Across the river and a few miles south a judge was finding them in violation of the law, but the TWU strikers at 126th Street and 2nd Avenue Tuesday afternoon wanted to talk about someone else’s alleged brushes with illegality, namely the MTA’s.
They pointed to the dozens of buses across the street that supervisors had turned on to keep the diesel engines from freezing up. “You aren’t supposed to idle buses like that!” They recalled the MTA’s financial troubles, like the mob-infested renovations at 2 Broadway that ended up hundreds of millions of dollars over budget.
And there was the thing about the hidden surplus back in 2002. “We’ve got to remind New Yorkers that three years ago when they raised the fares, the MTA had two sets of books,” says Sal Ariaga, a mechanic. “Everyone who gets on a subway is getting robbed.”
The picket line at the 126th Street bus depot was more of a circle than a line. It rotated in the lot our front. “We are the union, the mighty, the mighty union,” a leader cried out on his megaphone. A few strikers replied, weakly. But the sign that said, “Honk if your (sic) with us” actually got plenty of responses.