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Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My 2c on all of this


























It's not about this

Okay, I know a lot of you disagree with me and think I'm some kind of big, bad, right-wing fascist for daring--just daring--to say that maybe the TWU shouldn't have gone on strike, and that *gasp* they are actually hurting other working-class people by doing so.

I personally do not think this is about race. If the TWU really was thinking that way, they would keep stations in and out of minority neighborhoods open (for instance) or take the clever tack that strikers in Australia did and simply refuse to collect fares. Instead, guess who is taking the biggest hit paying for car services to get to work?

I think all parties are wrong in this conflict.

The MTA, as I have stated before, is corrupt, rotten, bad, and ridden with cronyism in a way that will get them a page in the history books next to the Tammany Hall gang. Arguing over a $20 million dollar pension change over a decade is indeed stupid, greedy, and hardheaded.

However, the people waiting for hours at Jamaica Station and elsewhere who are trying to get to work--working-class people who are paying $50 and up to basically "work for free" after their transit fees are counted in--are not exactly donning Che Guerva T-shirts and marching arm-in-arm with the TWU.

To say that supporting the TWU is part of a greater social good that will eventually benefit all workers would a) get you beaten up at any of the contingency-plan sites, where people have been freezing their asses off to get to work and b) is remarkably similar to the far-right tactic of saying that (for example) if you want to stop abortion, outlaw it (while skipping over all that tiresome stuff about birth control, etc). A competent legislature would have opened the MTA's books long ago and got this straightened out before a strike. But the TWU's actions are causing much more harm than good here.

I know it's not fashionable, but the "on the street" interviews and comment boards all over the Internet are full of venom for the TWU and the MTA both. You know why there's no sympathy strikes from the LIRR, Metro-North, and NJ Transit? Because there's no sympathy. Remember the bluster from the TLC saying that they wouldn't "carry" the load of the TWU in case of the strike? Well, they're feasting at the trough now, and reports of gouging roll in every time a news station cuts to strike news.

The TWU parent union didn't even support this strike. One could say that they did this to dodge fines, but that isn't the whole story. I think that the Union local head is a loose cannon who got in too far, and now he's stuck. The fact that the TWU is resisting arbitration efforts shows a level of bad faith almost equal to the MTA's.

The one thing that nobody here seems to want to talk about is the impact that this strike is having on the city's economy. How about that Daily News front page: "MAD AS HELL?" People are furious and they're hemmorhaging money trying to get where they need to go.

If pointing this uncomfortable fact out makes someone a right-wing anti-labor fiend, so be it.

Ok, here's my opinion.

Jen, the Daily News front page is bullshit. In a poll from WABC, shows a clear majority of support for the union. EVERY person I talked to, despite the inconvience, SUPPORTED the strike. Even getting breakfast, a Con Ed worker agreed that they had to get a decent settlement.

We're talking 52-40 here. Which is pretty fucking large considering the weather and time of year.

It's the people walking to work who understand the stakes here. If the MTA can break the TWU, their pensions are not safe. It is the black and latino government employee who made the city stable and kept a middle class within the city. The workers of the TWU keep neighborhoods functioning with their relatively high wages (the lowest among major transit systems), support entire neighborhoods.

Simply put, this isn't Australia, you can't not take fares, that's a firing offense. And the subway can't only open on some stops, the A line alone takes two hours to complete their run.

The fact is that there is plenty of sympathy for the TWU, but why shut down the entire rail system now? If they move to jail union leaders, then I wouldn't count on riding Metro North. You always need another card in your pocket.

And if you read the Daily News today, on page 2, you'd see an openly racist cartoon of Toussaint as a bare chested savage. Mike Bloomberg would have NEVER called a white union thugs. The word would never have crossed his lips. It may not seem like race to you, but from my side of the world, it's as racist as one can be.

Yeah, a lot of people online are attacking the TWU, but when Roger Toussaint went to Grand Central Station, he got a fairly warm reception, a lot of thumbs up. In fact, I'll go into the DN later, but I find this concern for the working poor amusing.

People seem to forget that it takes $40K to live in New York, yet they now care about people making less. Most of the time, they never give them a second though. But now, the burden of these people is placed on the union? Jen, the MTA forced this strike over $20m in pension savings. Don't lecture the TWU on how their relatives are suffering, that they know, Why not lecture the MTA on their recklessness and lack of concern for New York

posted by Jenonymous @ 9:33:00 AM

9:33:00 AM

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