03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

TWU "Day Of Outrage" Wreaking Havoc On MTA Commuters? Maybe

This morning, a downtown-bound 6 Train pulled up slowly to Grand Central Terminal. It was absolutely packed. Even the end cars suffered the crush of people pressing against each other like sardines. Maybe not an unusual sight for most Manhattan commuters, but perhaps this makes a difference - it was 11:30 a.m., not exactly peak rush hour. The following 6 Train was almost empty and came only a minute after the first one had left, as though the tracks were backed up. Strange? Maybe.

It's unclear whether or not TWU Local 100's "Day Of Outrage" is indeed in effect today, as the rumor mill threatened. Though it's illegal for union members to slow down traffic, reports hinted that MTA drivers would do everything "by the book" to the extent that commute times would be longer. This may actually be happening. The driver of the crammed train spent five long minutes imparting the message that passengers "move in as far as possible and avoid the doors". This is the standard message, but it was certainly a longer and more redundant delivery. My train's driver was going noticeably slower than usual and was honking at all passing trains. The trains were honking back, as if in solidarity.

"The Day of Outrage", with a "slow it down" message allegedly being spread through text message, is a response to the MTA's refusal to honor the 11.3 percent wage increase the union won in contract arbitration last year. While it's possible that a crammed 6 Train so late in the morning was unremarkable, just the threat of a slow-down has many local media outlets and commuters undeniably spooked. For the TWU, this could be enough.