The TWU called a strike at 3:00 AM
While you're at home or trying to get to work a week before Chistmas, remember that the City and State allowed the MTA to spend their surplus with no consideration for workers needs, or the needs for the city.
The media has done little better, constantly harping on the Taylor Law and the responsibilities of the TWU and forgetting the rank and utter dishonesty of the MTA.
In any dispute there are two sides, but keep in mind that the TWU has stood with workers for basic protections in the system, like booth clerks and conductors in the face of the MTA's constant opposition.
There is no reason for this strike, but the MTA was not interested in meeting the union or the needs of New Yorkers even half way.
Yes, the strike is illegal, but the MTA should have realized that as well and lived up to their responsibility to the city, a responsibility that both Bloomberg and Pataki have failed to live up to. But they wanted to shove an unfair deal down the union's throat, using the support of the media and the mayor to force them to accept this.
The reality is that the mayor's contingency plans were based on assumptions, not negotations. Much of the cab and Metro North support may well not be there. Yet, the mayor spent his time threatening the union . Part of this is driven by the MTA's need to silence a critical voice, by hoping that the union will break.
Anyone who thinks these people make too much ought to consider why much of New York is thriving and not a ghetto wasteland. Those salaries build homes, pay taxes, buy cars. In short, while you tour Harlem and live in Billysburg ii is because people with stable jobs and good salaries buy homes and live there. The dollars paid by the MTA to the TWU's members go to the city, support the city, unlike the suburban based police and firefighters.
Yet, Bloomberg and Pataki disregarded that and the effect on business and backed the union into a corner. And they deserve the blame as much as the union or MTA for this. They tried to bully these people like Giuliani did, but that leadership lost their jobs because they buckled.
For all the halfwits calling for these people to be fired, do they know how to lay track or fix a subway car? No. Then kindly shut the fuck up and post that crap on RedState or someother right wing blog. Oh, you can't. But it's a bullshit, spite-based argument.
When you realize you can't go to work today or probably tomorrow, you might consider how vital the job the TWU does and how little the leadership of this city respects it.
----------UPDATE 10:50 AM---------------
Jen here, logging in from home (which is why I can access Blogger during work hours today)
I am telecommuting in. I am lucky that I can.
None of the service people at my office can. Our support staff can't Our temps and consultants can't. They are either spending lots of money to get in to work late (on the clock) or they are using sick days/vacation days.
The ones getting hurt here are blue-collar people of ALL colors.
Gilly, you ain't gonna like this, but if my name is on the masthead I'm gonna post something that you disagree with me on from time to time....
This is NOT about race.
This is NOT about TWU workers' "dignity"--they have not mentioned the Sick Day Cops or lack of bathroom breaks. Their position is about money and how much of it they want--it is not the Left's job to go in and run their campaign post-facto ala' Ferrer.
I hate both sides in this strike.
Fuck the MTA--they are crooked, corrupt, lying pieces of shit who are accountable to no-one. They should be an NYC agency. Fire them all, rip open the books, and put the MTA under City control.
And...Fuck the TWU. Fuck them for being greedy and going into fainting spells at the mere suggestion that they should have to contribute to their health care program. Fuck them for demanding a uniform retirment age for both the desk jockey and the linesmen doing hard work in the field. And, for asking for raises at a rate not even seen at profitable businesses hiring skilled workers, nevermind one running a system that seems to be hanging by a thread.
The TWU is only hurting their friends and neighbors--all the people who are loosing a day's pay because of this. Guess what, race-card players? Folks from Westchester and Rockland and Long Island got to work just fine this AM. They are getting paid.
To blindly yell "Fight the Power! Go Union!" is to ignore who really gets hurt here. Very few other agency strikes could impact the city so harshly, and punish so many people for no reason. If all the lawyers/grocers/pick you strawman went on strike tomorrow, it wouldn't stop everyone else from getting to work. This does. And the people who are hurt are those with the fewest choices and least money.
Now, I am going to go get a fresh cup of coffee and get back to work...on my futon.
Of course it's about race. When was the last time you saw a majority minority union make respect a major part of their platform. Or be called lazy and greedy? Racial contempt drip from those words.
How many people posted here have no clue as to the complicated nature of public transport and were quick to call them lazy goldbrickers. Now, my entire family have been public employees, including my oldest sister. My father worked with crazy vets for a decade, including an incident when he and his partner were drenched in blood trying to prevent a suicide.
None of them, with one exception, has anything but respect for their employer.
That one exception was my uncle who worked for the MTA.
He worked as a token booth clerk for nearly 30 years and much of his discussion of the job revolved around how little the MTA respected their workers. How if you got sick, they would visit your house. Your boss check on if you're truly sick? Of course not. They come to see if you're in your house? Nope.
Unless you work for the MTA.
The MTA humiliates its field workers with conditions you would not tolerate. The reason people don't quit are those benefits. I find it hillarious that Wall Street workers, people who get bonuses worth a TWU salary begrudge them a 3 percent or 4 percent raise a year and a defined pension.
Jen, the people hurt by this, for some odd reason, tend to support the strike. Because, like I do, they wonder why the MTA can't be more generous with a billion dollar surplus, at a minimum. An agency who's accounting would shame the mafia, lied as recently as yesterday, by upping their "final" offer.
So is it OK that the MTA plan to sell off properties at a fraction of their value as sweetheart deals?
No one was screaming about that except a few groups and the TWU.
You need to pay more attention. Since last week, they have been screaming about work rules.
Also, no one says this strike doesn't hurt the city. So why didn't the MTA try harder, why didn't the governor and mayor try harder. Bloomberg is up on his hind legs trying to be a tough guy when the people he deals with lift tracks and breathe steel opn a daily basis.
I will say it again, this strike didn't have to happen. The union sent every signal that they were willing to deal, it was the MTA which tossed on conditions no city union would accept.
So Jen, what happens if someone starts out working in the field, gets a degree and then gets an office job or supervisory job, should they have to lose their more generous pension?
You also forget that in the last two contracts, the TWU accepted no raises in the first year in 1998 and 2 percent in 2002, when the MTA cried broke and then the next year had a surprlus.
How can you trust the MTA after that?
But I'll tell you something about the race card, the more you talk about jail and punishment, you play into the perception of treating black people harshly for standing up for themselves. These people are prepared for jail and punishment, so that isn't going to end the strike a day earlier.
I wish the mayor and governor would actually stop pretending to be tough and look at the situation to devise a solution.
Part of the problem is that Giuliani humiliated the union in 1998 by bullying them. The TWU leadership went along and they were canned. They won't be bullied again.
No one wins from a strike, but you can mitigate the losses when people act with common sense.
posted by Steve @ 3:04:00 AM