It will be a colossal pain in the butt for many, an incredible hardship for countless others, a Christmas-shopping-season buster, and more, but I’m with the Transit Worker’s Union on the looming New York City Transit strike.
A Billion Dollar MTA Surplus and No Money for Raises.
From all that I have read, (and of course we never really know all of the details,) the MTA is lying, theiving and deceiving the public and the transit workers. They have a BILLION dollar surplus that they call a “surprise” and they are telling workers they can’t afford to give them raises. Yes, billion, with a “B.”
The TWU Needs to Make Concessions
Yes, the union members should wait til 62 like the rest of us to get their pensions. Yes, they should pay something toward their health insurance. As a self-employed individual, I pay $481 a month for mediocre insurance with no dental benefits, so I don’t want to hear any shit about how hard it is to kick in $50 or $100 toward health insurance.
The surplus is ear-marked for other programs, the MTA claims. But all I see as a member of the public is lack of necessary programs and a bunch of dangerous service cuts.
MTA Service Cuts and Stupid Decisions Abound
We have no anti-terrorism cameras or security of any kind on busses and subways in New York City. It seems they just can’t get around to doing something about this very real threat.
They got rid of token booths in many stations. Yet, last week, when a local 6 train went express and several hundred people tried to exit through the two ridiculous floor-to-ceiling gates at the Bleeker Street station, it was abundantly obvious that in an emergency exodus, we’d be dead.
Union busting is an ugly and wrong tactic. But that’s what the Mayor, the courts and the MTA are going to do — bust the union. Unions sometimes — ok, often — go too far. But that doesn’t mean that workers should have to do without the power of collective bargaining.
Unions in my life
My maternal grandmother was a union organizer in the garment center in the 1930s; one of my grandfathers was in the Glaziers Union and the other in Musicians Local 802. My father was a negotiatior in the strike talks between the Typographers Union and the New York Times. He was on the management side. So I know a little about unions.
I hope the strike is settled before millions of people are grossly inconvenienced. But I won’t be crossing any picket lines if there is a strike.