NEW YORK (AP) -- The president of the city's transit workers union said its leaders were ready to go back to the drawing board after 33,000 bus and subway workers narrowly rejected a tentative contract deal reached after last month's crippling strike.
Workers on Friday rejected the contract by just seven votes, with 11,234 against and 11,227 in favor. The vote was a sharp rebuke to Transport Workers Union local president Roger Toussaint, who persuaded workers to walk off the job in December but could not muster enough support for the deal.
The rejected contract would have provided raises of 3 percent in the first year, then 4 percent and 3.5 percent in the following two years. But it would have required the workers for the first time to contribute 1.5 percent of their salaries toward health care premiums.
The rebuke is hard to deliver on a day when the same paper includes this:
Alan G. Hevesi, the New York State comptroller, announced yesterday that Wall Street bonuses were estimated to hit a record $21.5 billion for 2005, surpassing the previous record of $19.5 billion, set in 2000. Those bonuses were driven by record profits at many of Wall Street's major investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.
The Street's munificence will be felt throughout New York: Mr. Hevesi estimated that New York State would collect $1.5 billion in tax revenue from those bonuses, and New York City about $500 million.
"Wall Street continues to be critically important to the economies of both the city and the state," he said.
I would still criticize another unlawful strike, but it's hard for the city and state to plead poverty in denying the MTA union workers' request for more compensation.