Turns out the whole thing was orchestrated by Cuomo's office to make him look the "hero":
If the latest episode of the MTA-TWU drama seemed a bit scripted, it’s for good reason.
It was scripted.
In what might be dubbed the “Fairy Tale of Albany” or the “White Knight from Mount Kisco,” the hero who saved the day was Gov. Cuomo. He came to town during Holy Week and helped get a new contract — with retroactive raises and improved benefits — for some 34,000 bus and subway workers who have been toiling without one for more than two years.
This wasn’t a covert maneuver. It was more like Paul Revere coming to town, but in a souped-up muscle car.
On April 16, Transport Workers Union Local 100 set the stage for the charade rescue with a letter that urged Cuomo to get personally involved in negotiations.
A Cuomo staffer pushed the theme in a phone call with me that night. Local 100 and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had made some progress but not on major issues like wages and health care costs, he whispered. The administration staffer would only talk on “background,” meaning his name or position was not to be printed.
“They are far apart on the big stuff,” the staffer said.
In reality, much of the contract had been hammered out by the two negotiators: MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast and TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen. The two men had been meeting privately for days at MTA headquarters — and at Cuomo’s Midtown office.
On Thursday, the next day — the very next day after the staffer said the two sides were far apart — the White Knight announced that a new contract had been achieved.
“Everything was being orchestrated,” one government official familiar with the Holy Week crusade said to me afterwards. “All of it. The timing. When it was done. How it was done. Nothing was left to chance.”
Local 100 was more than willing to go along with whatever script came from Albany in order to get the deal, which doesn't have "zero" percent raises for any of the years it covers and beats the emerging municipal wage pattern.
“We’d stand on our heads if that’s what he wants us to do,” one union staffer said.
It was all in the script. Nothing left up to chance for a governor running for re-election.