NYC Subway Strike Over

NEW YORK – The Transit Worker’s Union on Dec. 22 ended its strike.

MTA employees were asked to return to work for their next shift. The MTA said Dec. 22 it would need between 10 and 18 hours after workers show up to get the system up to full capacity; it was expected that buses would be running later in the evening on Dec. 22

For three days, more than 7 million riders had no choice but to find another means of transportation as 33,000 New York City transit workers were on strike. Even though the strike has ended, the transit agency and its 33,000 workers are still fighting over wages and pension contributions.

The three-day strike is the first since an 11-day strike in 1980.

In mid-December, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office obtained a court order enjoining the unions and their members from striking. Since transit workers opted to strike, Spitzer’s office asked the court to hold the TWU in contempt, and to impose fines of $1 million per day, doubling every day. The court on Dec. 21 agreed that the union was in contempt of its order, and imposed a $1 million per day fine.

His office also went to court Dec. 21 proceeding against two smaller ATU local unions that represent about 3,000 Queens and Staten Island bus line employees, and asked the judge to hold these smaller unions in contempt and to impose fines of $500,000 per day. A judge found these two local unions in contempt, and imposed per-day fines of $50,000 and $75,000 per day.

“One thing is clear: This was a big test for this city and I think it passed with flying colors,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Dec. 22. “It wasn’t easy, and certainly serious economic harm was inflicted, but we did what we had to do to keep this City running and running safely. Public safety was our first priority and it never was in jeopardy.”