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Location: 40 dgrs. 48' 26.34" N, 96 dgrs. 40' 05.96" W, United States

Liberal bicycle commuter, political junkie, policy junkie, free thinker, I've got too many titles. All in all I'll leave it with a quote from the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minn. "Politics is not about big money and power games, it's about the improvment of peoples lives."


December 21, 2005

Transit Workers Strike

Day two of the city wide transit strike. So everyone understands and in the interest of full discloser, I'm a union member so I am going to side with the transit workers in this particular situation. Let me break this down just a bit. two of the main issues for this strike are involve pay raises and pension issues. Lets look at the pension issue first. MTA want to change the pension rules for new hires while the old heads retain their present pension plan. This is an old tactic used by companies traced all the way back to the industrialized revolution. Pitting new blood against the old blood of the union or visa versa. There is a term for this... "union busting" Union busting, that is what your beloved New York City is trying to do. I applaud the transit workers for staying unified and sticking it out with one another.

Next, pay raises. The union wants an average pay riase over the next few years, very basic and well within the lines of non-union workers raises. Is that honestly to much to ask as far as a raise goes? By the way, MTA is 1 BILLION in the flush, New York City is a few BILLION in the flush.

Look, I'm well aware that evidently this strike is "illegal" So does that mean the union should just lay down and continue to get screwed by the city because they have no recourse? A bus driver/ train operator makes $63,000 a year. Think that is too much? Take into account that these people live in one of the most expensive cities in the nation. Additionally, these operators are professionals, they are responsible for transporting the public safely, accident avoidance, they are subject to random drug tests mandated by the federal government (as a result I assume the VAST majority are safe and drug free)and managing stress under great pressure from traffic and the public. $63,000 sounds like New York is getting a pretty nice deal to me. If I was not fricken dead from working since 6 this morning I would do a search on MTA safety and accident reports. I bet I would find that MTA and it's transit workers have a superb safety record.

The people striking don't think this is funny. I've been on strike twice in my career and it's not funny but you have to do what you have to do to get fair treatment and pay.

Keep in mind (and this is a fact) because of organized labors direct or indirect work you have pension plans, 401(k), a safe working environment, minimum wage, the 40 hr. work week, weekends off, overtime and the list really goes on and on (right now I'm just spent so I can't think.

So before you decide to start bashing organized labor, maybe thank them first for their hard work to better everyone's lives (like the guy in the 1930's who had his head caved in by a company goon while fighting for his constitutional right to organize.)


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