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Transit Strike Aftermath – A Quick Look

Well, the busses and trains are rolling, so let’s take a fast glance at what those three days of screwing the city up actually produced in a “biggest winners/losers” way:

Winners:
Lawyers.
The first of what will probably be zillions of lawsuits has lready been filed by businesses big and small attempting to recoup the financial hit they suffered. And you just know there is a shyster out there right now drafting a class-action suit in the name of all the straphangers who had their pockets picked from lost earnings and additional transportation costs incurred by being forced into cabs. Throw in the swarm of people forced to walk in freezing cold–thereby threatening their health (in addition to livelihood) and you have a tort lawyer’s wet dream.

If it can be shown FDNY’s Matthew Long, son of state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, ended up in critical condition after being hit by a bus hired by Bear Stearns to shuttle their employees because of the strike, the lawsuit will be ginormous, because his father will be bringing heat down on everyone remotely connected to the accident.

Losers: Pretty much everybody affected, but here are the biggies:


Roger “Quilly” Toussaint. I thought he was nuts for taking Local 100 out in the first place, but then he threw away the Mike Quill playbook when he faced having his ass carted off to Riker’s Island. His union’s coffers are going to be sucked clean by fines and penalties imposed when he ignored State Supreme Court Justice Theodore Jones’s directive to comply with the Taylor Law. I cannot imagine Jones is going dial back the million dollar a day penalty he slapped the TWU with when its leadership defied his directive.

If anything, the MTA now has the upper hand, and can contnue to press for pension and medical coverage contribution concessions, and be pretty well assured Toussaint won’t have the balls to walk out again. Factor in all those lawsuits that his union is facing, and if this idiot manages to hold onto his job as leader of Local 100 it can be considered a Christmas miracle.

Mayor Mike: He kept his mouth pretty much shut before the strike; in 1999’s TWU contract negotiations Rudy let it be known early on that he was going to hammer the shit out of the union with the Taylor Law the first time the word “strike” floated out of Local 100’s union hall. They knew he meant it and stayed at the table.

Bloomie compounded his problem when–although he was right to do so–he called the TWU “thugs,” but when the FDNY was hounding him at his appearances and threatened to strike when the Republican Convention was coming to town, said “I wasn’t brought up that way” after his mouthpiece had used the term to describe the firefighters actions and threats. His late-to-the-game angry rhetoric gave charlatans like Sharpton and Barron a soapbox they leapt on with glee. The only card those two buffoons ever have to play is the race card; they’ll play the card Bloomie dealt them for a long time after the dust settles and a contract is finally hammered out. I doubt Bloomie really gives a shit, but it’ll sour the city’s climate regardless, and be an underlying current in all future contract negotiations with city workers.

Local 100 members: They are all going to get dunned four to six days worth of pay(depending on their missed scheduled shifts) under Taylor provisions. And for what? The strike did nothing but generate animosity among riders. It accomplished nothing as far as negotiations are concerned. Additionally, depending on what happens with the fines and lawsuits the union’s facing, they end up getting even more of a financial hit.

That’s just off the top of my head. What transpires in the coming days/weeks until a contract is signed will determine what side of the ledger the players end up after everything’s said and done. Who knows? Maybe Toussaint pull a rabbit out of his hat and comes out of this relatively unscathed, politically. I kind of doubt it, but I never believed the Red Sox would dig out from an 0-3 hole in ’04.

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