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The View from New York City: Transit Strike

New York New York City Transit Strike 2006

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#1 QueenTiye

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 03:40 PM

Posting from a Time Magazine Web exclusive:


Quote

The City that Never Sleeps Takes a Hike
A transit strike forces New Yorkers to come up with novel ways to get to work amid fears of being scrooged for the holidays
By NATHAN THORNBURGH/NEW YORK


Posted Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005
New York's subways and buses came to a standstill this morning after talks between the Transport Workers Union and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) finally collapsed after the midnight deadline. The strike, which comes in the teeth of New York holiday shopping and tourism season and could cost the city up to $400 million a day, sent many of the system's 7 million daily riders into the early morning darkness, with the temperature hovering just above 20 degrees, to improvise a new way to get to work.

Thousands joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg in walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Checkpoints became chokepoints in all five boroughs as traffic police strictly enforced a four-passenger minimum in all cars and cabs.

A modern strike allows for some modern solutions. When talks began to sour, Craigslist filled with hundreds of posters looking for rideshares to and from work on Tuesday. City websites offered New York's netizens .pdf files of traffic routes and restrictions. And untold thousands became telecommuters overnight. But for those who needed to show up to work, the remedies were decidedly old-fashioned: walk, bike, or, if they had enough people to fill a car, sit in miles of gridlock.

Transit strikes have convulsed the city before, and they've been neither quick nor easy. In a 1906 strike, the New York Times wrote that the few operating trains were so crowded that passengers had to scramble out of the windows to get on or off. It took President Lyndon Johnson’s personal intervention to end a 12-day strike in 1966, which interrupted, among other things, the trial of Malcolm X's assassins. In April 1980, Mayor Ed Koch pioneered the pep rally walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to show New Yorkers how to survive 11 days without public transportation. But this morning’s walkout was the first since then — more than 25 years — and the city that had gotten used to tough labor talk and hollow walkout threats seemed genuinely, dejectedly surprised by the strike.

I recall the 1980 strike.  I was too young to be commuting anywhere, but old enough to be pretty proud to be a New Yorker at the time.  The 1980 strike, interestingly enough, was the strike that made sneakers women's fashion accessories.  Before then, only jogging fanatics and athletes wore them.  During the strike, NYC women took to wearing sneakers with bobby socks - a look that remained popular for years - and carrying their business shoes to work.

Today, commuting from my town was a cinch - almost no one on the street.  As the article mentions - lots of people telecommuted - and telecommuting, which has long been a "fashionable" senior management thing to do, may now become more widespread as more people, at lower levels of responsibility, actually NEED to do so.  Depends on how long the strike lasts.

QT

Edited by QueenTiye, 20 December 2005 - 03:47 PM.

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#2 tennyson

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 03:41 PM

Hi, I had been wondering how you were doing with the transit strike.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

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#3 QueenTiye

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 03:45 PM

Hi yourself! And, congratulations, btw! :)  

Well, Manhattan is the "motherboard" of the city - everything leads into and out of it.  So getting to Manhattan isn't as much of a problem as it might seem.  My daily commute is actually unaffected, save for overflow of subway commuters looking for alternatives.  However, getting to Brooklyn to see my dad is not doable now, without a car.  A New York Times commuter guide has a listed alternative commute icon near where he lives - but the legend explains that that is a car pooling station - a place that will be crowded with taxis charging $10/head.

QT

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#4 BklnScott

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 03:52 PM

So, I dunno about my fellow Ex Islers who are based in, or commute to, NYC, but I'm ready to kill (or at least seriously maim) me some union members AND MTA bosses.  

I had to walk about 25 blocks to the Path this morning in 20 degree weather, and will have to walk it again in about an hour (fortified by at least one appletini, mind you).    

What did the union members think they were going to accomplish?  They're losing two days of pay for every one day out, and it's highly likely the individual members will be assessed a $25K fine that DOUBLES each day--so $50K tomorrow, $100K Thursday, etc.  

And the bosses--What did they think was going to happen after they announced a BILLION dollar surplus while simultaneously claiming they couldn't affoard to sweeten the pot for their employees?  (Instead, offering commuters a retarded fare-cut for the Christmas season that we neither asked for nor wanted).  

If we had a REAL President, he'd have made a surprise guest appearance at the negotiations last night with a threat to Federalize the workers, but NOOOOH.  He probably didn't even know a strike was imminent.

The worst part of all this is--I didn't get to finish my damn Christmas shopping!  I took Thursday and Friday off specirfically to do so, but if the strike is ongoing, I won't get the chance.   :angry:

Anyone else have horror stories?

Edited by _ph, 20 December 2005 - 04:55 PM.

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#5 QueenTiye

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 03:59 PM

No rants from me (yet). My biggest annoyance was finding that the fast food place I'd hoped to get lunch from was closed. :( :)

I do realize that people are annoyed as heck - but I've always found New Yorkers pretty impressive under circumstances such as these...

(BTW - I had already started a topic on this... do you want to merge topics or do you want to keep your rant thread separate and distinct?)

QT

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#6 Smiley

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:03 PM

Yikes, sorry to hear about this strike. As cool as I think it could be to live in a big city, I think I'll stick to my corn fields. Here's to hoping the strike ends soon.
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#7 BklnScott

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:23 PM

Ah, great minds ...  Merge away!  (Is that something I can do, or is it a Mod Thing?)

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#8 QueenTiye

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:25 PM

_ph, on Dec 20 2005, 04:23 PM, said:

Ah, great minds ...  Merge away!  (Is that something I can do, or is it a Mod Thing?)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Mod thing.  Maybe tennyson will pop in here and show off his new modly powers. :)

QT

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#9 offworlder

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:27 PM

I heard about this on one o those morning am shows done in The City (funny how London uses that name but NYC doesn't seem to?)

I wonder how many have a bike hanging from hooks on the balcony or deck, usually gathering dust, but today swung out like a warrior's sabre, though now a 'Road Warrior' ( I just kill me sometimes), wipe it off, put on an orange jacket from the almost-donating bin in the back closet, and Swooooooosh on out there toward the work building many many blocks and avenues away.
;)

we have strikes sometimes but it seems to affect education or the economy more than buses or trains ... and of course the rich can just call up the 'car service' more often than usual, or telecommute in ways the paeons would be in risk of redunancy if they attempted ....... funny how the rich, or the senior-salaried or the big names and nameplates always make out no matter what's going on
:p
but: I wonder if a bunch of schoolkids can't get to school with all this happening, those usaully using metro buses or subways?
"(Do you read what they say online?) I check out all these scandalous rumours about me and Elijah Wood having beautiful sex with each other ... (are they true?) About Elijah and me being boyfriend and boyfriend? Absolutely true. We've been together for about nine years. I wooed him. No I just like a lot of stuff - I like that someone says one thing and it becomes fact. It's kind of fun." --Dominic Monaghan in a phone interview with Newsweek while buying DVDs at the store. :D

#10 Palisades

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:30 PM

_ph, you can shop online for your remaining Christmas gifts. The two-day shipping rates aren't that steep. Better do it tonight though if you're going to do it. With the holiday rush, ordering tomorrow would be cutting it really close.

Edited by Solar Wind, 20 December 2005 - 04:31 PM.

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#11 QueenTiye

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:31 PM

Smiley, on Dec 20 2005, 04:03 PM, said:

Yikes, sorry to hear about this strike. As cool as I think it could be to live in a big city, I think I'll stick to my corn fields. Here's to hoping the strike ends soon.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yeah - depending on the length - it will be... interesting...

offworlder, on Dec 20 2005, 04:27 PM, said:

I heard about this on one o those morning am shows done in The City (funny how London uses that name but NYC doesn't seem to?)

Actually we do.  However, "The City" from outside of NY means either anywhere in NY or Manhattan, while "The City" from anywhere inside of NY but outside of Manhattan means Manhattan. :wacko:

Quote

but: I wonder if a bunch of schoolkids can't get to school with all this happening, those usaully using metro buses or subways?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That's a good question.  Some high school kids might not be able to get to school - I wonder what the Board of Ed is doing about this? (Most other kids do not need to commute to school by public transportation - school is usually in walking distance.)

QT

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#12 Kosh

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:33 PM

Quote

If we had a REAL President, he'd have made a surprise guest appearance at the negotiations last night with a threat to Federalize the workers, but NOOOOH. He probably didn't even know a strike was imminent.


What country do live in Comrad? This ain't supposed to happen in the USA. It has in the past, but no President worth a damn would get involved in a city strike.
Can't Touch This!!

#13 QueenTiye

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:44 PM

WHAT? Why not?  

Have you any idea how severely crippling to the NATION an ongoing strike in NYC could be?  Such a power has limited usefulness - and should be invoked fairly infrequently - but...

I work in the Wall Street district.  Typically, around 2:30 in the afternoon there is a population density of 50 - 60 people per city street (I'm guessing on that but lets just pretend I'm right).  That's just people walking from here to there - not people in the buildings, etc.  Today, at around 2:30 in the afternoon, there were about 10 people on the street - and the ratio remained consistend throughout.  

New York City employs people in 4 states - NY,NJ, CT and to a lesser extent, PA.  Most people will be able to get in to work from outside the city, but if they don't work near the major transportation hubs like Penn Station, Port Authority, and World Trade Center - then they are out of luck as far as commuting goes.  AND - that's hoping that their places of business are actually opening up - if enough people can't make it in (and of course, most of the employees in any company are going to live in the same locale as the company) - there's no point in opening the doors. Lots of retail outlets were closed.

That said - I anticipate it being a while before this escalates to a situation where the federal government steps in.  And - I anticipate the city coming to terms with the striking workers before things get to that point. (I could be overly optimistic though!)

QT

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#14 BklnScott

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:45 PM

^^^All NYC public schools were opened 2 hours late today...  That will probably be standard.

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#15 QueenTiye

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:48 PM

ALL of them? That seems terribly counterintuitive. Of course school teachers have to get to work -but that really jams up a bunch of parents who have to start out earlier than normal to get to work! :o  And - are they staying open two hours later as well?

High Schoolers are typically the only ones commuting (and not even all of them are doing so).  SO this is really about the teachers, isn't it?

QT

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#16 BklnScott

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:54 PM

Solar Wind, on Dec 20 2005, 04:30 PM, said:

_ph, you can shop online for your remaining Christmas gifts. The two-day shipping rates aren't that steep. Better do it tonight though if you're going to do it. With the holiday rush, ordering tomorrow would be cutting it really close.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I've done my online shopping -- for things like DVDs, books, etc -- but I can't buy clothes or tchotchkes ('gorgeous little ... things...") online, and I can't get to Macy's or Bergdorf or my favorite shops in Chelsea without the subway or cabs (because you CAN NOT get a cab right now--even if you CAN affoard it).

Kosh, on Dec 20 2005, 04:33 PM, said:

Quote

If we had a REAL President, he'd have made a surprise guest appearance at the negotiations last night with a threat to Federalize the workers, but NOOOOH. He probably didn't even know a strike was imminent.

What country do live in Comrad? This ain't supposed to happen in the USA. It has in the past, but no President worth a damn would get involved in a city strike.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You obviously have no idea how severe the economic hit will be, not just for the city, but for the entire country.  This is an ILLEGAL strike that paralyzes the nation's largest public transport system (7 million riders a day) with five shopping days left until Christmas.  

The President could have, and should have, stepped in to, at minimum, DELAY the strike until after the holiday.    

Plus, there's a good chance that he wouldn't have had to follow through on the threat--just the fact that the President was there making it would've gone a long way toward moving the parties to an agreement.

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#17 BklnScott

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 04:57 PM

QueenTiye, on Dec 20 2005, 04:48 PM, said:

ALL of them? That seems terribly counterintuitive. Of course school teachers have to get to work -but that really jams up a bunch of parents who have to start out earlier than normal to get to work! :o  And - are they staying open two hours later as well?

High Schoolers are typically the only ones commuting (and not even all of them are doing so).  SO this is really about the teachers, isn't it?

QT

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I doubt they're staying open later, no.  And I expect this is about the high schoolers and the teachers.  (After all, most NYC teachers do not live in the neighborhoods where they work--either they can't affoard it, or they wouldn't be caught dead living there... or both :) ).

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#18 Kosh

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 05:10 PM

Quote

You obviously have no idea how severe the economic hit will be, not just for the city, but for the entire country. This is an ILLEGAL strike that paralyzes the nation's largest public transport system (7 million riders a day) with five shopping days left until Christmas.

No such thing as an illegal strike. There are bad strikes, but only slaves are not allowed to strike.


I live in Union country. My Father belonged to the IMCA, his brother was a coal miner, my brother worked as a pipefitter for the Local.


Presidents and Cops have no business gatting involved in any strike untill there is violence. I've seen the Commonwealth of Virginia send in it's cops when they had no business being there, that hasn't happened here, but most of the unions are disapearing
Can't Touch This!!

#19 tennyson

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 05:12 PM

The threads will be merged shortly. I just need to see about something.
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

— Londo, "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Babylon-5


#20 BklnScott

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 05:29 PM

Kosh, on Dec 20 2005, 05:10 PM, said:

Quote

You obviously have no idea how severe the economic hit will be, not just for the city, but for the entire country. This is an ILLEGAL strike that paralyzes the nation's largest public transport system (7 million riders a day) with five shopping days left until Christmas.

No such thing as an illegal strike.

Gotta call bu11sh!t on that one, Kosh.  The strike is in violation of New York State's Taylor Law.

http://www.goer.stat...ter/taylor.html

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What Is It?

The Public Employees Fair Employment Act, commonly known as the Taylor Law, is a labor relations statute covering most public employees in New York State-- whether employed by the State, or by counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts, public authorities or certain special service districts. It became effective September 1, 1967 and was the first comprehensive labor relations law for public employees in the State, and among the first in the United States. It is the legal foundation used by GOER in its negotiations with New York State's public employee unions.

What Does It Do?

The Taylor Law:

grants public employees the right to organize and to be represented by employee organizations of their own choice;
requires public employers to negotiate and enter into agreements with public employee organizations regarding their employees' terms and conditions of employment;
establishes impasse procedures for the resolution of collective bargaining disputes;
defines and prohibits improper practices by public employers and public employee organizations;
prohibits strikes by public employees; and
establishes a state agency to administer the Law- The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

Quote

Presidents and Cops have no business gatting involved in any strike untill there is violence.

No cops are involved in this strike, nor is it likely they will become involved--but Presidents are powerful mediators (at least, if they know what they're talking about), and there is a time-honored tradition of the President getting involved in situations such as these.  

As I said earlier, it's quite possible this one doesn't even know this strike is happening!  

I'm not against unions, but neither am I knee-jerk FOR them, as you seem to be.

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