Transport Workers Union Local 100 Disputes Coverage of MTA Contract Negotiations

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If you have been keeping up with the tabloids, you might think that contract negotiations between the MTA and the Transport Workers Union Local 100 have come to a screeching halt.

You might even be tempted to believe that the union is going to strike, leaving you stranded in the cold on an outdoor subway platform in the last remaining un-cool part of Brooklyn, where you will have to fend for yourself against those weird vampire thingies in I Am Legend.

The Daily News says that contract talks are "at a standstill" -- and calls a soon-to-be distributed union safety flyer, in which motormen are asked to slow their trains -- "questionable."

The beginning of the story from today's edition really highlights the, er, power of suggestion: "WITH CONTRACT talks at a standstill, the transit workers union is expected to start suggesting that subway motormen slow down their trains."

This phrasing, of course, implies that slowdowns are because of the negotiations.

While the Daily News is careful not to claim this outright, it's apparently running with this fire-feeding.

"The safety tips come as Local 100 leaders have become increasingly frustrated by what they perceive as the MTA's unfair and inflexible demands.

Under the state's Taylor Law, it is illegal for public transit workers in New York to even plan a strike or a work slowdown. Those tactics can lead to fines against workers and the union.

It's not illegal to urge workers to be extra careful in the name of public safety, but the timing of the flyer -- which will be distributed Monday -- will raise eyebrows.

The Post doesn't do much to assuage tensions, either.

"A high-ranking MTA superintendent instituted a quota on the number of disciplinary violations that his underlings must dole out to subway workers each month -- infuriating the agency's largest union in the midst of tense contract negotiations, The Post has learned."

And, just in case you haven't forgotten about the very unlikely possibility of a STRIKE, the Post is kind enough to remind:

"The quota order is likely to rekindle the still-simmering tensions from the 2005 holiday-season transit strike -- staged in large part because the union accused the MTA of a disciplinary crackdown."

Runnin' Scared checked in with Jim Gannon, the local's spokesman.

He was on his way to work and didn't have time to chat much, but did confirm what we reported last Friday: Negotiations are moving along.

"We're meeting later this week. Not at stalemate," he said.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis...ellipses...


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