The New York City Transit Strike: Epilogue

By April 16, 2006Labor Unions

After all the sturm und drang generated around the country at the time of the New York City transit strike at the end of last year, union leader Roger Toussaint was sentenced this week to 10 days in jail for his role in conducting an illegal strike. Toussaint, of course, was unbowed and unapologetic, forever bolstering his standing with his union members, the majority of whom were apparently deluded into thinking the strike was a fantastic idea.

The judge put off deciding whether the union must pay its $3 million in fines for violating the state’s Taylor Law, which prohibits strikes by state employees. If the judge wanted to make Toussaint less of a martyr, he’d make him pay these fines, too. He might still be a martyr, but he’d be broke, as would his union. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal by John Fund, the state also asked that the union no longer be allowed to automatically withhold dues from union members’ paychecks. As Fund points out, if Eliot Spitzer is elected Governor of NY, you can expect that request to be withdrawn.

Seems to us that without these fines, there’ll be precious little incentive for any union in the future to show even a modicum of restraint. Toussaint was willing to walk off the job. Let’s hope the Judge doesn’t do the same.