Thursday, December 15, 2005

waiting on a transit strike

Like clockwork, another three years goes by, and it's time for another possible strike by the transit workers' union here in New York. In December 1999, they threatened a strike up until the last moment, when they agreed to a contract. And again in December 2002, the strike talk and plans went on until and after the deadline, when the negotiations produced an agreement. Now it's December 2005, and the current contract expires at midnight tonight. Given that there hasn't been a strike here in 25 years, I shouldn't be too worried, but the rhetoric coming from the union doesn't make me feel good about the situation. One account of the union rally at Grand Central Station earlier this week noted that when the union head asked the crowd "what do we want?" many voices could be heard shouting "strike!" instead of "contract!" That's not what I had hoped to hear. As of last night negotiations hadn't made much progress, but since the last two contracts resulted from last-minute bargaining I expect this one to be the same. So I'll stay up until midnight tonight and see what happens, and if there's a strike I'll find some other way to get to work. It's supposed to rain and snow overnight and into tomorrow morning, so it will be wet and icy on the roads. If the weather were clear, I'd ride my bike to work in a heartbeat, but since it will be wet, I'll probably walk to 34th St. and take either the PATH train to the World Trade Center stop or take the water taxi to Wall Street. That's almost 60 blocks for me to walk, but I think I can manage it. It's about two miles -- not a fun walk in any weather, especially winter, but it's doable.

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