Conditions are favorable for the development of negotiation breakdown capable of producing a strike. If deadlock has either produced a strike or radar has indicated intense walkout activity, then a Strike Warning will be issued.
With apologies to the National Weather Service, that’s really the only way to accurately describe the will-they-or-won’t-they situation of TWU Local 234 as City Division’s contract expires at 11:59pm tomorrow night. Militant union president Willie Brown has told his rank-and-file to prepare for a strike, but he has not gone to them yet for a strike authorization vote, so he can’t recreate the zero-notice strike that he called in 2009, the night after the World Series left town. He has also expressed a desire to have a co-ordinated strike action with the suburban transit unions (including the suburban divisions of TWU 234), whose contracts run until April 7. So we probably have a three week reprieve, and even if we don’t, we’ll have at least 24 hours warning before the workers walk out.
Despite BLET’s not having had a contract for four years, and Willie Brown’s fervent hopes of co-ordinated action, Regional Rail workers are covered by the Railway Labor Act, and cannot strike. At least, they can’t strike without going through a months-long process involving multiple interventions by the Federal government. Regional Rail will keep running, although if it’s the last service in town, it will see absurd levels of overcrowding. I’ll go further into detail in a Strike Warning post, should one be necessary.