MTA Bus Company v. Transport Workers Union of America

12 Misc. 3d 943, 820 N.Y.S.2d 479 (2006)

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MTA Bus Company v. Transport Workers Union of America

New York Supreme Court
12 Misc. 3d 943, 820 N.Y.S.2d 479 (2006)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD

Facts

In December 2005, Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO (Local 100) (defendant) and other transit workers’ unions called a strike that shut down New York City’s public-transportation system despite a standing injunction against a strike. Local 100 represented bus drivers and train operators who worked for the MTA Bus Company (MTA) (plaintiff). Contract negotiations between Local 100 and the MTA were historically acrimonious. Local 100 had called an 11-day strike in 1980 and engaged in other previous conduct that necessitated preliminary injunctions under New York’s Taylor Law, which prohibited public-employee unions from calling strikes. When Local 100 threatened its December 2005 strike, MTA insisted that Local 100 bargain over pensions even though pensions were not legally subject to bargaining. Other transit authorities petitioned to block the strike under the Taylor Law, and a court enjoined the strike. Local 100 nonetheless went on strike December 20. The court held Local 100 in contempt and fined it $1 million per day until the strike ended. The MTA filed a separate lawsuit seeking an order that Local 100 had forfeited its right to deduct union dues from members’ paychecks. The court held five days of hearings. Among the extensive evidence at those hearings, Local 100 presented evidence showing its efforts to mitigate the strike’s effect by safeguarding transit facilities and equipment and ensuring bus drivers and train operators finished their runs before walking off the job. Local 100 also attempted to establish that MTA engaged in extreme provocation during negotiations but showed nothing worse than MTA’s insistence on bargaining over pensions. Following the hearings, the court issued its opinion.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jones, J.)

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