Newswise — Contracts for nearly 40,000 MTA workers who operate and maintain the system expired Wednesday night amid discussions on wages, pensions, health benefits and accusations of overtime abuse, raising the prospect of a widespread transit strike.

Gene Carroll, co-director of the NYS American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, and Cornell Union Leadership Institute, says striking workers would likely call attention to the high cost of health care.

Carroll says:

“The impact if there is a strike will surely be disruptive and painful, but depending on the core bargaining demands, the workers who strike – if they do go on strike – could be highlighting the need for health care for all. 

“Working people are suffering from escalating out-of-pocket health care costs, even folks in unions with decent health care. This is the reality for most people, and the union’s concern for the costs of health care should resonate with the public. Still, shuttering the subways is always a risky strategy. Therefore, the way in which the union presents their demands to the public is critical.”