In case of a bus strike
The bicycle community might be looking at both a great challenge and a great opportunity in a couple of months. The papers report a possible strike by Port Authority’s labor union. The 1992 strike went 30 days. Previous ones went as long or longer.
While the contract expired 6/30, the earliest a strike might happen is roughly Sept. 15. My guess is that they will go out.
The challenge is that there might be a zillion more cars to deal with each day. The opportunity is that we might — should try to — make riders out of some of those drivers. That a good many people have no choice in the matter has not escaped my attention.
I think our biggest challenge is in making it possible to tie up about 10 times more bikes in busy areas than we’ve recently handled, outside of Bike-Pgh events.
Any ideas out there as to how to get “the bicycle option” in people’s psyches in the next two months, even if as a “just in case”?
[Full disclosure: I am, at this moment, in the process of applying to be a driver, but am not yet on board as either an employee or union member.]
Events through Sept. 13 (that June 30 +15+45+15 date from my first post) happened pretty much as I laid them out in my earlier posts. Labor can now legally walk out at any time. As long as negotiations continue, the buses will run. As soon as talks break down, though, the union rank and file will vote on whether to strike. Just how fast that will happen, I don’t know, but it’s safe to assume that the general public will have less than 24 hours notice. I doubt they’d walk off in the middle of the day; more likely they’d stay on the job until midnight on so-and-so date, so you’d wake up one morning and, boom, no buses.
The point is, our planning should already be complete and ready to drop in place at 5 a.m. on any given morning. Are we ready?
we’re trying our best to get all our ducks in a row. We now have a web page up with a “how to,” we have “bikethestrike.org” pointing to it, and we have two logos. Thanks to Mary we now have a questionnaire to see what other cyclists out there can do to help. We need a peloton of support in order to get folks into work and outfitted with all the knowledge/skills necessary.
Separately but related, the Board will make a decision today about when to shut the system down (read: lockout) because of the battle over the local match for state funding.
Definitely time to solidify those plans.
So I’m curious what the heck is happening. A contract has been imposed on the operators which didn’t make the union happy, but the union said they wouldn’t “do that” to the public (read: strike).
What are your thoughts?
OK, so there’s finally something substantive about what’s going on…
“Bus drivers talk Dec. 1 work stoppage if contract imposed”
“If the Port Authority imposes a new contract Dec. 1 as planned on employees who operate the bus-trolley system, union leaders said today their 2,300 members likely will stage a “work stoppage” in the form of a strike or a lockout.
Apparently it’s not a sure thing until the ATU has a meeting around Thanksgiving, but it sure sounds like the party is on for December 1.
dang. guess i’ll have a crash course in communing downtown by bike if this happens. i’ve wanted to start doing it, just been lazy and having a free bus pass doesn’t make it any better.
I think you’re right, BLS.
Just lovely. Perfectly timed for (a) the beginning of truly bike-unfriendly weather, and (b) me starting a new job in Warrendale. I think I’d rather they’d gone on strike in mid-September.
Warrendale’s a great commute for you, Stu! What are you griping about? You can probably get there better/faster by bike than by transt, from where you are. And, good luck on the new job.
“Port Authority drivers to meet Nov. 23 on contract”
By Joe Grata, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“The union representing Port Authority bus and trolley workers has scheduled a membership meeting for Nov. 23 to discuss options in the current labor dispute, including authorizing a strike shortly thereafter.
There has been no word when — or even if, union leaders maintain — such a job action will take place …”
That last bit is interesting because it seems to contradict some of the quotes in Joe Grata’s Nov 4 article, the one I linked to above that got buried in the election coverage.
I guess we’ll find out what’s going to happen soon enough.
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