Tube and bus workers in New York shut down the city's transit system
in a strike that lasted 60 hours in the run-up to Christmas.
The action, organised by the Transit Workers Union (TWU), was in
response to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) plan to
attack pension rights. The MTA wants to either raise the retirement
age, or to make new staff pay 6% pension contributions instead of the
Some 33,000 subway and bus workers - 70% Black, Latino, or Asian
American - walked out for 212 days, returning to work on 22 December.
The strike has won pay increases, a day off for Martin Luther King
day, improved healthcare in return for a 1.5% premium and protection
for pension benefits. The union also won a payback for contributions
that older members made to the system during a pervious contract,
worth as much as $14,000 a worker (£8,000).
The strike was declared illegal under the Taylor law and some workers
were fined. Despite attempts by the press to whip up hostility, most
New Yorkers supported the strike, understanding that pensions, wages,
and benefits affect all workers.