“We’re not going to negotiate against ourselves,” says MTA about LIRR contract. Except it did when it came to Vanderbilt Yard.
Six days before a possible strike on the Long Island Rail Road, negotiations appeared to collapse on Monday, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority acknowledged “a gulf” with its unions, and labor leaders said they would proceed with plans for a walkout on Sunday.
Thomas F. Prendergast, the authority’s chairman, said that while transportation officials had increased their offer repeatedly in recent months, the unions had barely budged, leaving “a long distance” between the two sides. Further concessions from the railroad, which carries about 300,000 riders each weekday, could influence the size of future fare increases and imperil capital funding, Mr. Prendergast suggested.
“We’re not going to negotiate against ourselves,” he told reporters Monday afternoon at a news conference.
"There is no other market," declared board member Jeffrey Kay.
The Times was editorially silent, though in a somewhat parallel situation in 1994, the newspaper repeatedly editorialized against renegotiating with a developer. “A rebounding economy will likely increase its value,” the Times opined. “It is wiser to walk away than stumble into a giveaway.”
As I wrote, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Andrew Alper's justification was apparently that sports franchises are such a scarce commodity that the city must negotiate against itself--an argument that is often effective, especially in cities desperate to be "major league." No other project was suggested or considered for the railyard or the rest of the Atlantic Yards site.
Though Alper claimed that "trying to find a better deal" would "discourage developers from coming to us," since then the city, in projects like Hudson Yards and Willets Point, however controversial, have at least put developers at the same starting line.
And the city, negotiating against itself, nearly doubled its direct contribution to the Atlantic Yards project and has offered all sorts of other aid.