Updated from 9:32 p.m. ESTA crippling transit strike in New York City was put on hold early Monday as contract negotiations continued past a midnight deadline and workers stayed on the job. The bus and subway workers' union remained at the negotiating table with the city's transit authority past the midnight deadline, saying the strike would be delayed as long as progress continued to be made. Union leaders held a brief news conference after the midnight deadline to say the two sides had made movement toward agreement on some issues. No progress had been made on economic issues, though, the union representatives said at a news conference early Monday morning. Transport Workers Union President Roger Toussaint said Sunday afternoon that all of the major contract issues still needed to be resolved, saying both sides remained far apart on issues including wages, safety, and health benefits. Members of the 34,000-strong union voted last weekend to authorize their leaders to call a strike if no contract were reached by midnight Sunday. It would be the first major transit strike in the city in 22 years. Gov. George Pataki refused to intervene in negotiations, saying: "There is no person capable of riding in on a white horse with a bag of money to resolve this contract." Late Sunday, The New York Times reported that one union adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said one option under consideration was to delay a walkout until the middle of the week. The union is seeking a 6% pay increase in each of the three years of the contract, while the Metropolitan Transit Association is refusing any raise in the pact's first year, and conditional ones in the second and third. If a walkout does occur, the union could face steep fines under the state's Taylor Law. Under the law, workers would be fined two days' pay for every day off the job. The city has gone to court to seek penalties of $1 million a day from the union and $25,000 a day from each worker.