December 20, 2005
Getting To No: The Inside Story of the New York City Transit Strike

A story rarely circulated in the behind-the-scenes coverage of the strike and the negotiations leading up to it is that of the book on which both parties relied in coming to the table: "Getting to No: The Art of Ridiculously Hardball Negotiation". Both the MTA and the TWU consulted the author, Professor Saul Apt, on positions to take during their talks. In yet another example of famously poor judgment, Apt shared some suggested "discussion openers" with us:

"What the hell is your problem?"

"I'll have you know that the author of the Taylor Law, John Taylor, is my next door neighbor."

"Pensions are so overrated. Look at Enron."

"My cousin retired at 55 and she's been bored to tears ever since."

"I understand we have a huge surplus -- but a billion dollars just doesn't go as far as it used to."

"I know the Mayor and he looks nothing like that."

"Paying for your own health care gives a person a real sense of accomplishment."

"Surpluses are overrated. Everyone knows you get better results by doing more with less."

"I have a friend who won the lottery and it only brought him misery."

"You know you're going to raise the fare soon anyway. This way, if you give in, you'll have a convenient excuse."

Also on the transit strike: I and some other folks provided the New York Times with some non-satiric views on the strike (subscription required).

Posted by Tom Burka at 11:53 PM in Commentary