Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Contempt Proceeding Brought Against NYC Transit Strikers

Suitably Flip is reporting that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is in the process of bringing a criminal contempt proceeding against Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union (TWU).  The MTA will seek to have a New York State judge find the Local union in contempt of the preliminary injunction entered against the Union striking under the state Taylor Law from last week.

Flip has this update:

A few details are emerging now about the mid-day criminal contempt hearing ... currently being held by Brooklyn State Supreme Court Judge Theodore Jones.  The TWU's Local 100's parent union, the Transport Workers Union of America, explicitly does not support the strike and maintains that negotiations were still progressing when the TWU chief Toussaint walked out and called for the strike.

[Judge] Jones has rejected the local TWU's attempts to delay the hearing and to secure a jury trial.  The union is also now reportedly claiming that the MTA provoked the strike.  Governor Pataki has advised, "All I can say is go back to work, come back to the table."

Update: The TWU has published its own strike blog, with an unrestricted commenting policy.  See the real-time backlash ... in all its colorful New York phraseology.

See prior posts from Flip here, here, here, here, and here.

My take?  In a former life, I used to practice public labor relations law, but in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  So I do not know that much about the New York law, but as my friend and colleague Marty Malin (Chicago-Kent) pointed out in this previous post, the Taylor Law in New York is particularly harsh on public unions that go on illegal strikes. At this point, Local 100 better have a good strike fund in place not only for its workers, but also for the likely fines and penalties about to come their way.



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