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They should just fire the freaking transit workers and hire new ones. (rant)

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  • ojgsxr6
    replied
    Originally posted by PirateJon
    If you can't stop working, you are a slave.
    There is a difference between quitting and striking.

    Leave a comment:


  • kepetri
    replied
    Originally posted by PirateJon
    Illegal to strike is the most fucked up shit I can imagine. What country is this again? What century do we live in?

    If you can't stop working, you are a slave.
    They are always free to quit if their working conditions don't satisfy them. The problem here is that their services are critical, so it's a condition of the job that they cannot strike. They've chosen to ignore that condition, and should suffer accordingly. It wouldn't bother me at all if these people were jailed.

    And don't read from this that I'm totally against unions. I think they serve a purpose in some industries. I'd love to see one at a place like Walmart.

    Leave a comment:


  • PirateJon
    replied
    Illegal to strike is the most fucked up shit I can imagine. What country is this again? What century do we live in?

    If you can't stop working, you are a slave.

    Leave a comment:


  • kepetri
    replied
    Originally posted by PirateJon
    not that I knew about this before yesterday either, but this strike made the pro-labor sites sit up and start shouting. GO UNION!
    They shouldn't. This is analogous to the air traffic strike in 1981. Reagan justifiably fired them because the strike was illegal. A lot of union people felt this was a blow to the unions, but it really wasn't. It didn't take away any of their power to have a legal strike, it simply punished those who chose to break the law. Supporting such activity makes a lot of people, myself included, view unions as little more than groups of angry thugs.

    The people involved in this strike are gambling that they will get some sort of amnesty. Although I'm sure they're mostly being duped by their leaders, I'd still support going after them to the fullest extent of the law, whatever that may be. Strikes of this sort are illegal for a reason, and I can't think of any good reason to excuse this one.

    Leave a comment:


  • katsu
    replied
    I gues I should stay out of this I'm from NJ not NY!

    Leave a comment:


  • PirateJon
    replied
    Originally posted by Tom Kagan
    When the gentlemen across the negotiating table are wearing $1800 suits and make seven figures and telling you they just don't have the money, it can be a little hard to accept.


    I occasionally wonder how all the workers at ENRON who got screwed out of their pension might have fared with a little collective bargaining thrown into the mix.


    (Again, not trying to editorialize on the current situation in NYC, although I will point out to those suggesting cab usage that traffic is at a near complete standstill throughout lower Manhattan today.)

    How about when the MTA had 2 sets of book to hide a billion dollar surplus in order to raise fares? That's not a typo - they hid a billion dollars. I guess katsu doesn't remember that the TWU fought that rate hike, fought to get more saftey and cops, etc etc. Show's who is really out to screw the working guy.


    not that I knew about this before yesterday either, but this strike made the pro-labor sites sit up and start shouting. GO UNION!


    Also this email is making the rounds...
    STRIKING FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS
    by Andy Stettner

    Today, 34,000 members of Transit Workers Union Local 100 that work for New York City Transit running the city's trains and buses went on strike. Most of the media coverage has focused on the minutia of the final contract deal and the inconveniences of stranded straphangers. As I sit in my office after biking over the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear December morning, I know they have missed the true meaning of this contract debate: the future of the middle class in New York City, and more broadly in the United States.

    Our mayor, Michael Bloomberg, perfectly framed this meaning in today's New York
    Times (December 20th) Mr. Bloomberg said that a walkout would hurt many workers in the hotel, restaurant and garment industries who earn less than the transit workers. The transit workers average $55,000 a year with overtime.

    "You've got people making $50,000 and $60,000 a year - are keeping the people
    who are making $20,000 and $30,000 a year from being able to earn a living,"
    Mr. Bloomberg said. "That's just not acceptable."

    Here you have the 'unacceptable' vision of our Mayor for working class New Yorkers, jobs that pay less than $35,000. New York City's economy is growing strongly but it is growing like a donut, with high paying jobs and lower paying jobs increasing at the same time. From 2000 to 2004, New York City's middle class (families earning between $35,000 and $150,000 per year) declined at a rate that was four times the national average according to New York's Fiscal Policy Institute.

    The problem is that a family cannot really live on $35,000 in New York City. Among other things, housing costs for both rentals and especially for home buyers have increased astronomically. Take a look at the meticulously prepared self-sufficiency standard for New York City prepared by the Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement. In none of the five boroughs of New York City, could a family with one adult and one child meet the basic minimum daily expenses (housing, child care, food, transportation) on such a salary. Between $55,000 and $60,000 per year should meet the minimum needs of a family of four, but after living here for 10 years I don't know exactly how.

    Middle Class Life at Stake in New York City

    That's what makes jobs like those at New York City Transit so vital to the city's health. According to most media reports, the average New York City Transit worker earns between $47,000 and $55,000, while many start at as little as $33,000. While the earnings are modest, the job comes with strong health care benefits and a traditional defined benefit pension.

    What do middle class jobs provide our city? At these wages, working families don't have to depend on publicly funded work supports like Medicaid or Child Health plus that are being stretched by a shrinking tax base. Middle class families bring stability to communities and schools, and have an opportunity to send their kids to college and even out the wealth distribution over the long-term. Most deeply, the existence of good middle class jobs ensures that the promise of opportunity that New York once provided to immigrants and domestic migrants is not lost in the 21st century. New York City Transit Authority jobs have provided such opportunity, first for Irish-Americans and other Europeans, and now increasingly for Caribbean-American and Latino communities. Contrary to the Mayor's assertions, low-wage workers generally support the existence of middle-class better paying jobs because it does provide a ladder up rather than begrudging their better position.

    What Wages Do Transit Workers "Deserve"?

    Bloomberg and Governor Pataki (who actually controls the MTA) have decided to make an all out assault on these jobs. They have basically stated that New York City Transit workers don't deserve the salaries that they are making. Do transit workers deserve these wages? Transit workers do thankless and dangerous work. Bus drivers face hostile customers and murderous traffic all day. Subway workers toil in dark, vermin-infested, century-old subway tunnels. A mistake by a New York City transit worker can be a life-or-death mistake for riders or for themselves. Since World War II, 132 track workers have been electrocuted or killed by trains in the New York subways, 21 in the last two decades. Basic necessities, like the ability to go to the bathroom, are a luxury for transit workers. So, too, are days off. The New York Daily News' Errol Louis reports that NYCT workers engage in annual ritual of sleeping on cots to request Thanksgiving Day off in person 30 days in advance as required by their contract.

    On this basis, it seems clear that these NYCT workers deserve some kind of wage
    premium for this kind of "dirty job." But wages are set in the market and in a power dynamic between labor and capital?and the question is whether TWU members have a realistic shot at maintaining their middle class lifestyle. Obviously, middle class life for working people is under attack in the U.S. because of the pressures of globalization?with the most visible symbol of this assault being the 30,000 plus workers of Delphi auto parts who are facing massive wage cuts or layoffs (initially posed as a cut from $27/hour plus to $12/hour or less). But, New York City Transit workers should be exactly the kind of workers who should be able to hold on to a middle class way of life in the 21st century. Knowledge-driven, high-wage, service-sector economies like that of New York City depend on a web of effective mass transit. Indeed, the recovery of the subway from its graffiti-ridden and violent past has part of New York City's rise from the fiscal crisis of the 1970s. Because of a surge in population and public transit usage, the MTA now has a nearly $1 billion surplus this year. (This is even before they have finalized deals to sell extremely valuable land development rights above train yards in downtown Brooklyn and the West Side of Manhattan). The MTA can afford to sustain a fair living wage for the workers they need to operate the system, and
    competitive pressures should be tilting in the favor of the workers.

    The Contract on the Table and Its Repercussions

    The union reports that the MTA's final offer is 3 percent, 4 percent and 3.5 percent. Because this represents an improvement over an initial deal of 2 percent, the media has been reporting this as a better deal than what was initially presented. This "raise" proposal is really no raise at all. Inflation is running at 3.5 percent in Northeastern cities, so this salary increase would leave workers treading water. In exchange for a zero percent real raise, TWU has been asked to accept cuts in retirement security (an increase in the retirement age from 55 to 62) for future workers, a year after the State Assembly passed a bill to lower the transit worker retirement age to 50. (Indeed the union has argued that pension issues should be off the table because they are generally the jurisdiction of the Legislature, which is an argument backed by the Republican head of the New York State Senate). Increased health care contributions were on the table early in the negotiation, and it is unclear what the final deal included on this side. This contract offer comes after the MTA accepted a three year contract that featured no raise in year one (only a one-time $1,000 bonus) and a two percent (less than cost of living) in 2003 and 2004. That contract represented a sacrifice that many municipal workers made during the 9-11 recession. So, the MTA has asked the TWU to stand still on wages and accept cuts elsewhere. It is really no offer at all for an agency with a billion dollar surplus.

    If TWU accepted this contract, it would set the scale downward for all upcoming New York municipal contracts. Other municipal workers have less leverage with the city because their salaries are tied directly to tax revenue as opposed to user fees. TWU should be lauded for defending conditions not just for themselves but for future generations of transit workers, and the rest of unionized labor in New York.

    The biggest target for the MTA and their allies in city and state government are pensions. These defined benefit pensions do represent a large liability - - but also are a crucial bulwark against the slide towards retirement insecurity for lower wage workers. The 401(k) model of defined benefit pensions can work for higher wage workers who can manage to save towards a million dollars by the time of retirement and then live off of annuities and interest. This model is not working well for working class people and African-Americans and Hispanics. Only 40 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics age 47-64 can expect to have retirement income equal to fifty percent of their prior salary. So, the kind of pension security achieved by TWU is worth defending.

    So, where do we draw the line in defense of middle class living and retirement security? If the MTA gets their way, we can expect a slide in living standards for a whole range of municipal workers. And, we can expect the race to the bottom to continue in service sector jobs like health care and building services that have a chance to pay decent wages to working people in a globalized age. For this analyst and activist, at least, in New York City, the Transit Workers Union is a place where this line is being drawn. It remains to be seen whether the TWU will be able to organize enough external and internal solidarity and favorable public opinion to win this battle. This is especially true since they face stiff fines under the state's Taylor Law for engaging in an illegal strike. But, all of us who profess a concern for living standards and values of economic opportunity and fairness seem to owe them our solidarity. Please do all you can ? visit www.twulocal100.org to find out about opportunities to express solidarity. Most importantly, when your friends and colleagues whine about the commute try to tell them what is at stake.
    Last edited by PirateJon; 12/21/2005 12:41pm, .

    Leave a comment:


  • PirateJon
    replied
    Originally posted by Bluto Blutarsky
    You are right, I am NOT forced. I live in Manhattan. I can afford to take cabs all the time. I don't because it is cheaper and quicker.
    I can't express how terribly sorry I am that you're inconvenienced. Slower *AND* more expensive? How do you manage?

    However not everyone has that option, not everyone can afford to live in Manhattan and not everyone has the luxury in this job market of "picking and choosing" a job close to home when they have a family to feed.
    Perhaps then they should put pressure on the MTA to end the strike.

    This strike does not affect me that much, but the workers in my office who are not so fortunate, who live in queens, bk, and the bronx, and upstate new york and long island are not so fortunate. This strike hurts lower and middle income people much more. It might be an inconvenience to me, but for millions of New Yorkers, it is not. Including the small business owner/retailer who is hurt by the falling revenues of the holiday season due to the strike.
    I had no idea you cares so very much about the poor. Shame those workers don't have a union that fights for them to raise their wages.

    So who are you telling? Me or the poor guy who can't afford to take cabs in every day? A person who lives in Manhattan and could walk to work or afford to cab it, or the person who isn't even making close to what these transit workers make, don't have near the pension benefits they get already, will not retire at 55, etc.?
    Oh well since "others" (whatever that means) don't make as much, then the solution is to lower the wages of the TWU right? I mean, if YOU don't think they're worth anything...

    I'm pissed because thier selfish and ILLEGAL and malicious behavior disgusts me, now they do as well. It's a damn good thing bus drivers or train conductors don't get tips, I would never tip them after this if they did.
    Luckily they have collective bargaining to make sure they get a living wage, health care, etc and don't have to depend on the whims of those with money.

    The problem is the union, the necessity for unions died years ago, way before my lifetime. Now there are a VERY select few that are beneficial to society and their members, SAG happens to be the only one I can think of right now.
    And if you can't think of a need for them, then they need to STFU and take it right? Otherwise that would be inconvenient to you.

    Looking at this strike purely in the eyes of a Manhattanite, and telling people to take a cab is very selfish.
    More or less selfish than saying 30k people should be fired because while they risk their asses it's not as cheap or quick as it could be for you to get to work?

    And they are risking a lot. No pay, plus 2 days docked for every day on the strike, plus threats of suing each union member personally for $25000 each day they are off the job. Standing up to that requires a lot of strength.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tom Kagan
    replied
    Originally posted by katsu
    you guys are missing the point you see we don't need the union because they are just trying to take money out of the pockets of the hard working plititions of NY

    When the gentlemen across the negotiating table are wearing $1800 suits and make seven figures and telling you they just don't have the money, it can be a little hard to accept.


    I occasionally wonder how all the workers at ENRON who got screwed out of their pension might have fared with a little collective bargaining thrown into the mix.


    (Again, not trying to editorialize on the current situation in NYC, although I will point out to those suggesting cab usage that traffic is at a near complete standstill throughout lower Manhattan today.)
    Last edited by Tom Kagan; 12/21/2005 12:00pm, .

    Leave a comment:


  • katsu
    replied
    you guys are missing the point you see we don't need the union because they are just trying to take money out of the pockets of the hard working plititions of NY they don't need any better working conditions than they have now!

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluto Blutarsky
    replied
    Originally posted by PirateJon
    You aren't forced to take the subway. Call a cab. Or move closer to work.

    You are right, I am NOT forced. I live in Manhattan. I can afford to take cabs all the time. I don't because it is cheaper and quicker.

    However not everyone has that option, not everyone can afford to live in Manhattan and not everyone has the luxury in this job market of "picking and choosing" a job close to home when they have a family to feed.

    This strike does not affect me that much, but the workers in my office who are not so fortunate, who live in queens, bk, and the bronx, and upstate new york and long island are not so fortunate. This strike hurts lower and middle income people much more. It might be an inconvenience to me, but for millions of New Yorkers, it is not. Including the small business owner/retailer who is hurt by the falling revenues of the holiday season due to the strike.

    For my field, the last two weeks in December is slow anyway, people go away and aren't looking to hire contract attorneys right before they take a vacation if it can wait (and if it can't they'll get thier ass in here anyway).

    So who are you telling? Me or the poor guy who can't afford to take cabs in every day? A person who lives in Manhattan and could walk to work or afford to cab it, or the person who isn't even making close to what these transit workers make, don't have near the pension benefits they get already, will not retire at 55, etc.?

    I'm pissed because thier selfish and ILLEGAL and malicious behavior disgusts me, now they do as well. It's a damn good thing bus drivers or train conductors don't get tips, I would never tip them after this if they did.

    The problem is the union, the necessity for unions died years ago, way before my lifetime. Now there are a VERY select few that are beneficial to society and thier members, SAG happens to be the only one I can think of right now.

    Looking at this strike purely in the eyes of a Manhattanite, and telling people to take a cab is very selfish.
    Last edited by Bluto Blutarsky; 12/21/2005 11:44am, .

    Leave a comment:


  • PirateJon
    replied
    Great quotes I read..

    It's supposed to make your life a living hell. At root, a strike is a reminder of how essential these employees are to the functioning of the city. It sucks for a LOT of people, most of whom are poor.

    How it is supposed to work,in theory, is that the inconvenienced people are supposed to put pressure on tto acehe government to accede to the strikers' demands. In addition, other unions can increase the pressure by going on strike too, in support.

    Basic services shut down because working people make the city work. Subway workers are essential, and they are on strike because a two-tier pensioning system is being put into place in the attempt to encourage two classes of workers within the union, and to weaken the union over time.

    Union strike actions are meant to encourage collective action by others to hasten their resolution.

    A common tactic by anti-union groups and individuals in these cases is to claim that the strikers in question are "among the highest paid transit workers in the country". I can't guarantee that we'll encounter that exact wording tomorrow, but we will hear something approximating that.

    What I find interesting is the contempt (almost classist in nature) implicit in such a phrase:

    "You transit workers do a job that I consider despicable, replaceable, meaningless, throwaway and utterly beneath me, but you're paid more than nothing for doing this job! How can you possibly be dissatisfied! On some scale I haven't identified and by some metric that may or may not be valid to the issues over which you're striking, you're among the highest paid transit workers in the nation! Unionism is terrorism! Up is down!"



    Oh yes, by the way...

    http://hem.passagen.se/muntz/haha.wav
    Last edited by PirateJon; 12/20/2005 9:51pm, .

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  • JohnnyCache
    replied
    The other thing is, unions are FOR semiskilled laborers. a trade union/guild isn't the same as a labor union, really, they just dovetail a lot in the us.

    Leave a comment:


  • PirateJon
    replied
    Originally posted by Tom Kagan
    Obviously, you have no idea what things cost in NYC.

    (Again, this is not meant as commentary on the current situation.)
    No, I do. Lived in manhatten for about 2 years off central park west with my grannie. Still have family there and go back every great once in a while.


    The point I was making is that there is nothing forcing you to use that public service. If he hates the unions so much, he should never use it since it supports the union directly.


    but really it's not about the union at all, it's about him being inconvienced. And for that, i'm so very sorry.

    Leave a comment:


  • JohnnyCache
    replied
    Originally posted by Shawarma
    But wouldn't the dissolving of all trade unions pretty much make society revert back to what it was before?

    Oh, NOOOOOOO, see, once your WARN a corrupt system once it stays fixed for thousands of years. :cry:

    A few things need to change about unions. My suggestions include treating unions like contract firms and paying them by the job so you don't have to deal with the godawful union hourly slack, for example, but there are still fields and parts of the country where unions are very needed. New york needing to do a little union busting does NOT mean they need to go all over the country.

    Leave a comment:


  • Shawarma
    replied
    Originally posted by PEtrainer
    Unions are no longer necessary and have outgrown their original purpose. They fester hoseshit like this.
    But wouldn't the dissolving of all trade unions pretty much make society revert back to what it was before?

    Leave a comment:

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