One of the least talked about issues lately was the expiring contract of 30,000+ bus & subway workers at New York City Transit. The MTA & TWU Local 100 which represents the workers had been engaging in contract renewal talks until earlier today. Within the last 90 minutes, both agencies announced that they were unable to reach a new deal.
Riders do not have to worry as we will not see a repeat of the 2005 transit strike which brought the city to its knees. TWU Local 100 President Roger Toussaint promised as much back in November. However both sides will go to arbitration. The MTA released a statement via e-mail within the last 90 minutes which stated:
Over the past several months, the MTA and TWU Local 100 have discussed a possible agreement on a contract effective January 16, 2009. However, due to complications associated with today’s current economic climate, we have reached an impasse and have jointly decided to arbitrate contract terms.
Sewell Chan of the New York Times has more on this breaking news including a statement from TWU Local 100 in this report:
Is another transit strike in store? Not likely. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s labor agreement with its largest union, Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union of America, is set to expire on Jan. 15.
Both sides announced on Tuesday that they had not been able to reach an agreement at the negotiating table, and would therefore go to arbitration — a signal that a full-fledged labor battle would probably not happen. The union represents more than 30,000 subway and bus workers at New York City Transit, the authority’s largest division.
Jesse Derris, a union spokesman, said in a statement:
After months of discussions with the M.T.A., a settlement could not be reached. As the contract moves to arbitration, we wait to see whether transit workers will be treated fairly or in a manner disparate to the other workers who serve this city.
I am pretty sure this will be an intense process between two sides who rarely see eye to eye on things. While a strike will most likely not come from any of this due to the ramifications it would hold for the union, it is a given that this process will just add more fuel to a never ending fire.
Stay tuned for the latest information.
xoxo Transit Blogger