The Transport Workers Union represents 217 workers at Jamaica Buses, based in Jamaica, Queens, and 490 workers at Triboro, based in Flushing, Queens. By noon today, the buses were still running, and it was unclear when the union members would stop work. A driver for Triboro Coach said a walkout was unlikely before Monday.
Jamaica Buses has about 15,000 riders each weekday, while Triboro has about 42,000. If there is no bus service on the lines, city-licensed commuter vans along those routes will be permitted to charge up to $5 a person and taxis will be allowed to charged up to $10 a person.
The chairman of the City Council's Transportation Committee, John C. Liu of Flushing, said in a discussion on WNYC-AM radio this morning that the patrons of the private bus companies would be the one harmed by a strike.
"These riders have suffered from years of neglect by the city and the M.T.A.," Mr. Liu said. "Their service has become atrocious and to sock it to them this way through a strike at this point just seems profoundly unfair to these bus riders."
He emphasized that the union was not the only one to blame for the contract impasse. "Whenever there is a shutdown of a transit system, it's not just simply the union's fault because it is illegal for them to do so," Mr. Liu said. "The M.T.A. should have come to the table a long time ago in earnest and not wait until the very, very last second. And in fact that's been, I think, a part of the problem. The chairman, Kalikow, didn't even show up until yesterday afternoon."
Roger Toussaint, the union's president, and Mr. Kalikow met at 11 p.m. last night for the first time in the labor talks, just one hour before the union's three-year contract expired at 12:01 this morning. Although talks had been conducted throughout the day, they heated up once Mr. Toussaint and Mr. Kalikow were both at the table.
The major sticking point, according to several union officials, is the authority's proposal that new employees reach age 62 before being able to collect a full pension. Since 1994, the vast majority of transit employees have been able to collect a regular pension at age 55 if they have 25 years of experience.
Friday, December 16, 2005
From the NY Times, about the strike on the private bus lines likely to happen on Monday. I bring this up because I live out there, with some pretty cruddy bus service to begin with, and at $5/ dollar van ride, i'll take the LIRR, thanks. or just stay with my girlfriend as long as she'll have me. you know, becausde mike bloomberg told me i should. anyway, here is some text from the article: