Well, they did it.

At one subway booth, a handwritten sign read, ‘Strike in Effect. Station Closed. Happy Holidays!!!’

This is going to be one messed up Christmas here in New York City. And I have no idea what I’m supposed to do about getting to work.

I could walk over the 59th Street Bridge (Queensboro) and walk south to 42nd. Or I could walk over the Wiliamsburg Bridge and walk north. Either way will take me hours.

Edited to add: I am staying home today. I’m going to use a sick day. Tomorrow, assuming they are still on strike, I plan on walking or biking over the Williamsburg Bridge. And I will photograph my entire commute.

We just took a walk up Graham avenue to see if there were any mindful hints or suggestions from those who are stranded on this side of the river. I heard a woman call her boss at the yoga studio in hopes of finding a sub. A student missed his morning classes. People looked confused and helpless. I fit in well among them.

Tomorrow, should prove interesting to say the least. And I can’t wait to hear more stories from other locals.

Edited to add: I just got a call from a friend who biked across the Williamsburg Bridge. Apparently, things up here are actually quite clear. He said that a lot of folks are just going about their business as usual. New Yorkers might whine a lot but overall we’re a tough breed.

Suddenly, tomorrow doesn’t look as bad. I was initially worried that the Bburg bridge would be as busy as the Brooklyn Bridge where so many people were walking it was impossible to bike.


  1. Would you dare to drive? what does a day of parking cost?

    I thought about you when I heard on NPR this morning that workers walked out.


  2. Charlie- there are restrictions of 4 people per car. Plus, there is so much traffic right now that it’s gridlocked everywhere.

    I’m working from home today. If this continues, I, too, will have to hoof it.


  3. I can seen the BQE from my window. It’s not moving at all. I could get four people, I’m not so concerned about that (actually, I laughed about the idea of making a few bucks and picking people up all day and driving them in. heh.) I won’t be able to find parking in mid-town. I would have a better chance of driving away from Brooklyn and getting on LIRR somewhere. But I hear that’s running behind because people are doing just that.

    I will have to work from home and take my vacation days. Which sucks. (We were told if we stay home, we have to tap our vacation and/or sick days.)

    The thing that bugs me the most about this RIGHT NOW is that my presents are being delivered to my office. This year may actually be the year without a santa if I can’t get in there and easily transport all my presents home.

    This really blows. It really, really blows.


  4. Oh man, that sucks about vacation/sick days.

    I saw on the news that there are lines blocks long to get on the LIRR.


  5. yeah, well, the Brooklyn bridge looks like fifth avenue at lunch time. What a mess!

    I am thinking tomorrow or later today I will walk the Bburg bridge and hope for the best. Actually, I will probably ride my bike assuming that’s kosher and/or doable considering all the walkers.

    If it weren’t the dead of winter and about 0 out, this wouldn’t be so bad. Actually, the exercise might be nice. But it’s really, really freaking cold outside.


  6. Im not familiar with the area, but how many actual miles is it from your home to your office?


  7. It’s not far at all. If you were to move in a straight line (which is impossible because swimming the East river is out of the question) it’d probably be about 3 miles? That’s a blind guess. But using roads/bridges, etc and factoring in one-way streets and whatnot, I’d guess probably more like 10. But, like I said, that’s a blind guess.

    I think I have decided to bike. Assuming there aren’t too many walkers to do so. I need to exercise anyway. :]


  8. and who’s side are you on?


  9. what do you mean, sir?


  10. I’m on the side of the commuters. And we’re the voice which was barely heard during all their meetings. And we’re the ones totally f*cked by it, too.


  11. I realize the inconvience for the commuter and I definitely see that in these situations its never the actual disputing parties that seem to get affected. I just wanted to know who you were supporting. I saw an interview with Bloomberg as he walked over the Brooklyn Bridge in “show of support” for the commuters and he made some statements about how the law abiding citizens of New York are in great peril, and how vulnerable the city is to crime right now
    because of these strikes. Then when he was asked about tourism he said that it was a great oppurrtunity to get out and walk around, shop and enjoy the scenery of the city… just thought that was funny. I usually tend to side with the unions in situations like these (especially since I heard about the 1 billion dollar surplus) but in this instance I felt it was pretty shady of them to do this the week before Christmas. In either case both sides are using you the commuter as pawns in this big game of chicken right?


  12. yes, that was a bit of a copout answer. last week, I wrote about siding with the Union. However, they are asking for some things I might not get behind. But I guess that’s how it works, ask for a lot and hope you get a few things you ask for.

    But, yes, I agree with you. I tend to side with the Union as well. In this case, it’s a pain in my ass and I do hope that the MTA gives them something so they come back to work.


  13. I sided with the union until yesterday. Two things pissed me off beyond belief:

    a_ i found out that they started striking on private bus lines in queens 3 days before anywhere else. those are all lower class/ middle class working family type transit solutions. if you’re going to strike, apply it unilaterally—don’t punish just the working class.

    b_ i saw the MTA concessions from last night. it was a sweet deal. TWU basically got the workers offered what they deserved (probably a bit more) – they just wanted ‘more’ for being a union. One of their contentions was that disciplinary action was too strict. Am I wrong for thinking that its pretty amazing that they’re not outright fired for fucking up on the job in the first place. And they’re NOT happy with that?!?

    Toussaint is a piece of shit. He’s so wrapped up in the idea of organized labor and his own ego, that he forgot the big picture. I hope they figure out a way to throw his ass in jail. (to note: i don’t even use the subway. i’m mad just on principle).

    Not to sound crazed republican, but in the Bush/911 world, I’m all for making the national guard run the trains for the next year, while the MTA makes use of the Bush admnistration’s anti union laws and replaces its entire workforce.


  14. im mean reagan…wow. That really took the fire out of my retort. My father in law was the victim of the Reagan administration. He was a air traffic controller for two tours of duty in Veitnam and continued as a civilian until the strikes in the 80’s when Reagan replaced everyone then.


  15. zac, Please. you misspelled something on here? I never do that. NEVER!

    You’re forgiven.


  16. Jon, I have been back and forth regarding this strike in my own mind. Again, I know I prove naive a lot of the time but I can’t help but think that we’re not getting the entire picture here. I know that deal sounded sweet. Believe me, I thought the same thing. But who in their right mind walks out of a job thereby crippling one of the largest cities on the planet if there isn’t a damn good reason for it?

    I’m not saying it’s forgivable or that I agree with it entirely. But I refuse to believe that I’ve been given all the facts and I want them. I want to draw my own conclusion. I’m tired of the media spinning each and every story. I’m tired of it. I want to know why this is happening and if it’s a matter of ego as you’ve suggested or if there is a bigger problem I’m not privy to.

    Either way, yes, this sucks. Everything about it sucks. It’s a week before xmas. It’s cold. there are so many problems with this. However, it’s rather righteous of the MTA as well. They know damn well the public is going to freak out about this. They know there will be a severe backlash against the Union for this. They chose this route. I think. Both parties are equally to blame.

    Wow. Rant.


  17. That’s what I was thinking. Besides causing the entire city of NY to come to a screeching halt, it THE HOLIDAYS people. Very bad timing.


  18. Thats the point right? the MTA’s hoping that the city will give in to save the holiday COMMERCE not the commuters.


  19. Actually, I think this is their way of showing the public that Unions are bad. But it doesn’t help that this might totally delay Christmas for many of us.

    I’m also now realizing that Keith was right a few days ago. Surely people are going to die because of this. I know that sounds melodramatic, but I think it’s true.


  20. I ended up walking to work later this morning. The reason is because our servers were slammed by all the virtual workers and I couldn’t get anything done.

    Multiply lost productivity by the thousands and thousands of people in similar situations and you have an idea of what it’s costing this city.


  21. I hear talks between Santa and the reindeer are breaking down, too. This christmas is going to suck.


  22. One of they guys I work with stood outside near the Manhattan Bridge and just waited hoping that someone would pick him up. Finally, a car pulled over. Three black men were inside and they asked him if he wanted a ride. He said yes immediately. While they were driving in, the three men admitted to him that they were all placing bets with one another. Two of them were convinced that no white man would agree to getting into a car with three black strangers. That one guy ended up with some cash. My coworker got a good laugh this morning. I guess people are making the best out of an otherwise awful situation. :]

    Thought I’d share…


  23. I had a fun time walking, I have to say. The bridge wasn’t too crowded by the time I was walking and the sun was almost warm on my back. People seemed in good spirits. Or in indifferent spirits, at least. Every other person (including myself) had a camera. I mean that—every other person. Kinda funny. Flickr tomorrow: overwhelmed with “MTA” and “Strike” tags.


  24. I figured all of New York would be sporting cameras today. :]

    Dare I say I’m looking forward to my bike in tomorrow? Yeah. I’m actually kinda looking forward to it. Considering the last time I went through something like this in NY it was a horrible terrible thing, I think I’ll enjoy this one as much as I possibly can. :]


  25. Oh, thought of another upside to this. Law and Order is gonna have new material!


  26. Michele-
    Having gone to a blazingly liberal liberal-arts college, and having many friends who were ridiculously rich and had their parents pay off their debt and fund their apartments and lofts so they could take volunteer/public oriented jobs, I’ve been exposed to way too much unionizing. A lot of my friends did the whole union organizing thing – from the low level ‘grassroots’ stuff to the high level executive stuff.

    It always boils down to this: they get 500+ people in a room, everyone is chanting, the union heads know how to get everyone excited, and they use the same solidarity line and say “together we stand, we will get what we demand”

    Its a big egotistical trip for all involved.

    As for the demands, the union was offerend 3+% for the next few years, and they get their retirement benefits. they demanded 6%, not having to pay into any retirement or health plan, and smaller disciplinary actions when members fuck up on the job.

    Bloomberg is going crazy and anti-TWU right now. He’s pissed and brings up a bunch of good points – the workers aren’t just losing a day of pay—they’re costing people jobs and days/weeks of pay. Bloomberg claims 1/2 of retail shops and restaurants are closed in manhattan – the people with scheduled shifts aren’t getting paid, the business owners are losing cash. Add in that food/delivery stuff is on hold, its really just awful. Bloomberg’s words are dead on – it’s not just illegal, its morally reprehensible, and unconscionable.

    Bloomberg noted something during his speech – all the city services are unionized – police, fire, ems, sanitation, etc – they always butt heads, they always get pissed at the table. But they never turn around and walk out on city services.


  27. I understand why Bloomberg is pissed. I agree with him wholeheartedly. I’m pissed off, too. I am pissed at both parties involved. Maybe Bloomberg should use this energy and anger to bring MTA ownership back into Manhattan. At least that way the city will have more incentive to work this sort of thing out.


  28. Did you catch the part where Bloomberg mentioned that the MTA workers already make more than city employees, and that the package the union turned down was way better than anything the other unions have settled for in the past year?


  29. I just noticed that your link above is from



  30. yeah. well, it was 7:30 A.M. and it’s the first link Google had listed. :] I almost changed it to a NYT links but that requires a sign-up and I didn’t think people would do that.

    And then I almost changed it again to a CNN article but I was too lazy. Instead, I figured I’d take the time to write a rather timely, defensive response to you. I’m kidding. Might you have a better link? Gimme!


  31. Charlie, thanks for the humor. Your comment had me laughing out loud.

    According to NPR this morning, it’s illegal for these workers to be striking. Apparently there is a New York law which prohibits them from striking. I don’t even know how to feel about that. Should I be pissed off that they’re breaking the law? Or should I be pissed off that the law is so restrictive?

    Mihow, I feel your frustration about the media’s spin on everything. How can we ever make up our minds about a situation when we don’t have all the facts and the facts we do have were spun? For example, NPR made it sound like the whole strike was because Toussaint didn’t want to back down on the contracts of future workers, who would receive less than the current workers because of rising costs in pensions and healthcare. But ultimately, without being there, I don’t think there’s a way to know.

    For everyone in NYC, I feel for you. I can’t imagine having life interrupted like this, especially during such cold weather.


  32. Erica, thanks for the great comment.

    It’s also been brought to light that the parent union doesn’t support the local one any longer. That’s not a good sign for the local union. Perhaps this will bring them down. If your parent union thinks the deal was good enough to take, then you really might want to consider it.

    P.S. I think this was all put into place today so that the city could avoid the lawsuit I was going to bring against them for something that happen to me last night. Those bastards.


  33. The law doesn’t say that its illegal for everyone to strike—the law says that its illegal for public employees to strike. (incidentally, the same law grants public employees the right to unionize etc).

    It’s a pretty smart law – unionized labor going on strike for private enterprise is a bargining tactic. unionized labor going on strike for civil service threatens public health (physical and economic).

    The last MTA offer was rejected because Toussaint mandated a 6% yearly raise, 0% employee contribution to healthcare and 0% employee contribution to pensions. The MTA said “everyone is sharing the cost of healthcare today. we’ll keep it free for existing workers, but we want a 1% contribution for new employees.” (note, i pay $500 a month for 1 person. under 1% contribution, they’d pay $500 a year for a family.) MTA also said that to let new employees retire at 55 instead of 62, they want a contribution to the retirement fund.

    So yeah, new workers wouldn’t get as good a deal as existing ones. But no one does- and its a really sweet deal and far cheaper costs than what anyone i know pays.


  34. Hey chickie – I didn’t read through all the comments, but coming from a marriage wherein my husband’s union participation is crucial to his job as a firefighter…and in going through what we just went through trying to get the guys a contract with the city – the media is definitely biased and not giving you the whole story (I’m sure of it). Many people were appalled at the fact that the union (here) didn’t take up the first contract offered them because it seemed like such a sweet deal…they forgot to mention that there were all sorts of sours in that deal too, the biggie being no more insurance and working double time with no paid overtime (they already work 48 hours per week with no overtime) – the list was a mile long on the bad things that prevented them from voting yes, but of course the media only got a hold of all the “good” things they were saying no too. Another thing, though – the firefighters would have never gone on strike (they couldn’t even if they wanted to, but they would have just kept plugging along with their $27K/year salaries and bevy of other bad deals.)

    Did any of that make sense?

    Anyway – I think it’s crappy to do this to y’all right before Christmas – regardless.


  35. Nessa, that’s what I’m thinking, too. It can’t be as “cut and dry” as it appears. I dunno.


  36. My husband is a doctor in his second year of residency who works a MINIMUM of 60 hours a week.
    The transit workers make more than him.
    They need to quit their bitching.


  37. Let ‘em have it, Torrie!

    I’m totally a pendulum on this one. I’m so easily swayed. I think one thing, and then someone calls and tells me a bunch of facts and I start seeing it another way.

    I went from understanding their demands to becoming outrageously pissed off to becoming complacent.

    I want people to know that. Because I’ve received a few emails and phone calls suggesting I am siding with the Unions. I’m all over the place. Really. :/


  38. You know what? They make more than me, too. But my job is basically pretty easy. It’s stressful, but it’s easy to do and not dangerous.

    Also, of COURSE the international union is going to say they want no part of it, that way they’re not liable when someone is forced to pay up.

    I’ll tell you what, I’ll donate 100 dollars to the MTA/TWU (even though I make LESS than most of them now) if they’ll get their asses back to work.

    Now, I’m worked up again.



  39. Mihow – a clarification on the ‘support’ of the parent union (via cnn)

    An attorney for the Transport Workers Union’s international arm told a court in Brooklyn that the local’s decision to strike was not approved—and therefore unauthorized.

    Attorney Peter DeChiara said Transport Workers Union International President Mike O’Brien attended the union vote overnight and urged Local 100 members not to strike.

    Attorneys for the international arm of the Amalgamated Transit Union said the group did not authorize the strike either.

    In essence – the parent union not only no-longer supports the local, but they said “Do not do this”. It’s not a ‘when they pay up’ reversal – they were saying it before any fines started or a picket line existed.

    I think the media has been fairly unbiased in this case. There’s been a lot of pro union reporting and quotes, though that is descreasing more and more each day. Almost everyone I know was for the union before they walked away from the table. Then the deal & concessions came out. The current workers are losing nothing and gettting a raise – they’re not getting anything less, and one of the best public employee compensation in the city. They just want a giant raise and they don’t like the idea of future hires helping absorb the cost of healthcare and pensions by paying a neglible amount. Fuck that. More than 10% of my pre-tax income goes to health care. They can’t deal with 1% of pre-tax.

    The more I learn about how the TWU lines up with other city unions, I say fuck it. Fine them to cover the lost wages of people who relied on city transit then fire them all and hire new people at 10% less, redirected that money to Fire/Police/EMS/OtherCityService employees to bring them up to what the TWU members make.

    I’m all for unionized labor standing up for rights and making a wage thats not just living , but comfortable. This strike isn’t about that – is just greed.


  40. I just got off the phone with my Mom. She’s 63. She just moved to Queens (they forced her out to turn her tiny rent stabalized NYC apartment into a luxury condo), and works in a NYC hospital for a fraction of what an MTA worker makes. Needless to say, she has no pension and pays way more for her health care than the MTA workers.

    She has no idea how to handle the new commute in light of the strike, so she couldn’t get to work today and lost a sick day. She’s having issues finding room in car pools. Her options for tomorrow are: a $15 cab ride from her apartment to a $4 bus headed for 60th Street, then a walk/hope to find a cab to 98th street OR a $20 cab ride from her apartment to a park and ride where she can hope for the best.

    She was crying and called me in tears because she already was sick, but now she’s gonna have to spend a lot of time walking in the cold. As much as she hates her job, she can’t lose it because she needs the health care (medicare doesn’t kick in for 4 more years now, and she’s a 2x cancer survivor). Her words, not mine: “If they’re not happy with that, i’ll GLADLY take any of their jobs.”

    So I’m just going to repeat my above statement “I’m all for unionized labor standing up for rights and making a wage thats not just living , but comfortable. This strike isn’t about that – is just greed.” And say that asshole Toussaint should be in jail.


  41. I am so so so sorry about your mother, Jon. That poor woman. I wish there was something I could do. Why don’t you give her money to get to and from work? You’re rich, aren’t you? ;]

    My brother phoned me up earlier to discuss his day. He said, “I’m a young and healthy guy. I can handle this. But seeing some of those elderly people walking that far in this cold—well, this just isn’t right.” He went on to tell me about the woman who graciously picked him up to drive him over the Bburg bridge. She was actually driving through the city and heading south today to meet her family in New Orleans. They were meeting there to find out if anything was salvageable after their home was destroyed by the hurricane. He said her story put this whole thing into perspective. Suddenly, walking to work seemed like a blessing for him and suddenly the strike seemed totally absurd. After all, some people recently lost everything.


  42. Being in a union myself the last couple of years, and having just gone through negotations, I ought to know more about this to comment-but I don’t-yet! Other than, to agree that the whole story is not here, and we fought pretty hard just for a 3% increase…let alone 6%. :)


  43. My mom won’t take a penny of mine for this. I’ve tried. I already pay some of her bills without her knowing, which made it really fucking hard for me to quit my job to try and do this startup thing. But she freaks out and cries whenever she finds out what I did.

    Andrea: like i said, i’m all for union. but public servants don’t go on strike. teachers, police, fire, ems, etc—they all are unionized and each and every one of them worked in nyc without a contract for days, months , and some for several years. Each one had contract terms applied retroactively once they were made. Why didn’t they strike? Because public servants cripple the infrastructure if they don’t go to work. The TWU LOCAL is doing nothing but holding the city hostage because of their own greed. I’m using LOCAL from now on, because the international umbrella told them “don’t strike, keep negotiating, you’re public servants” and they ignored that advice.


  44. It’s 8:00 AM. Toby Joe woke up with me because he doesn’t want me biking in “alone”. Awwwww. Considering he doesn’t actually have to go into the city to work—especially this early. That’s pretty sweet. No, actually it’s just insane. Toby’s nuts.

    It’s early. I am tired. I hope this doesn’t suck.


  45. michele, did you say they make more than you? so you’re getting by on your wage and they’re already greedy and asking for more. hmmmm. there’s only 33,000 of them…..i say fire ‘em, reduce the pay to a reasonable/comparable wage, place a standard wage-rate yearly raise in the new contract, offer the existing workers first dibs on the jobs, and hire new! jonathan’s right….it’s greed plain and simple. when unions price themselves out of the market, the hammer’s gonna come down eventually and we’re witnessing it right now. nobody rides for free. hehehehe


  46. I am here. That was a freaking blast, to be honest. It took Toby and I less than an hour and that was with three stops along the way and a whole zig-zag worth of avoiding people and cars along the way.

    I feel great.

    I hope that others are doing OK, however.

    Something that occurred to me last night was that NO ONE is checking backpacks or searching for “suspicious packages” along the bridges. No one. Sure, there are cops and all but no one really cars. It’s the same commute only without the subways. I was thinking, what if someone decided to blow themselves up on a bridge? I mean, it’d be a perfect way to create total chaos. Anyway, so much for the MTA living up to their “If you see something. Say something.” Bit. They bailed and we’re left slightly vulnerable.



  47. scary thought. i ride my bike to work once in a while too(in the summer)


  48. Apparently, while there are 3300 employees, 31000 are striking. 2000 showed up for work and have been doing maintenance on the trains and systems.

    Toussaint is getting destroyed. He’s got all the people going on strike ‘for our families and our children’ – but then admits in every interview that the sticking points are essentially token contributions from new employees to healthcare and pension (he wants the antiquated ponzi scheme that broke the city and is killing social security to stay in place) and that current employees are not affected by anything that called the strike.

    Its beginning to seem to me like Toussaint and his union board aren’t really trying to negotiate for the union members, but make a note in history for themselves.


  49. I feel so naive. I always assumed that the majority of New Yorkers could afford to live there because they made relatively more money. I can’t imagine how most people live in New York and raise a family on 27K. Thanks for the education.


  50. Hey, as per Mihow’s request I’m hopping over here with my post from the other thread.

    When I first heard about the strike, I was conflicted in opinion, because I knew that once the MTA threatened to walk if no agreement was made, they would really have to do so or forever lose their credibility.

    Let’s not even take into account who should and shouldn’t be allowed to strike (what if we had a massive cop or firefighter strike?)

    I figured that subway workers did not make much, so asking for more than a 3% raise was reasonable (although I still knew that 8% was way too much.) Then, I decided to ask the most basic question: Just how much does someone in the MTA get paid?

    A subway operator begins at over $52,000K a year.

    That does not sound too little to me, considering that when I started my job at an investment bank right after college, I was making $45k a year.

    Transit workers also do not pay a cent for their health care. They are being asked to pay 2% of their current wages (which, on average works out to be just over $85 a month) which may seem high, but think about it: how much are YOU paying for your healthcare now in your jobs?

    Finally, not everyone gets their metrocards taken out of their paycheck, and personally I was furious when the fare was hiked up to $2 right on the heels of a $.25 increase to $1.50. My subway right is not worth $2 right now, and if that surplus goes to giving me free rides, I ‘m fine with it. Of course, it would be better if that surplus went towards improving the subways, but that’s another story.

    I’m guessing that transit workers are banking on our system to pardon their fines, because at this rate, a 4 day strike will cost them the entire 8% raise they are looking for.

    I love the subways, and for the most part, I do appreciate the MTA workers for running them, but I definitely don’t think they are underpaid or treated badly.


  51. I have been watching too much Sleeper Cell lately. I won’t lie. But last night over a HUGE pasta dinner (we gotta get those carbs!) I started to come up with conspiracy theories about Toussain’t. I said, “What if he’s Al Quada and did this on purpose? What if he has something scheduled to take out all the bridges?” Now, for those of you who know me, I ask that you imagine me actually saying this. I don’t really believe this. But I gotta say, it’s make for one heck of a TV Movie.



  52. mihow – i was wondering the other day – with all of the crazy new laws, how as Toussaint not arrested as a terrorist? The strike is illegal, its crippling the city. Of all the inane things that have been classified as terrorism over the past few years, how is this not?

    AS – I’m 100% in agreement with you on every point. to correct you on something though – they’re not being asked to pay for their healthcare. none of the healthcare/pension changes affect existing employees – just new hires.

    Theres no chance of the fines being pardoned. I think they’re banking on the MTA paying it off as part of a settlement—because the fines aren’t from the MTA, they’re to the city/state who want to sue. Politicians left and right are calling for no forgiveness on the fines, as it would just basically say “its okay for civil servants to strike”.


  53. After having spent 9 years (with 3 more to go) in school, I only wish that I could have the types of salaries and benefits of MTA workers. When I graduate I will start (if I am lucky enough to get a job at a university) at $40-$45K and have in access of $150K in student loans. I will have no free time after my shift ends because I will have to spend hours of grading papers, lecture preparation, independent research and writing, faculty meetings, sit on various committees and mentor and advise future leaders of the world. I wonder who would be willing to bike across New York for teachers? We take a vow of poverty to uplift the youth and it is our choice, but now that I have seen the average salaries and the INCREDIBLE BENEFITS of MTA workers, I am thinking that my next career will be as an MTA worker. I will just be Dr. Train Engineer, or Dr. Bus Washer….no problem! Adjunct professors at community colleges have absolutely NO BENEFITS. I’ve always supported the workers, but I’ve changed my mind about this one. They need to take a look at the private sector and see what they would make with similar education and experience. On top of that, many of you have posted how the strike is putting other people out of work who may be much worse off than MTA workers. This is so 1980s.


  54. TeacherX, my brother said to me the other night, “If this deal goes through I would seriously consider quitting my job and taking one with the MTA. Hell, I’ve already considered doing this. They make more than I do.”

    To be clear (and in response to Debra), I make the high end of what a transit worker makes. I do not make 27 thousand a year. Oh dear, that’d be impossible. But I am underpaid for a NY salary. I think. I have no idea. All I know is that I will never be able to retire at 55 with the salary I have made thus far. Although, I could just let Toby Joe support me. He’s the breadwinner in our family. :]

    Anyway, there is no union for a Graphic Designer. If I ever demanded such a raise from my employer they would freaking fire me and hire someone else almost immediately. There are so many unemployed designers out there just waiting for a decent job. And that’s what I have, a decent job. Sure, i’d love to make three digits. But that isn’t ever going to happen. I am certain of it.



  55. A sad day for unions. For all the reasons to strike for, for all the actual oppression that people endured that actually started the workers to unionize in the first place, this event throws shame in face of all that history. The tide has been turning against unions for a while, but this will only be used as a corporate case study as to why they should be banned all together.


  56. A lot of unions are starting to oppose the strike. Forget the international arm – I heard that the teachers , fire and police unions are all pissed and are likely to come out formally against it.


  57. I work in MidTown. I work right on Madison and Fifth Avenue. I just went to the gym. On my way back, I was amazed to discover that a lot of business were either closed or not nearly as busy as they should be. That’s the most depressing part about all of this. The MTA employees are hurting the little guys the most. And they don’t seem to give a shit. I mean, some do, I guess.

    I went to the post office and they are working on 3 employees. The line is out the door. Also sad. It’s Christmas after all.

    There are several people who work for and in this building—a lot of people who work the front desk, etc. One woman was in tears because living week to week on a small paycheck has already proven hard. Now, she’s tapping into her funds to pay for taxis to and from work because she lives in the Bermuda Triangle of our Contingency Plan.

    Heartbreaking for some. I have it SO super easy compared to some.

    Toussain’t didn’t think of that. Or maybe he did and didn’t care.


  58. One more thing I’d like to add: I know I can’t speak for emotional distress because 9/11 was freaking terrible. I can’t imagine what some people went through and are still going through. But I really want to know how much we suffer financially because of this. And I want to compare it to what happen during 9/11. Is it possible this will prove more devastating for business owners?


  59. I don’t know about more devastating, but its definately more widespread.

    The WTC attacks crippled the downtown economy for months. It destroyed the infrastructure, and office/retail had to be brought back in.

    This is a limited thing – for the most part NYC will recover immediately. We won’t have to rebuild sections of the city or attract new business – but we’ll deal with the lost wages, income and increased costs.

    On the other hand, in 2001 everyone drank a lot. People were crowding the bars getting shitfaced nonstop. Now everyone is laying off that so they can afford cabfare.

    Toussaint thought of all that. He knew it, and he knew the MTA knew it, and counted on that. That’s his leverage. He cripples the city and fucks the economy as a bargaining chip. He’s a greedy egotistical piece of shit and should be in jail.


  60. So after all this is over and you return to your subways and buses, who reading this from NYC is going to greet the first transit worker they see with a hearty “hello” and an expression of gratittude that they’re back on the job? Feh. What a mess.


  61. Maybe Toussaint is in cahoots with Bush and is doing this so that all the liberals in NYC will get into some existential angst over their mixed feelings about the strike and fail to notice that civil liberties have been completely thrown out the window.


  62. Now that’s a funny comment.

    I hope they impeach him for what’s he’s doing.

    Speaking of which, wanna buy a t-shirt? ;]


  63. or they might snap out of the delusion that they had any of those civil liberties in the first place. ;)


  64. I’m wondering when Bush or Rove will call Toussaint and say “I just called to say thank you for giving us the best case ever against unionized labor” as the nations most draconian anti labor statute , The Toussaint Bill, quickly passes the senate and the house with a wide majority.


  65. We, the people, should form some sort of union in order to fight for our civil liberties!


  66. we did, but then our union leader kinda just said “fuck that , i want money and power” and sold us out.


  67. Toussaint Bill, heheheh…that’s awesome….i assume you’re kidding, but i’m all for it!


  68. michele, you should make a bumper sticker

    “Tousaint Bill…for the worker by the worker screw the works”


  69. I feel to need to express this somewhere, so here it is:

    After day number 2 of walking… I’m enjoying myself. I’m definitely going to remember this in the spring. And to all those rich people at work who ask why I don’t take a cab, I’d like them to know “Because I’d prefer to walk” has supplanted “To save money” as the number 1 reason.

    I finally realized all this when nearing the end of the Williamsburg bridge this morning, the wind really made a mess of my nose. I had already been kicking myself for leaving the tissues at home, but there appears the Red Cross handing out free ones! Fantastic. I grabbed one, wiped my nose, and put a grin on.

    If it wasn’t destroying businesses in town, I’d actually be looking forward to a few more days of this. (The place we usually get lunch, which gets absolutely hammered with people at noon, didn’t even bother to open today, instead concentrating their employees into one cafe).


  70. Well, I’m kidding – but I totally see that happening. There’s a very not-labor-friendly government in power, and we have a pretty much pampered union that walked out of the job instead of staying at the table, and crippled NYC to something that the national media keeps likening to the WTC attacks.

    Bush/Rove wouldn’t even have to try hard to show the ‘dangers of unions’ and how we need to safeguard against them ‘in a way that protects their right to unionize, but puts the public first’ (which everyone will agree with), but in reality eviscerates organized labor as we know it.

    So yeah, I see a lot of anti-union legislation coming out of this.


  71. it’s true that the pissing and moaning of a few could hurt organized labor, but something has to shake it up. i’ve been following this organization (national right to work) for 7 years now….here’s a list of their feelings about organized labor exemptions.


  72. oh yeah, so NYC is witnessing four of the six union privildges(2,3,6 and 8) and there is nothing you can do about it. it’s sad to me that a worker has to give up their rights to belong to a union and then one person is the sole voice of that union….i’m sure a bunch of those guys at MTA didn’t want to stryke but were forced to for the sake of the union. and if they crossed the picket line, you could see first hand what priviledge 1 is all about.( i saw it once, and heard many stories of slashed tires and burnt houses etc in the construction industry) crazy i tell ya


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