Well, color me transit-struck
I didn't think it would happen. They've threatened every three years since I've lived in New York City, but never gone through with it. Alas, for the first time in 25 years, the Transport Workers Union here in New York City went on strike this morning.
Watching the enforced carpooling on NY1 (the all-NYC cable news station) has been one of the more entertaining parts of the coverage, for sure. Forcing New Yorkers to get into cars with each other is one thing, but then to have a reporter on TV interviewing dumbfounded carpoolers, asking them if they feel safe riding with strangers... ahhhhh, welcome to New York!
Evan's already noted some of the vitriol that's been thrown at the transit workers (and until I did a little research and got the whole picture yesterday after a reader wrote to us, I might have been one of them). What we need to talking about is the MTA, one of the more corrupt agencies in the state. What happened to the $1 billion surplus? And the fact that the fare hike from two years ago was found to be a sham because of cooked books?
And by the way, where the hell is Governor Pataki? The MTA is a state agency, and this guy was all up in front of the cameras during the last couple of negotiations... could it be... nooooo... could it be because he's not seeking re-election next year? Hello, Eliot Spitzer... this is your moment.
Some have asked how the union could do this during the holiday season. The workers certainly recognize the gravity of what they're doing -- they're losing 2 days' pay for each day they're on strike, under the Taylor Law, enacted after the first strike in 1966. After the only other transit strike in city history in 1980, the union was fined $1.25 million under the same law.
A couple of days ago, I overheard some transit workers talking in the 2nd Avenue station, pictured above: "They sold us out six years ago, they sold us out three years ago, and now it's time to go on strike. I'm not gonna be sold out anymore."