CommunityPam's House Blend

NYC transit strike is on

Transit strike notices can be seen at the Times Square subway station in New York City after the Transit Workers Union announced a strike as they failed to reach a deal with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005. More than 7 million daily riders will be forced to find new ways to get around because of the strike. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree)

Not good. I feel for all of you New Yorkers out there who have to hoof it into work today. What fun.

When the last strike occurred (in the spring of 1980, starting on April Fool’s Day, no less), I was living in Brooklyn at the time and attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan (Stuy’s site shows they have a special “strike plan” for this go-round).

Yes, the good/bad old days during the reign of Ed Koch. I really don’t remember much about that transit strike, which leads me to believe that I either 1) didn’t go to school (doubtful), or 2) I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge like everyone else. I do know that the schools were closed for part of the time, because it was around the Easter/Passover holiday, but the rest of the time they were open. I do remember going to and coming from school by walking the bridge a few times, but I don’t know if I did it during that strike. I have much more vivid (frightening) memories of the heinous 1977 blackout.

From the Newsday, about the 1980 strike:

For the 11-day duration of the strike, the population of Manhattan increased by 500,000 people, as corporations rented hotel rooms in bulk for their employees. Even maids and porters at the Waldorf were housed overnight at the hotel. The number of bicycle commuters increased by 200,000 people…The 1980 transit shut-down cost the city’s economy an estimated $1.1 billion, along with another million in lost sales tax every day.

This year’s strike is expected to cost $400 million per day and the city government would lose $22 million a day in tax revenue plus another $10 mil in overtime for police. The Transport Workers Union’s sticking point was over the big three – pensions, pay and benefits. The MTA ran a billion-dollar surplus this year, so it’s no surprise that the union followed through with threat. The workers will face stiff fines for striking (docked two days pay for each day on strike).

Good accounts of that 1980 strike are here and here.

Anyone else have memories of that strike?

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Pam Spaulding

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