City-Wide Transit Strike Cripples New York, Strands Commuters

News   City-Wide Transit Strike Cripples New York, Strands Commuters The people don't "ride in a hole in the ground" anymore in New York City as of Tuesday morning, Dec. 21, when the transit workers union called a strike, thus halting all city subway and bus traffic within the five boroughs.
All New York City subway stations have been locked while transit workers are on strike.
All New York City subway stations have been locked while transit workers are on strike. Photo by David Gewirtzman

How the transit strike will effect Broadway productions and other theatre attractions is not yet clear. Stay tuned to Playbill.com for updates on possible show cancellations or refund policies.

This is the first transit strike since 1980. Transit workers have chosen to strike in defiance of the state's Taylor Law, which bars strikes by public employees and carries penalties of two days' pay for each day on strike.

Transit talks have been going for days, and nearly resulted in a strike last Friday, Dec. 16. However, subways continued to run throughout the weekend—the last one before Christmas. On Monday, the workers at two private bus lines in Queens walked off the job.

The strike has resulted in stiff traffic guidelines for private vehicles venturing into Manhattan. Drivers hoping to reach the city via car from 5 AM to 11 AM will have to carry at least four passengers, or risk being turned back by police at city tunnels and bridges.

Roger Toussaint, president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, held a news conference at 3 AM. "New Yorkers, this is a fight over whether hard work will be rewarded with a decent retirement," he said. "This is a fight over the erosion, or the eventual elimination, of health-benefits coverage for working people in New York. This is a fight over dignity and respect on the job, a concept that is very alien to the M.T.A." MTA chairman Peter S. Kalikow said he would guarantee the public that the authority would take every step "to bring this illegal action to an end as quickly as possible," according to the New York Times.

The Times further reported that "the transit agency plans to store the majority of the 6,300 subway cars underground, one next to another, to protect them from the elements. Supervisors will run empty trains over the rails to keep them polished and prevent rust... The 4,600 buses were being returned to their 18 depots this morning, where they will be stored and guarded for the duration of the strike."