Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Please Watch the Closing Doors 

The Great Transit Strike of 2005 is over, at least for now, and hopefully for good. TWU Local 100 president Roger Toussaint announced Thursday afternoon that his executive board had voted to end the strike while talks continued. There is no contract between the MTA and the TWU, but a mediator has gotten them talking and negotiating again as the workers return to their jobs. Regular subway and bus service is being restored gradually, with full service hoped to be up by Friday's rush hour.

So who won? In boxing and other combat sports, we eventually know the scores. Some sports, like wrestling and most other forms of grappling, have the scores displayed as the match proceeds. Others, like boxing, mixed martial arts, and kickboxing, have the judges turn in scorecards after each round which are then tallied but not announced until after the fight has concluded.

In this one, the scores are still only known by a tiny handful of people. According to media reports, no details of what the contract negotiations have yielded have been made public.

Also according to these reports, not even the union's executive board was informed of what transpired at the bargaining table that convinced Toussaint and them to blink on the strike issue.

No doubt the $1 million a day fines, the loss of dues' check-off by the TWU, the fines of two days' pay for each one day out on strike for each TWU striker, and a laundry list of other suits and fines forced them essentially to retreat on the pledge of no contract, no work.

A poll released by cable news channel NY1 found its sampling of New Yorkers split over who was most to blame for the strike:

According to an exclusive NY1 poll, 41 percent of New Yorkers think both the MTA and the Transport Workers Union are to blame for the strike. About 27 percent solely fault the MTA while 25 blame the union for the walkout. The poll does find, though, that 54 percent of New Yorkers think what the union wants is fair compared to 36 percent who do not.

The poll also comments about the divide among the groups they label as by "race":

A final note about race. White New Yorkers see the union as deserving more blame for the strike than do black or Latinos.

Latinos are a "race"? This is not even a scientific category for those we call "white" and "black", let alone the amalgam of people known as Latinos. But it does reveal, as if we didn't know already, that different groups of people are more likely to side and identify with the bosses or the workers.

The results of the poll which were released also did not discuss who thought the TWU should have struck and who did not, as opposed to blame, as well as if the strike personally created hardships for them.

We will probably learn about the details of the negotiations long before we hear much more about that.

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