Strike… Day Two

The City’s transit strike entered day II; a local judge has summoned Transit Workers’ Union Local 100 President Roger Toussaint to court tomorrow, to face possible contempt and jail.
At this point, the strike may be taking on the aspect of mutual assured destruction: yes, it inflicts heavy pain on a city of 8 million people; but it may well kill, or at least, permanently damage, the union. Coming as it does like clockwork in an odd year (and in the penultimate week of that year), it joins 9-11 in ’01 and the blackout in ’03 as just-another-event here in NYC in an odd number year.
The problem for the union, who purports to be “protecting the unborn”, i.e., future workers who would have to pay more for their own pensions and health care than do current workers, is that they have now very likely de-fanged the threat value of a future strike.
The legend will be “we got through 9-11, we got through the blackout, and we even got through a transit strike during Christmas week…” In short, the one thing this union always had– fear of the consequences of such a strike… will be shot. And, frankly, the longer this strike goes, the worse that will be.
And possibly shot for nothing. Because, for a change, it looks like the union will not get one jot better of a deal for striking than if its leadership had simply continued bargaining, and continued threatening a strike.
It is admirable for the union to stand up for the rights of people who aren’t even union members yet; when measured against the consequences of trying to shut down this City during Christmas week no less, it seems… less so. Well, we’ll see how this plays with the public. I have my doubts that it will play very well.