Monday, December 12, 2005

NY Dread...

I'm supposed to be going to NY for the holidays, or at least one of them. But, it's already snowed in NY, and it usually doesn't seriously do that until January, and now they're talking a transit strike?

Even though there has not been a transit strike since 1980, even though state law bars such walkouts and even though union and management say a strike is unlikely, a strike is always possible, and this year the chances appear higher than usual.

"A settlement is the rational thing, but people don't always behave in a rational manner," said John H. Mollenkopf, director of the Center for Urban Research at the City University Graduate Center.

The potential for irrationality - others use the words intransigence or hotheadedness - seems slightly higher in this December's negotiations than in the transit talks three years ago, when the two sides stopped the clock and then announced a settlement 19 hours after the strike deadline.

This time around, the bargaining stew seems somewhat more volatile because the transportation authority is demanding sizable concessions on pensions and health coverage, saying that it needs to worry about future deficits even though it has a budget surplus of nearly $1 billion. Many transit workers believe the authority is sitting on a pile of money, and they are looking for generosity from the authority, not demands for givebacks.

The family I can deal with. Snow can be survived. Transit strikes are horrible. Simply horrible.

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