Striking NYC transit workers will return to jobs

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Simplified map of the New York City subway system.

Striking New York City transit workers will return to their jobs in 12-24 hours under an agreement reached today. While no final contract agreement has been reached, transit work will resume as negotiations continue. At 2:40 pm EST, the TWU board voted to end the strike. By 3:00 pm, the TWU Local 100 website had posted a notice to workers to return to work.

Mediator Richard Curreri announced the union is "taking steps" to immediately restore transportation to the city. "We have requested the leadership of the TWU to take the actions necessary to direct its membership to immediately return to work and they have agreed to take such actions," Mr. Curreri told reporters.

Thirty-four thousand Transport Workers Union Local 100 members walked off the job December 20 after working months without a contract when negotiations broke down over disagreements concerning pensions, health benefits, and pay. Agreement had nearly been reached, but just a few hours before a strike deadline, the Metropolitan Transport Authority's chairman, Peter S. Kalikow, made an unexpected demand, requiring that all new transit workers increase the contribution to pensions from the present 2 percent of their wages to 6 percent, which upset the union members. Roger Toussaint, president of Transport Workers Union Local 100, stated "Were it not for the pension piece we would not be on strike." and summed up the whole conflict as "a fight over dignity and respect on the job, a concept that is very alien to the MTA. Transit workers are tired of being underappreciated and disrespected."

The strike has affected an estimated 7 million commuters in the city over three days, which is about 21 million person-days in total. New York's 34,000 bus and subway workers are affected by the difficulty of their everyday working conditions and health standards for a total of about 10 million person-days per year.

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