FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG URGES TRANSIT WORKERS UNION NOT TO STRIKE AND REMINDS NEW YORKERS OF CITY'S CONTINGENCY PLAN
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, December 18, 2005
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"For the past few days, New York has been a city in limbo. On Thursday night, with a possible transit strike looming, I - like many other New Yorkers - made alternate arrangements to get to work the next day and bedded down on a cot at the headquarters of the City's Office of Emergency Management in Brooklyn. Had there been a strike, I would have joined thousands of New Yorkers in the morning walking to work over the Brooklyn Bridge.
"Instead, we awoke Friday to learn that the transit workers' union had extended contract negotiations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, while authorizing a partial strike that affects some private bus lines. The union pushed back their deadline for reaching an agreement to Tuesday morning at 12:01 a.m. - at which time they've threatened to call an illegal citywide strike if no contract agreement has been reached.
"Although such action would be reprehensible, we need to be prepared for it. Once again, we stand ready to put the City's contingency plan in effect. It's a far-reaching plan designed to reduce gridlock and help people - especially our first responders - get where they need to go. The plan would require cars entering Manhattan south of 96th Street, and on a number of other major roadways, to have at least four passengers during the morning rush hour. In addition, it would increase ferry service… allow taxis to pick up multiple fares… and clear several main thoroughfares of nearly all traffic but buses and emergency vehicles.
"The full details of the plan have been posted on the City's website at www.nyc.gov. In the event of a strike, the website will also have the latest information on the best ways to get around the five boroughs.
"What's already clear is that a strike wouldn't just inconvenience commuters. It would slow down our response to medical emergencies and criminal activity. It would drain about $400 million per day out of our local economy during the height of the Christmas shopping season - and that would particularly hurt the working families who can least afford it, including thousands who work in the tourism and hospitality industries.
"City taxpayers would lose, too - about $22 million a day in lost tax revenue and overtime police expenditures. And members of the transit workers' union would face severe monetary penalties.
"There would be no winners in a strike.
"So I know I speak for all New Yorkers when I urge TWU to resolve their contract at the bargaining table and not conduct an illegal strike. And while all of us are hoping for the best, we also need to prepare for the worst. By Monday night, we should each have our own contingency plans in place. We should be prepared to deal with significant crowding and delays. And all of us should do our best to be patient, flexible, and courteous. By working together and looking out for each other, we will be able to weather this storm. We've demonstrated that same spirit time and time again - most recently during the blackout of 2003 - and I have no doubt that we can do so again.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Edward Skyler (212) 788-2958
Alternative Transportation Information Center