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Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Thursday, December 22, 2005

Some of you should be ashamed of yourselves

Blame the MTA

I've been reading posts for two days and frankly, some of you should shut the fuck up and listen to your own blather.

I've lived through a transit strike, a couple of blackouts and 9/11. And in every case, New Yorkers rose to the challenge. Fuck Bloomberg and his cheap praise for the people who live here. He doesn't respect working people, and I hope all the people who swallowed his bullshit and voted for him realize that.

New York is a tough place and filled with tough people. They aren't even griping as they walk in the cold. does it suck? Yes.

"Oh, he's almost like a Democrat"

Really? He's sure acting like a thuggish Republican today.

The Daily News and Post have illserved this city with their slanted, misleading coverage

This from DN columnist David Hinkley shows how badly the News has misjudged the tenor of the city

"There wasn't even a discussion on devoting most of the morning to it," said program director Rennie Bishop of WWRL. "It affects 7 million people."

Bishop noted that radio also provided a real-time outlet for people to talk about the impact of the strike, and like programmers at other stations, he said lines were jammed all morning.

In a WWRL poll, 71% of respondents blamed the MTA and only 14% blamed the transit workers, which Bishop said he found "a little surprising. I would have thought it would have been more even."

Almost every station that took calls found support for the transit workers. "I've used the transit system for years," said Margaret, a caller to WOR, "and I've talked with many workers about the horrible conditions. We need to support them."

You think the benefits the TWU get are too generous? Well, this is how they treat sick employees

On Monday, his doctor broke the news that the cancer in Casiano's spine had spread to his lung. He's already endured months of grueling chemotherapy. Now he faces applying to the MTA for disability.

What happened to this sick worker and to so many other employees at the MTA is as much the reason for this strike as a wage increase, pension or health care benefit.

"Ever since I started missing work for chemo treatments, my supervisor's been accusing me of chronic sick-leave abuse," Casiano said.

Nelson Rivera, shop chairman for the 300 mechanics and car cleaners at 207th St., says Casiano is not the only worker penalized for illness. Another mechanic with 30 years on the job recently had a heart operation.

"When the guy came back to work, the MTA demoted him to security guard instead of giving him light duties," Rivera said. "Since then, he's been disciplined twice and is now facing a possible dismissal in 30 days.

For all of you working in offices, would you like to be treated like this, or denied maternity leave until you have your kid?

Fuck no.

But what amazes me is the idea that a college degree makes you part of the deserving middle class and the peons of the TWU are morons. Well, how many of you watch American Chopper. You know goddamn well you can't fabricate a bike, which is why they cost $150,000 If you could afford one, you wouldn't argue about the price. You just want it to work.

Well, any asshole can go to college, and I met more than a few there. But not any asshole can repair a subway car or bus which has thousands of people on it. It takes a trained mechanic, and one who shows up sober and ready to work. Lives depend on it. Your lives.

All of you who want to fire these hard working, responsible people, better realize that they are hand picked. A lot of people apply for Transit, there's a backlog. But they can pick and choose who they hire and their safety record and employee behavior reflects that. They don't get stolen from, people aren't robbed or murdered by MTA employees, you know if you see a worker at 2 AM, he's not going to harm you.

Sure, you can take pictures of sleeping token booth workers, and some can be rude, but if some pervert is chasing your ass in a deserted station, the clerk isn't going to demand a bribe to help you or be partners with the crook.

Why? Because they have a decent job with a good pension. That ensures your safety as much as anything else.

Let's get something straight: the transit worker is far more important than you and is paid accordingly. They can find bond traders a dime a dozen at Wharton. They can get graphic designers from any Pratt or SVA class. Your so-called special skills, your highly refined ability to shovel paper makes you replaceable.

But a reliable, dedicate man or woman who moves thousands of people a day is not so easy to find. You can't replace them cheaply. A bus driver is in demand, so are good mechanics, as anyone who has a car knows. Good mechanics get a lot of business. Well, the MTA hires excellent mechanics, people who could work on their own and make more money. How do I know? The buses I ride are safe and clean and do not usually malfunction .

And let me tell you something about the disgraceful behavior of Bloomberg and Pataki. There's word that the state may go to court to freeze people's bank accounts to pay their Taylor Law fines. In short, starve families to end the strike.

This is insane. Our softhand governor and mayor cannot intimidate people who work in the snow and boiling heat, often under dangerous conditions. People who will march in the cold on Christmas, who understood the penalties before they overwhelmingly voted to strike.

Instead of urging people to talk, to get back to the table and make a deal, they want to be big men and swing their dicks around. Which is an abdication of their duties. The louder they talk, the more they threaten, the more they inflame racial tensions. They are blind to this, but the black people I've talked to and heard say that a white union would never be attacked in such a vile manner.

The actual issues can be resolved, through negotiations, not threats. When Pataki said that "there won't be any talks until they go back" I was stunned. It was so pointless. That's going backwards. This is Christmas time for God's sake. The strike should have never happened. On both sides, but especially the MTA. Were they going to get 24 percent? Of course not. Only MTA management gets 20 percent raises.

Let me explain about the health care and pensions.

A TWU member is far more likely to use their health care than most people. When you compare them to cops, remember, cops have unlimited sick time, you can take hundreds of days at a time. The reason they don't want to kick in for their health care is simple: once they do, the costs will only go up, and considering that they are exposed to all manner of chemicals and waste, that means a decrease in salary. While people have been whining about this, remember, people with dangerous jobs usually don't pay for their health care in this city.

The pensions are hardly generous. Given the physical nature of their work, 55 is pretty old to be laying track or even sitting in a token booth for hours on end. much less walking the platform. We demand much from them and they claim that their workers die at 60, with bus drivers dying at 57.

These are hard, demanding jobs and a lot of people who are sneering at them are simply clueless as to what is involved. The fact that they get safely to work eludes them. But it makes them feel superior so when their bosses yell at them, they can feel superior to someone.

A lot of people who call themselves liberals still need to feel superior than other people, to feel that they got something from college besides binge drinking.

Jen here.

No, it's not a matter of feeling superior. It is not elitist or racist to say that this Roger Toussaint is NOT Rosa Parks. It is, however, racist and elitist to say that if you are white and educated, and don't agree with the TWU action here, that you are a socially useless parasite skimming off the hard work of unions whom you despise. The whole "all glory to the farmers and mechanics, down with the evil capitalist inroaders" sounds like it was ripped straight from a Stalin-era propaganda poster.

In my opinion, Toussaint had a big mouth and used it to write a check that right now, it seems, his ass has to cash.

Cops, teachers, firemen, and other public servants have gone years without contracts, yet they don't strike. Is this good? No, of course they deserve contracts. However, they also understand the definition of "public servant" and collectivley made the decision to keep working, because their absence would cause a disproportionally huge shockwave of aftereffects.

I have criticized the MTA on this blog as well, but I'm not doing it in this particular post. The tone here seems to be drifting too much towards "if you don't think that this strike is the greatest fucking thing to happen to working New Yorkers, you're a fascist elitist who majored in Jack Daniels in college."

And no, not all TWU positions are easily replaced. However, some are. Many have made the fine example of bus drivers--there are plenty of $10/hour bus operaters working for school districts in suburbia with far fewer benefits than what the TWU gets.

I resent being called an "elitist" for pointing out that everyday New Yorkers are being made to suffer because the TWU jumped the gun on a strike, and being called "racist" because I happen to disagree with the actions of a union that happens to be headed by a Black guy. Ditto for the tendency of some here to try to gloss over the fact that a large part of the working public IS pissed off at both the TWU and the MTA.

To quote a friend of mine on another list:

"But those poor helpless union guys -- who will help THEM? God forbid that they have to pay the smallest part of their retirement or healthcare like the rest of us. I completely understand why their union wants to negotiate the best terms possible -- I frequently do the samething when I negotiate. I stop short of breaking the law to get myterms though."

"That's the point: Didn't they chose a profession where it was against the law to collectively walk out? Arbitration is an option for stalled negotiations in these critical professions (and it still is here.) Yet the union refuses to agree to go to arbitration and they insteadchoose to walk out. They're not in the musician's union where missing a few Rockette shows isn't going to kill people. And then there is the fact that what they want seams "so 50 yearsago", as someone on NY1 so eloquently put it. Almost everyone paysinto their 401K funds these days. It also seams to me that no one is forcing them to be transit workers. Contrary to the elitist point ofview that each of them is helplessly overburdened with a life ofslavery in the subway mines -- each one of them makes that choice. I disagree that they don't have the free will to make that choice, or to make the choices that allow them to make that choice. I disagree that there are destined to work there and that their fate was sealed at birth. If they think the terms are unfair, shouldn't they quit? If they are victims, aren't they choosing to be victims in this case?"

Now, I disagree with the second half of his rant--workers have a right to demand legally-mandated safe working conditions, etc. Just because your roof leaks, you shoulnd't just be forced to "move if you don't like it"--there are laws to compel your landlord to fix the roof. Burning the place down, however, is not an option.

Also, the TWU has been woefully bad at articulating the working-condition issues that they face, including the truly awful Sick Day Cops and lack of bathroom breaks. Had they made those strike issues, the public may actually think more highly of them, and they may have gotten those sympathy strikes.

However, if being called an over-educated white-collar racist elitist is all the thanks I'm going to get for expressing an opinion that is 80&% pro union as opposed to 100%, they can go fuck themselves.

posted by Steve @ 3:23:00 AM

3:23:00 AM

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