TWU Walks Out On New York
Update (6pm): Update from Mayor Mike himself (emphasis, excerpting, and annotation mine):
"Since early this morning, the City's mass transit system has been shut down because of the selfish and illegal strike undertaken by the TWU. ... The good news is New Yorkers are following the strike contingency plan we developed and put into effect early this morning."
"911 is getting more calls than usual, about a 15% increase."
[Any preventable tragedies owing to incremental 911 response time are blood on the TWU's hands.]
"Retail, especially in Lower Manhattan, has been hit the hardest. Hundreds of stores haven't been able to open and some that did have had practically no business. Along one stretch of 8th Avenue, 40% of the stores weren't open."
"Let me repeat, this selfish strike is illegal. We live in a country of laws where there can be severe consequences for those who break them. ... Roger Toussaint and the TWU have shamefully decided they don't care about the people they work for and that they have no respect for the law. The leadership of the TWU has thuggishly turned their backs on New York City, and disgraced the noble concept of public service. ... Roger Toussaint and the TWU need to send their members back to work and stop hurting their fellow New Yorkers."
Update (5pm): Bloomberg News reports the TWU has been found in contempt (no kidding) of the court order forbidding a strike and will be fined $1 million for every day it goes on. Judge Theodore Jones noted, "This is a very, very sad day in the history of labor relations for New York City."
A nice start, but the Taylor Law allows for this fine to be doubled every day, for $25,000 fines (also daily doubling) to be levied on every striking worker, and for union bosses to be jailed for such mass lawlessness. This strike is costing New York hundreds of millions of dollars per day. The response to these criminals needs to be stepped up drastically.
Update (4pm): Newsday is reporting that Sandra Nathan, counsel for the Public Employee Relations Board (the agency that administers the Taylor Law, of which the union in is violation), has been assigned to mediate. Note that this is non-binding mediation, distinct from the binding arbitration sought by the MTA and bitterly resisted by the TWU.
Update (1pm): A few details are emerging now about the mid-day criminal contempt hearing (a tool that may be used to impose appropriately debilitating fines on the unions and their illegally striking members and potentially to throw union leaders in jail), currently being held by Brooklyn State Supreme Court Judge Theodore Jones. The TWU's Local 100's parent union, the Transport Workers Union of America, explicitly does not support the strike and maintains that negotiations were still progressing when the TWU chief Toussaint walked out and called for the strike.
Jones has rejected the local TWU's attempts to delay the hearing and to secure a jury trial. The union is also now reportedly claiming that the MTA provoked the strike. Says union boss Roger Toussaint, "We did not want a strike, but apparently the MTA, the governor and mayor did." Governor Pataki has advised, "All I can say is go back to work, come back to the table."
Update (11am): The TWU has published its own strike blog, with an unrestricted commenting policy. See the real-time backlash (interspersed with strikers' delusions of righteousness) in all its colorful New York phraseology (Hat tip: GOP and the City).
It's on. After failing to come to a contract agreement with the MTA last night, the Transport Workers Union voted 28-10 to launch their illegal citywide strike on bus and subway lines today, disrupting the commutes of the 7 million New Yorkers they serve.
Estimates of the financial hit the city will recognize today alone range from $400 to $660 million. The implications of compromised public safety may be even more serious.
This is the first time since 1980 that the union has made good on threats of an illegal strike, at which point an 11-day strike occurred under Mayor Ed Koch. Koch has been vocal about the strike this time around, aggressively supporting levying the steep fines against the rank-and-files members, but not the jailing of union leaders provided by the Taylor Law (not because they don't deserve it, but because it serves only to elevate them to martyr status).
Union chief Roger Toussaint and the rest of the TWU leadership that felt using the financial health and safety of New York as leverage in their lawless pursuit of more money should be locked up until they call off this disgraceful anarchic campaign.
A criminal hearing is scheduled for 11:00 this morning to address the union's serious crimes against this city.
...State Supreme Court Justice Theodore Jones in Brooklyn scheduled the 11 a.m. criminal contempt hearing against the Transport Workers Union after MTA requested a hearing as soon as possible. "We must bring this illegal strike to a halt immediately to preserve the safety of the city," said Michael Cardozo of the city's Corporation Council.
During the rare 4:30 a.m. hearing this morning, Justice Jones also signed a temporary restraining order, ordering the union to immediately stop striking. "The judge issued a temporary restraining order, basically saying, 'I told you not to strike, now I'm telling you to stop striking,'" Cardoza said.
Handcrafted by Flip on December 20, 2005 |
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