion is wrong, but crime will go down if we abort all black babies...'
     
  4. obie

    obie New Member

    Nov 18, 1998
    NY, NY
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Except that once the MTA has a two-tiered contract, they will use that as a wedge against the older workers, forcing them to either take fewer hours or some of the same provisions. The fight over that isn't about this contract, it's about the next contract.

    A pox on both their houses, as far as I'm concerned. The TWU shouldn't walk away from binding arbitration, and MTA shouldn't be claiming poverty when they just offered half-price fares for Christmas.
     
  5. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Took the PATH from Jersey City to WTC and walked to Wall Street. What an absolute pleasure! Fewer cars on the road downtown. No honking. Nobody in my clients office.

    Seems like its gonna be a great day.

    Two tiered contracts are the wave of the future in local municipal contracts. The PBA, Firefighters and teachers all accepted them. If this doesn't end any other way but arbitration, I'm gonna be pissed.

    Watching the local news this morning, a number of commuters were blaming the mayor for the strike. Maybe you liberals are right. People really are that stupid.
     
  6. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Taylor Law hearing to take place at 11:00 am. Let's see if those huge fines get assessed.
     
  7. chad

    chad Member+

    Jun 24, 1999
    chicago
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    They need Landon Donovan. He solves these kinds of problems.
     
  8. Wingtips1

    Wingtips1 Member+

    May 3, 2004
    02116
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    The transit workers are going to be killed over this. they have already gone on TV asking for public support. support? 7 million riders have been inconvenienced. most of those 7 million pay a decent portion of their own health care, if they even have it. most probably get raises once every three years, let alone 3% every year. I'm sure they'll find lots of sympathy.

    also, aren't liberals always crying about the 'public good'? i'd think the public good would be to remain on the job while a new contract is negotiated. but instead 30,000 people see it as their right to disrupt the lives of 7 million (that is just the MTA users)...hardly the public good.
     
  9. obie

    obie New Member

    Nov 18, 1998
    NY, NY
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The TWU is run by hard-asses, though, and this is like the Alamo for city unions. I was surprised to hear this morning that the MTA was going to give up the age 62 retirement requirement for new hires. (Not budging on the med insurance issue, though.)
    People assume the MTA is a city-run agency. I used to work right next door the MTA offices on 44th & Mad, and any time there was a contract negotiation going on, the transit guys would amass and shut Madison down. Every once in a while we got the big rat. Good times...
     
  10. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    For a different take on the strike, go to stevegillard.blogspot.com.

    Righties, beware, he may raise your blood pressure.
     
  11. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You're so in touch. :rolleyes:
     
  12. Metrogo

    Metrogo Member

    Apr 6, 1999
    Washington Hghts NY
    Clearly it's not the Mayor's fault, he doesn't control the MTA. But PAtaki has got to take a lot of blame. Admittedly, I'm a wild eyed liberal, believer in unions, and suspicious of the free market. However, I think the MTA last minute offer was workable enough to at least have them stop the clock and avert the strike for now. The union has actually been winning the public relations war in the last couple of years, and they're going to blow that political capital real fast, with some good reason.

    Nevertheless, the bigger picture here is the mismanagement of the mass transit system by PAtaki and the MTA. PAtaki gave away billions to 1199 when he was up for reelection in 2002, a give away that even I thought (an almost socialist) was pretty much insane-- remember how it infuriated the mayor? And rightly so. Then he has decreased funding of the subways, and financed its operations with debt, paying interest on it now that eats up about 20% of the MTA's operating budget. None of this is lost on the union, and shouldn't be.

    And beyond that, between the two sets of books scandal, the failure to spend federal funds dedicated to security in the subways, and the fact that it is often the case that the MTA doesn't actually know how much money it has and doesn't have, the union with justification feels why should the workers bear the brunt of such terrible mismanagement.

    Anyway, my commute was easier than usual... I live below 96th Street, and work in downtown brooklyn, it was like getting around in a blizzard but without the snow. IT was great.
     
  13. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    FWIW, "gilliard"

    Drove my wife to the foot of the bridge this morning. She says there were not that many people walking across the bridge and that there are almost no cars downtown. A bunch of people from her office are starting their holiday tomorrow to avoid the whole thing.

    I'm sympathetic to the union and I think Pataki has totally ********ed the MTA, but the MTA's last minute offer seems like a pretty significant concession.
     
  14. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    page not found

    Edit..Found it

    From the blog

    "When you realize you can't go to work today or probably tomorrow, you might consider how vital the job the TWU does and how little the leadership of this city respects it."

    The MTA is a STATE agency. This guy knows dick
     
  15. JBigjake

    JBigjake Member+

    Nov 16, 2003
    IIRC, what the police & firefighters accepted was a lower starting salary, while recruits are in training, in return for a higher top pay. I don't recall any 2-tier structure on salaries (although there may be something on benefits). This was because police at top pay were (& are) still far below suburban departments & the NYPD loses quite a few officers each year to the other police forces for the higher top pay. Of course, the reply on this issue is that the suburban forces are far smaller, so that officers who wanted to go there in the first place join the NYPD only until they can transfer there or to the FDNY with its 24-hours on, 72-hours off schedule.
     
  16. Dante

    Dante Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 19, 1998
    Binghamton, NY
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not to mention this line:

    "The dollars paid by the MTA to the TWU's members go to the city, support the city, unlike the suburban based police and firefighters."

    total horsecrap.

    That posting was the biggest waste of time to read. He's so ignorant of the facts it's not even funny.
     
  17. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    But he's not talking about the actual structure of the negotiations in that section so much as how Bloomberg has injected himself into the negotiations on the side of the MTA by threatening the $25,000 lawsuit per worker (btw, I'm under the impression those fines are not the Taylor Law, which sets fines at 2x daily salary, but a separate lawsuit. Correct?). He's criticizing Bloomberg for putting all the blame for the strike on the TWU, not for some conduct in the actual bargaining.

    FWIW, I thought his lower post about the racial dynamics of the strike was very interesting, and vastly underreported, especially given that the union head is Hatian-American.

    Edit: I will say this, though. If Bloomberg had been in charge of these negotiations, this never would have happened.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/20/opinion/20stern.html
     
  18. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So Pataki and Kalikow are racists?

    BTW, he has called for both sides to follow the law, which calls for independant arbitration. One side has agreed to that and one has not. Why shouldn't he blame the union for an illegal strike that is costing the city millions per day. Why would TWU afraid of arbitration?
     
  19. Metroweenie

    Metroweenie New Member

    Aug 15, 2004
    Westchester, NY
    The holiday fares were a one time only thing to bring money into the city (that blogger seems to be very concerned about this). I don't trust the MTA, but they are projecting deficits starting 2007, (once 2006 elections pass, probably 2006 also). They are certainly not swimming in cash.

    On top of this, as the person posted on that blog, a strike and rising fares are always going to hurt the poor and working class the most, because the subway is the only option for them. It's easy for professionals who can telecommute or afford $3 a ride or a cab ride to support the TWU.

    That said, I understand the TWU not wanting to set a precedent by making health care payments, but you can't have full benefits and the obscene raises they want. Pick one.
     
  20. needs

    needs Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Brooklyn
    Yeah, that's exactly what I was saying.

    You're smart enough to know that the public perception of issues like this are colored (bad pun) by race (and class), especially given the people involved in the negotiations. It's entirely possible for Pataki and Kalikow not to be racist and for race to have a large factor in the political dynamics of the negotiations. I especially had this section in mind:


    I don't know enough about the details of this particular arbitration process to know. My experience from being in other contract negotiation situations is that each arbitration situation differs given the conditions set.

    Listen, I think the union made a mistake given the last offer the MTA made, but I also think they felt they had been backed into a corner. They were inflexible at the last minute, but I think the threats from Bloomberg, at least in part, helped to create that inflexibility.
     
  21. obie

    obie New Member

    Nov 18, 1998
    NY, NY
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My wife & I know a few city firefighters, and all of them live outside of the city in places like Mt. Kisco and New Rochelle -- because they live where they can afford it and where they can get good public schools. I have no idea where TWU workers live.
     
  22. VOwithwater

    VOwithwater New Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    This is no big deal for New Yorkers. Car Pools 4 in a car allowed into the City. If you have 3 or less there are areas in all the boroughs to pick uo extra people to make four. Plus companies are playing for parking.

    It is not a problem some companies are paying cabs and limos to pick up thetr workers 5 at a time and take them home at the end of the day for $150 a day like they did in the strike in the 1980's.

    Also companies have suites of hotel rooms if out of borough people want to stay there until the strike is over.

    It is under control.
     
  23. VOwithwater

    VOwithwater New Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    I am for the Union if they gave 4 percent with no strings attached there would have been no strike. MTA was running with a billion dollar surplus in profits.
     
  24. Matt in the Hat

    Matt in the Hat Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Brooklyn
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That money doesn't belong to the workers. It belongs to the people of New York.
     
  25. Dante

    Dante Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 19, 1998
    Binghamton, NY
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You'll find TWU workers living in areas like that as well, that was my point. It's not just the cops and firefighters like the blogger was trying to say.
     

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