Late last week, MTA CEO and Executive Director Elliot Sander predicted that the transit authority and the Transport Workers Union would be able to avoid another strike as the TWU contract is set to expire later this month. While the two sides have been negotiating for the last few weeks, they are not going to come to a negotiated resolution and will instead head to arbitration.
A few minutes ago, the MTA released the following statement:
Over the past several months, the MTA and TWU Local 100 have discussed a possible agreement on a contract effective January 16, 2009. However, due to complications associated with today’s current economic climate, we have reached an impasse and have jointly decided to arbitrate contract terms.
The Union, on the other hand, does not seem as optimistic:
After months of discussions with the M.T.A., a settlement could not be reached. As the contract moves to arbitration, we wait to see whether transit workers will be treated fairly or in a manner disparate to the other workers who serve this city.
While arbitration is not as ideal as a negotiated contract and can lead to animosity further down the road, both sides have so far seemed willing to do what it takes to avoid a strike. That is, of course, good news for straphangers, but today’s development throws a wrench into those plans. The TWU is obviously not too happy about the arbitration development, and another strike would probably throw MTA bailout efforts into turmoil.
I’ll have more on this development as the story develops.