Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hold the presses - transit agreement

In that the public details are sparse, there is little to comment on the headline that a deal is reported to have been reached between the Port Authority and it's drivers. At this point who knows what was was worked out, but it will be interesting to see if one side caved more than the other. The only thing I will say for the moment is that despite all the false starts, all the 'preparations' for a potential strike, and even the media coverage that would leave most to expect an imminent strike I really don't think that was ever about to happen.. or at least the drivers were never planning much of a strike. Think back to how long you have been hearing about the need for preparations in the case there was a strike. As best I can tell it was the Port Authority itself most responsible for any public belief that a strike might have happened as far back as labor day. For the Port Authority and compatriots most of that had to have been geared toward building up public antipathy for the drivers as much as actually preparing strike contingencies. It was an awfully effective tactic I thought. As I said, the details are not known so it's a bit treacherous to comment too much not knowing what deal was struck. If the Port Authority moved at all from its "final and best offer" then you have to wonder about the repeated statements that they were done negotiating and the need to 'impose' a contract. It would mean that baring the unprecedented involvement of national union folks, the Port Authority was more than willing to push the drivers into a work stoppage, whether you want to call it a strike or a lockout, just a few weeks before Christmas. The interesting thing will be if anyone learns what prompted the AFLCIO to get so involved and what pressure they put on either side. There is a story there I am sure.

I was going to joke that we ought to make sure the Port Authority's Rumor of the day site does not come out saying this tentative deal was all a misunderstanding or something. But low and behold, the 'latest rumor' link on thier web page looks to have gone missing... but it's still there on all the other pages.. Must have happened in just the last day.

More to follow..... will update this post if we learn more soon.