Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More Updates on the NYC Transit Strike

[Blawgers: Curious what you think about the end... (everyone else, too)]

An interesting development in the NYC transit strike, which was more fully discussed earlier...
A judge Wednesday ordered leaders of New York's striking transit union brought before him and threatened to jail them for criminal contempt as millions of commuters trudged through Day 2 of the bus and subway walkout.


State Justice Theodore Jones directed attorneys from the TWU to bring union local president Roger Toussaint and other top officials before the court on Thursday. He said there was a "distinct possibility" he would send them to jail for refusing to end the strike against the nation's largest transit system.
It would be interesting to see the reactions to this: I wonder if they will be more inclined to strike a deal when they're threatened with jail time. I'm already disappointed with the MTA, which gave in on a couple of major issues.
In its last offer before negotiations broke down, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had proposed maintaining a retirement age of 55 but increasing what new hires contribute to the pension plan. It would require new employees to pay 6 percent of their wages for their first 10 years, rather than the current 2 percent. Union officials said that such a change was unacceptable.
I think the retirement age of 55 is absolutely ridiculous, but there's little to do about it now. What is even more interesting is the latest possibility the city raised:
Turning up the pressure even further on the union, the city asked the judge to issue a back-to-work order. If the judge issues the order and the workers ignore it, the city could ask for fines against rank-and-file members — a punishment that goes beyond the two days' pay they are losing for every day on strike under the no-walkout law.

The fines would be at the discretion of the judge, and most likely would range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
I am still, and possibly even more strongly, of the opinion that the city should go after the union for everything they've got, which they seem to be well on the way to doing:
On Tuesday, the judge imposed a huge fine against the TWU — $1 million for each day of the strike. The union's lawyer said the fine could deplete the union's treasury in the matter of days, and the union vowed to appeal.
Good. Now, I'd be even more interested in reading whether businesses can sue the union for lost revenue. Think about it this way: This strike is illegal, beyond any doubt. Businesses are losing gobs of money - $400 million a day by most estimates. Assuming a business can prove the strike affected them, would that be enough to collect from the unions?

And wouldn't that be really interesting to see?

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