Saturday, December 24, 2005

Tallying the Toll

As we embark on Christmas Eve, New York City businesses are hoping to eke out a positive spin to an otherwise dismal last week. The transit strike may have killed businesses around the City, and it will take time to determine just what the final toll will be.

So, why did Roger Toussaint and the gang go on strike? Was it pride? Respect? Or ego? I'd suggest another possibility. Stupidity.

The New York Post, meanwhile, has some nice things to say about Mayor Bloomberg's actions during the strike. I consider the Mayor to have been slow in slamming the union, and could have taken a harder line to stave off the strike, but otherwise did a decent job in a difficult situation.

The Gothamist wonders which local reporters got the job done on strike coverage.

Oh, and a deal may be in the works. A three year deal. Talks are suspended for the weekend, but there are signs that an agreement may be close at hand.
The TWU's 33,700 members can expect to have six days of pay deducted from their checks in the future, part of the penalty under the state Taylor Law for the three-day strike.

The union also will have to give up the right to automatically deduct members' dues from their checks, but the labor board may take months to determine the length of that penalty.

And even the $1-million-a-day fine levied by a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge could be modified or appealed after the parties return to court in a month.

"The union is going to get fined. It's up to the judge," Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. "The judge I suppose could say no, but the judge had a direct order."

The TWU walked out to protest the MTA's insistence on pension changes for new members, but Bloomberg said the union has to face reality.

"Every company and every government is wrestling with the problem," he said. "Medical benefits for them and pensions for them are getting more and more expensive."

The mayor also said he expects a contract "sooner rather than later."

Kevin Drum notes that it's hard to work up any sympathy for the TWU.

Prior Coverage: Winners and Losers
Strike Over?
Seeing The Humor in Striking
Three Strikes and You're Out?
Rogering New York
A Pox On Both Their Houses
The Pension Gap
The TWU to NYC: We're Gonna Strike
Taking Sides in the Transit Strike

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