NYC Transit Union Boss Now Faces Jail Time

The union president who called an illegal strike that halted New York City's subways and buses in December should be jailed for 10 days and fined $1,000 for criminal contempt, a judge ruled Monday.

The judge said he would allow Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Roger Toussaint to remain free for the next 30 days so he could appeal the decision. The judge also fined Toussaint's two top deputies $500 each.

"Obviously we find the fines and the sentencing to be regrettable, but we will deal with it," Toussaint said outside the courtroom.

In staging the 60-hour walkout, which began Dec. 20 when contract talks broke down, the union violated the state law that bars public employees from striking.

Peter Kalikow, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the nation's largest mass-transit system, said in a statement that the ruling "reflects the gravity of the union's decision to knowingly and willfully violate the law."

Last week, the transit authority asked the judge to impose $3 million in fines on the union, or $1 million for each day of the strike. Labor lawyers said the 33,000-member union already had financial woes and the fine would devastate it.

It was unclear when the judge would rule on the fine.

Union members rejected a tentative agreement with the transit authority by seven votes out of more than 22,000 cast in January. The dispute will go into binding arbitration. Sticking points in negotiations included pay and health care.