NYC transit deadline past, no strike or talks

Friday, December 16, 2005

An A-Train at Beach 67th St.

Talks between the MTA and Transit Workers Union Local 100 (TWU) ended this morning at 06:00 EST (11:00 UTC) with no resolution or job action. The latest offer in the now bitter negotiation was from MTA: 3% pay increases per year in a three-year contract with changes in the health benefits and pension plan for new employees.

In a 12:30 EST (17:30 UTC) press conference, MTA President Peter Kalikow told the press that this would be the final offer the MTA would make because "there is no more." Kalikow continued that the MTA would be in dire straits in 2008 if they were to accept the TWU's demands, which included a 24% pay increase over three years and a reduced co-pay towards employees' health care premiums. He continued, "if they [the TWU] don't accept it, we will go to binding arbitration. This is our last offer."

Although most New Yorkers were geared up for a strike when the contract expired at 00:01 EST (05:01 UTC), the subways and busses continued to run their routes. An AP report, later confirmed by the TWU, calls for a limited strike with two deadlines: One at 00:01 EST Monday for the Jamaica and Triboro bus lines, and one at 00:01 EST Tuesday for MTA subways and busses.

Because they are run by private companies, a strike by the Jamaica and Triboro bus employees would not be subject to New York's Taylor Law, which prohibits public employees from striking and fines strikers two times their salary for each day the strike lasts.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg commented that had the union begun its strike this morning, it would not have been as "damaging" as a Tuesday-morning strike. He also added "I thought that the MTA offer was more generous than what the municipal emplyees get offered." Governor George Pataki reminded the union that the Taylor Law would be applied: "As I said yesterday, I have three words for the TWU: 'Don't do it.' If you strike, there will be very real consequences."

No talks were held today. Bargaining sessions are scheduled to resume tomorrow morning at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Manhattan.