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Thread: New York City Transit Workers Strike

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    New York City Transit Workers Strike

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The city's transit union called a strike Tuesday morning after failing to reach a deal with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority following days of bitter labor talks.

    The decision ensured that New York would be thrown into chaos by the height of the morning rush hour.

    "This contract between the MTA and the Transport Workers Union should have been a no-brainer," union president Roger Toussaint said at a news conference announcing the strike. "Sadly that has not been the case."

    MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow called the strike "a slap in the face" to all New Yorkers and said state lawyers will immediately head to court in seeking to block the walkout.

    More than 7 million daily riders will be forced to find new ways to get around because of the strike, which comes at the height of the holiday shopping and tourist season.

    The Transport Workers Union and the MTA had worked furiously to try and reach a new contract, hoping to avoid the city's first transit strike in more than 25 years.

    It is illegal for mass transit workers to strike in New York, which means the 33,000 bus and subway employees will incur huge fines.

    Bus drivers have been instructed to drop off all passengers and return to their depots, and subways will finish their trips before turnstiles are chained and locked up. Exits will remain open to allow any last passengers off before the stations are shuttered

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg was poised to put into effect a sweeping emergency plan to reduce gridlock and keep certain streets open for emergency vehicles. New Yorkers were urged to make arrangements to car pool, bicycle and walk to work, or change their schedules and work from home.

    Bloomberg has said the walkout could cost the city as much as $400 million a day, and would be particularly harsh at the height of the holiday season. He said a strike would freeze traffic into "gridlock that will tie the record for all gridlocks."

    Talks broke down about an hour before the midnight deadline and the union board went into a meeting to vote on whether to strike. Toussaint made his announcement just after 3 a.m.

    Earlier, MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said the agency "put a fair offer on the negotiating table. Unfortunately, that offer has been rejected."

    The latest MTA offer included annual raises of 3 percent, 4 percent and 3.5 percent, considerably lower than what the union demanded. The previous proposal included 3 percent raises each year.

    The down-to-the-wire negotiations came as workers at two private bus lines in Queens walked off the job, a move designed to step up pressure on the MTA ahead of the deadline.

    The contract expired Friday at midnight, but the two sides agreed to keep talking through the weekend and the union set a new deadline for Tuesday. The city had been bracing for a citywide transit shutdown for rush hour Friday.

    Like last week, Bloomberg headed to the Office of Emergency Management headquarters and planned to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall if there were a strike.

    Pension issues have been a major sticking point in the talks. The MTA wants to raise the age at which new employees become eligible for full pension from 55 to 62, which the union says is unfair.

    Commuter frustration was evident Monday, with people fed up with all the uncertainty.

    "Enough is enough," said Craig DeRosa, who relies on the subway to get to work. "Their benefits are as rich as you see anywhere in this country and they are still complaining. I don't get it."

    Frustration also mounted in Queens, where employees of the striking Jamaica Buses Inc. and Triboro Coach Corp. bus lines were out early - many chanting "No contract, no work!"

    The companies serve about 50,000 commuters, and are in the process of being taken over by the MTA. Thus, the union temporarily found a loophole to avoid the state law that prohibits strikes by public employees.

    "No one wants to be out here," said 36-year-old Triboro bus driver Frank Lomanto, standing outside the company depot. "But this is something we have to do."

    At a Jackson Heights transit hub shortly after midnight, Brunilda Ayala said she had no sympathy for the union.

    "How can you give a raise to a bus driver who would make three old ladies walk home in the cold?" asked Ayala, 57.

    Jose Padilla, 34, said he and fellow Coca-Cola employees are meeting at 4 a.m. to come up with a plan to put more workers in trucks to ensure their product gets delivered in the case of a strike.

    "We have to get the Coke to the people," Padilla said. "Just because there is a strike, people don't stop drinking coke."

    A citywide bus and subway strike would be New York's first since an 11-day walkout in 1980.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...E&SECTION=HOME
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    guaranteed raises in exchange for increasing pension eligibility from 55 to 62, just wasnt enough

    I read in another article the union negotiator said that in a time when the MTA has a billion $$ surplus, these talks should have been easy. Maybe I am naive, but if there was a Billion $$ deficit i bet the demands would be the same.
    Kinda says it all and show the true shortsightedness of the negotiators.

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    That billion dollar surplus should have gone toward capital projects instead of borrowing it in the recently passed Transportation Bond Act. Instead the MTA blew the money on reducing transit fares during the holiday season (of course motorists didn't get such a toll break on MTA controlled bridges). The workers demands are outrageous but the MTA's spending habits are even more distasteful!

    I'm glad I work out in Nassau County instead of Manhattan. I may make less money than I would in Manhattan but at least I don't have to worry about getting to or from work when the next disaster happens! In the last five years Manhattan commuters have been faced with 3 major disruptions: 9/11, the blackout in 2003 and now this. I guess there is one advantage I have living and working in LAWNGUYLAND over the city.

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    Unhappy

    Downstate Buffaloian ...

    Is Metro North still running?
    I can't imagine Grand Central Station dark

    I'm heading back home for Christmas. The plan was to take the kids to see the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center, and all the window displays this friday night.

    I can't imagine driving into the city at this, the busiest time of year. I don't have the patience for that kind of gridlock.

    What a mess this strike must be causing in Manhattan.

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    Court Fines NYC Transit Strikers $1M a Day


    NEW YORK (AP) -- The city's subway and bus workers went on strike Tuesday for the first time in more than 25 years, stranding millions of commuters, holiday shoppers and tourists at the height of the Christmas rush. A judge promptly slapped the union with a $1 million-a-day fine.

    State Justice Theodore Jones leveled the sanction against the Transport Workers Union for violating a state law that bars public employees from going on strike.

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories...E&SECTION=HOME
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    This should give pause to anyone advocating either denser city living or regional government.
    Truth springs from argument among friends.

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    Member Downstate Buffaloian's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RaginTaxpayer
    Downstate Buffaloian ...

    Is Metro North still running?
    I can't imagine Grand Central Station dark

    I'm heading back home for Christmas. The plan was to take the kids to see the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center, and all the window displays this friday night.

    I can't imagine driving into the city at this, the busiest time of year. I don't have the patience for that kind of gridlock.

    What a mess this strike must be causing in Manhattan.
    Metro North and the Long Island Railroad are running but on somewhat limited schedules. They are using some of the the LIRR and Metro-north trains for Queens to Manhattan and Bronx to Manhattan runs to help those in the outer boroughs get to and from Manhattan.

    Enjoy Rockafeller center but if you drive leave very early and plan to have at least 4 to a car or you'll be turned back. Taking Metro-North to Manhattan and walking to RC from GCS probably would be the better option.

    Seems like our lives are in reverse Ragin Taxpayer. I grew up on Grand Island and moved to the NYC area and you did the reverse. How do you like the Island? It was a nice place to grow up but its a little strange. Is it a suburb? Exurb? People there don't want any development but don't like agricultural uses either. Go figure!

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    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    Do we have anyone from NYC reading the boards that can get us some pictures of true gridlock?

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    ----------------------------
    STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR GEORGE E. PATAKI

    “A few minutes ago, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) representing those who operate the New York City transit system called an illegal strike. They have broken the trust of the people of New York. They have not only endangered our City and State’s economy, but they are also recklessly endangering the health and safety of each and every New Yorker. This strike is illegal, unacceptable and will carry severe penalties for the union and its members.

    “While the TWU has left the bargaining table, the MTA remains and has urged the union to return and continue to work toward a resolution. The MTA has offered to the union a good faith, fair offer that addressed each of the union’s major concerns and offered significant wage increases over the next three years.

    “Notwithstanding the fair offer, the union has gone ahead and decided to break the law and jeopardize the health and safety of the City of New York, its residents, employees and visitors. For decades, the people of New York have been protected by the Taylor Law that makes it illegal for public employees to go out on strike. The TWU must reconsider its illegal act. The consequences to the union and its members are severe and will compound each day the strike continues.

    “Unfortunately, the union still continues to demand a contract which is inconsistent with recent contracts reached between the State and its unions, as well as the recent settlements between the City, its teachers and police officers.

    “Over the past ten years, public servants have continued to serve the City and State even without contracts in place. Many State unions did not have contracts for many months. The City’s police officers, firefighters and teachers all negotiated with expired contracts, not just for months, but for years. Yet, not one of those unions have gone on strike and deprived the City of essential services. We cannot allow anyone who serves a critical role for the public, to break the law.

    “Mayor Bloomberg and I are in complete agreement that the MTA has negotiated in good faith and that the Taylor Law is crystal clear--it is illegal for public employees to strike. Essential government services cannot be shut down. In a city of 8 million people, mass transit is such a service and must be provided without interruption. It is illegal not just because it causes inconvenience and economic loss, but also because such a strike poses a serious threat to the health and safety of our residents in particular for those who need to travel for emergency services.

    “The MTA remains committed to negotiating in good faith and I urge the TWU to stop this illegal strike, report to work as scheduled and come back to the bargaining table.

    “New Yorkers are facing some challenging times ahead. Together, we have seen some dark days, but we have always seen them through to a brighter tomorrow. In the coming days, I encourage all New Yorkers to be patient and resilient as we work together to overcome the unnecessary crisis that has been set upon us by this illegal strike.”
    ---------------------

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    They showed the average wages of common transit jobs. They ranged from $51,000 to $63,000.

    The average wage of a New York City resident is $43,000.

    They didn't go into benefits, but I'm pretty sure the transit workers are way better off than the average resident.

    If George Pataki has any aspirations to the Presidency, he'll pull a PATCO and fire them all.

    Care to guess how many people could be a subway "conductor"? They don't even stop the trains; it's automatic. The only skill you have to master is to speak unintelligibly when announcing the next stop.

    Reagan changed labor relations for a generation. If George were to take that bold action, he'd offset his otherwise too-liberal record.
    Truth springs from argument among friends.

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    Oh yeah--as to dollars and cents, the MTA has offered wage increases of 10.5% over three years.

    The union wants 24%.

    So what have you gotten over the past three years?
    Truth springs from argument among friends.

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    Member LaNdReW's Avatar
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    Originally posted by biker
    They showed the average wages of common transit jobs. They ranged from $51,000 to $63,000.

    The average wage of a New York City resident is $43,000.

    They didn't go into benefits, but I'm pretty sure the transit workers are way better off than the average resident.

    If George Pataki has any aspirations to the Presidency, he'll pull a PATCO and fire them all.

    Care to guess how many people could be a subway "conductor"? They don't even stop the trains; it's automatic. The only skill you have to master is to speak unintelligibly when announcing the next stop.

    Reagan changed labor relations for a generation. If George were to take that bold action, he'd offset his otherwise too-liberal record.
    Too-Liberal, heheh, heheh,hehe....

    These people are nuts...10%over 3 years? Sounds good to me!

    They are holding nearly all the cards however.....
    Pataki pulling a PATCO??? There are too many of them. There would be Mayhem in NYC.

    Now maybe if he REALLY worked like reagan, he could exchange some weapons for, ah, nevermind.
    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis (1935)

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    Originally posted by Downstate Buffaloian
    Enjoy Rockafeller center but if you drive leave very early and plan to have at least 4 to a car or you'll be turned back. Taking Metro-North to Manhattan and walking to RC from GCS probably would be the better option.
    Thanks for the info.
    We always take the Metro-North Harlem Line to Grand Central Station and walk to Rockefeller Center. It's much more enjoyable as it allows us to window shop, browse the smaller shops along the way, get hotdogs, roasted chestnuts, or warm potato knishes. You can't do that in a car. We were recently there for the Macy's Parade. The kids love it and well, it's in my blood

    Seems like our lives are in reverse Ragin Taxpayer. I grew up on Grand Island and moved to the NYC area and you did the reverse. How do you like the Island? It was a nice place to grow up but its a little strange. Is it a suburb? Exurb? People there don't want any development but don't like agricultural uses either. Go figure!
    I actually love living on the Island. A big change from lower Westchester County and the traffic is ... well, non-existant compared to downstate. I like go from point A to point B in 20 minutes or less. If "a little strange" means it's a fishbowl where everone knows your business, well, it sure is!!

    I'm not quite sure if it's a suburb or Exurb. Maybe someone here on the board can answer that better. I know the news will refer to us as an "outer-ring" neighboring town.

    I have always heard the overall opinion of town residents was to keep the Island rural. I, like them, like it this way. Sure, we have to leave the Island to buy a birthday gift, but, it's a quiet place to come home to.

    With a few exceptions, I find the people here in Western NY extremely pleasent. They smile a lot up here, it's eerie .. lol Down there people are so suspicious of eachother and they never talk to strangers! If you need directions ... good luck Charlie!

    I had a chance to return "home" a few years back, but I grew up there and know the disadvantages of being a kid growing up in a heavily congested, fast paced area. This is a much better environment to raise children.

    What I don't like here? ... the hotdogs!! I want my Sabret!!
    And, despite what native Buffalonians say .. NYC pizza is #1!

    So what do you think about living on Lawnguyland?

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    Member LaNdReW's Avatar
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    Really?

    Originally posted by RaginTaxpayer
    Thanks for the info.
    We always take the Metro-North Harlem Line to Grand Central Station and walk to Rockefeller Center. It's much more enjoyable as it allows us to window shop, browse the smaller shops along the way, get hotdogs, roasted chestnuts, or warm potato knishes. You can't do that in a car. We were recently there for the Macy's Parade. The kids love it and well, it's in my blood



    I actually love living on the Island. A big change from lower Westchester County and the traffic is ... well, non-existant compared to downstate. I like go from point A to point B in 20 minutes or less. If "a little strange" means it's a fishbowl where everone knows your business, well, it sure is!!

    I'm not quite sure if it's a suburb or Exurb. Maybe someone here on the board can answer that better. I know the news will refer to us as an "outer-ring" neighboring town.

    I have always heard the overall opinion of town residents was to keep the Island rural. I, like them, like it this way. Sure, we have to leave the Island to buy a birthday gift, but, it's a quiet place to come home to.

    With a few exceptions, I find the people here in Western NY extremely pleasent. They smile a lot up here, it's eerie .. lol Down there people are so suspicious of eachother and they never talk to strangers! If you need directions ... good luck Charlie!

    I had a chance to return "home" a few years back, but I grew up there and know the disadvantages of being a kid growing up in a heavily congested, fast paced area. This is a much better environment to raise children.

    What I don't like here? ... the hotdogs!! I want my Sabret!!
    And, despite what native Buffalonians say .. NYC pizza is #1!

    So what do you think about living on Lawnguyland?
    The hotdogs!!! ??
    That is one of the best things here.. Sahlens, etc... I hate coneys!

    People in Fla actually think oscar mayer dogs are hotdogs!

    We got a pie in NYC and it was terrible...I chalked it up to bad luck.... You got to try different pizza joints!

    I agree about the people, people here seem to be more friendly...Holding doors open, smiling, saying hello. Its a WNY thing!
    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis (1935)

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    Re: Really?

    Originally posted by LaNdReW
    The hotdogs!!! ??
    That is one of the best things here.. Sahlens, etc... I hate coneys!
    It's Sabret! The same kind they sell out of the pushcarts all over NYC and it's suburbs. We used to call them "dirty water hotdogs" .. lol. With mustard and kraut or onion sauce .. can't beat 'em. We bring them back home with us and my son feeds them to his friends.

    I'll admit, maybe there is a good pizza place up here, but I haven't tried it. We Islanders are stuck with Brick Oven (too sweet), John's Pizza (too bready), Stan's (yucky), Picasso's (yuckier) and Pizza Hut (commercially yucky), I here there are some better pizzarias in Buffalo, but they don't deliver to the island.

    I grew up on real New York Style pizza.. not too thin, not too thick, crispy crust pizza that's hand tossed by an authentic Italian. The kind you fold in half and watch the oil drip out the other end.

    Got pizza?

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