Republican Mayor Bloomberg is a Republican, After All

Crushing labor is key to right-wing goals, long-term.  And revitalizing it is the only way to restore the progressive movement (for more, read 'The Role of Labor in a Political Campaign').  So let me just offer that as a preface to this post.
For all those New Yorkers who said that Bloomberg was really a Democrat, you got what you voted for.  A Republican.  A billionaire who called unions thuggish because they are trying to protect the rights of city employees to have a middle class life.  To be clear, I don't know much about the TWU.  For all I know, my good friend David Alpert might be right, and there might be better ways to deploy resources within the MTA.  But regardless of the structural problems of the MTA, the MTA executive management is clearly operating in bad faith here, and isn't seeking to solve these problems.  From Jonathan Tasini:

So, now we know, thanks to Steve Greenhouse's analytical story about the fight over the pension issue, that the entire savings to the MTA--an authority that has a surplus of at least $1 billion--if it got its pension demand (which both sides agree triggereed the strike) would be a whopping $20 million over the next three years. This is a story that needs widespread attention.

For those people here and elsewhere who blame the union, please, get a grip. It can' t be more clear now that the M.T.A. forced a strike over a pittance to its coffers--but a 4 percent cut to workers. The union's position was: we are not going to hurt the people who want to work in the future. Lord, here's a union standing up for the principle that it has a responsibility to protect the interests of workers who are not even paying dues to the union!!! In other words, for the union, for Roger Toussaint, this wasn't entirely about solving an internal political issue--though, obviously, there are great tensions inside the union leadership.

Contrast that to the M.T.A., Mayor Bloomberg and George Pataki: you've got high-paid executives at the M.T.A., a billionaire mayor and a governor who is raising millions to run for another political office telling workers trying to make a middle-class living that they should take a hit. The M.T.A. is using the rhetoric of slowing down future pension obligations--a crisis that does not exist today. Yes, long-term pension obligations have to be addressed but those can be solved without taking a big whack at workers.

But, you have to give the M.T.A. and their allies credit. They are successfully turning part of the working class against its brethern. Because most people no longer have a decent pension, they are told that those who do have a decent pension should give it up. The same is true of health care. Rather than the debate turning to a public policy strategy that would give everyone affordable health care and decent pensions, employers have masterfully made the debate about the need for workers to sacrifice and get less--a chorus that is joined by some  workers who are angry that their living standards are declining but have turned their anger against the wrong people.

Ian Welsh has a lot more on the history of the TWU.  The right to organize is really what's at stake here.

Tags: Labor (all tags)



Great stuff
Working in Manhattan, I look forward to using some of this tomorrow when I have to deal with people where I work spouting stuff like, "They're doing just fine, and I'm not going to retire that early" and "We should show them, we should just refuse to take public transportation when they come back" and other such nonsense (yes, I really heard those).
by bruorton 2005-12-21 11:52AM | 0 recs
But, Democrats
need to step up and fight for union rights and stop taking the unions for granted.  If the Democrats take unions for granted for too long, there may come a time that there are no unions to take for granted.
by HCLiberal 2005-12-21 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: But, Democrats
Unions who support Republicans (like this one did for Bloomberg) are shortsighted idiots.

Big-picture, longterm, there is only one party that gives a damn about workers rights.

If local union bosses think they can get some immediate quid pro quo for an endorsement (and thus deny the Democrat the GOTV resources they need), they deserve this kind of knife in the back.

Fools. Watching Union bosses with visions of someday running for office endorse Republicans is not exactly unlike watching someone kill himself.

by dereau 2005-12-21 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: But, Democrats
Actually TWU Local 100 backed Ferrer.
by John Mills 2005-12-21 01:51PM | 0 recs
The local boss
Toussaint ignored his boss.

TWU vice John Mooney said he had urged the union and Toussaint to support Bloomberg. "Yeah, I think Bloomberg is the best candidate," said Mooney. "But that's nothing to do with this suit."

TWU has some zany ties to the Independence Party. Toussaint calls the shots for the Local - he's nearly Marxist. But you're right.

Bloomberg isn't stabbing them in the back.
He's spitting in their face.

by dereau 2005-12-21 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: But, Democrats
Let's get this straight: the labor movement doesn't exist to work for the Democratic Party.  Unions aren't some sort of subcontracted canvass of the DNC that marches when the party leadership hands down orders.  If a Democratic candidate wants an endorsement from a given union, he or she is expected to earn it.  Almost every endorsement labor ever gives is to Democrats, and in far too many cases, it's entirely unearned.  Yet still, Democratic partisans start drawing knives in the rare instance in which a union dares to endorse a Republican.

If a given elected official consistently does what he or she is asked to do by the union over the course of a term, it's not only outrageous but piss poor strategic thinking for the union to then refuse to endorse that incumbent.  To do so would be to send the message to other electeds that it's not worth making deals with the union, because they're not going to have your back come election time.

Once in a while such an elected is a Republican.  Pataki did everything SEIU 1199NY ever asked of him.  What would you do if you were 1199's political director?  Tell him to get bent because he's a Republican?  Good luck ever getting a meeting with another Republican elected.  For that matter, good luck ever getting a meeting with a Democratic elected -- you've just demonstrated that they don't need to make you happy to get your support.

As for the one party that gives a damn about worker's rights: it's not about the party, it's about the candidate.  And it happens to be our side that gave labor the CAFTA 15.

As for "denying the Democrat the GOTV resources they need": if you're talking about members' dues money and member volunteer canvass hours, that's not the candidate's to be denied in the first place, it's the candidate's to prove he/she deserves.  That sense of entitlement to members' time and cash is exactly why so many Dems routinely squander labor's support.

by Woodhouse 2005-12-21 02:31PM | 0 recs
It is about party
sadly. We don't live in the country we used to live in. There are 14 Republicans who dare to not follow marching orders. A smaller percentage in the house. Discipline is strong in the GOP. You know that.

And did you read Stoller's preface?

Crushing labor is key to right-wing goals, long-term.  And revitalizing it is the only way to restore the progressive movement.
He's right. It's not about winning elections for the sake of one party - but for the sake of the Republic. But winning elections is PARAMOUNT. That  used to be the specialty of this blog.

If groups can't see at this point in our slow-motion car crash descent into anarchic savagery that the health of the nation is in mortal danger with these Modern Republican crooks holding control of every branch of Government, while simultaneously failing to understand that Democrats need to win elections instead - for the sake of "Check and Balances" ie. for the sake of sanity, well, then, you're probably never going to see the need. You're going to think you're free right up to the point where you are illegal. Things are actually really that bad.

If we can win, and we can help fix the party, and the new blood can prove it can win; if we can prove that we in the netroots can produce votes, then the ship might yet be saved.

by dereau 2005-12-21 03:05PM | 0 recs
The TWU parent doesn't even support it
I don't understand how anyone can side with the union in this strike when their own parent union doesn't even side with them!

The strike is against the law, period. For that reason alone, I side with Bloomberg.

But more importantly, this is a strike by workers making over $50k a year in a city where the average income is in the 30's. And those who earn incomes in the 30's are the ones trudging across the Brooklyn Bridge in 20-degree temperatures. I guarantee you that 99% of the people walking 5+ miles to work would do almost anything to get a 10.5% pay raise over 3 years and extremely small contributions to health care and pensions (heck, most would just love to even have a pension).

I have no sympathy for people making high salaries who have cost their city millions and placed the welfare of their less-fortunate fellow New Yorkers in jeopardy.

by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
Did you even read the post?


Hey you know what? It was against the law for slaves to learn to read or be in groups of 3 or more. Would you side with 'ol Jeff Davis in that situation too? Gees it was against the law. Period. So I guess so.

But besides that, if you're really concerned about the law (Taylor's law that is), you should know that the MTA is also breaking the law by insisting on pension concessions as part of any final offer. Pensions can only be changed by the legislature, so they are breaking the law themselves. Now do you side with your Republican billionare mayor?

And the reason the parent union doesn't side with the local is that the head of the parent union would like to sabotage the local for his own political (within the union) gains.

Yes the workers make 50k a year. And how far does that go when you actually live in NYC (as opposed to suburban cops or firefighters)? Would you rather the workers also make 30k a year?

Or perhaps you could think that maybe an alternative would be that those making 30k a year should be able to make 50k a year.

The workers didn't put the city in jeopardy. The MTA did when they decided to sit on a billion dollar surplus.

by adamterando 2005-12-21 02:02PM | 0 recs
read this if you want to understand why the parent fights the local.
by dereau 2005-12-21 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
It was against the law for slaves to learn to read or be in groups of 3 or more.

That's beyond overstretching the example. I generally agree with the union on the point they're trying to make, but you can't compare this to slavery.

by LiberalFromPA 2005-12-21 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
I was about to make the same response, thank you. Comparing a $50k salary to a slave not being able to read is insulting and absurd.
by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
It's not a direct comparison. Didn't mean it that way. I was pointing out the absurdity of saying that because the strike is 'illegal', he/she is automatically siding with Bloomberg. That is absurd. Just because there is a law against something doesn't mean that it is always right.
by adamterando 2005-12-21 04:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
The fact that 50k doesn't go very far in NYC is completely irrelevant. By that argument, McDonald's cashiers should be getting 75k since they need to have a comfortable living in the city, right?

No, I would not rather see these workers make 30k. I would rather see them stop whining about getting $50k for an unskilled job. I feel much worse for a waiter who is working his way through college on tips going home with empty pockets tonight because there is no way for anyone to get to his restaurant.

However, to be honest, if this strike goes on much longer, I'd rather see this union thrown out and have the city hire $30k train drivers (the city would not have any problem finding them) than have waiters trying to pay for their education keep coming home with zero tips.

by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
No, I would not rather see these workers make 30k....
However, to be honest, if this strike goes on much longer, I'd rather see this union thrown out and have the city hire $30k train drivers

Your logic escapes me.
by Fran for Dean 2005-12-21 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
I was accused of advocating $30k salaries for train drivers. That's not what I'm advocating at all. I think they should be happy with their $50k and not strike. As long as they don't strike, I see no problem with the 10.5% raise over 3 years with minimal contributions to benefits. While they're on strike, they don't deserve anything.

As their parent union said, the MTA's offer was a major step forward and should have been cause for not striking. Period.

by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
You just said that if the strike continues they should hire train drivers for $30k.
by Fran for Dean 2005-12-21 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
You are taking it out of context. The statement I responded to said that I'd rather have them make $30k than $50k. It's simply not true, I'd rather them make $50k, as long as they don't strike.

However, I'd rather have $30k train workers who allow blood to get to hospitals rather than striking $50k train workers who don't care if hospital patients don't have enough blood so long as they make their point that a 6% contribution to a pension is too much.

There's nothing inconsistent about my position.

by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
How about a billionare Republican mayor that will not negotiate with the union not caring if hospital patients don't have blood? Why is it all the fault of the union? Do you realize that management is sitting on a billion dollar surplus?

So by your logic, the union shouldn't be able to make any demands right? Well why don't they just volunteer for their job? Those patients certainly need the blood. How dare those greedy union workers actually fight for a decent standard of living!

by adamterando 2005-12-21 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
Enough with this talk about a billion dollar surplus its ridiculous. The MTA is not some profit sharing corporation. Just because you work for a government agency that has a budget surplus does not entitle you to walk off the job because you somehow think you deserve your share of that. the MTA workers did not create that surplus, they have no right to it, it comes from paying customers and taxes.

And who cares if Bloomberg is a billionaire? Because he's rich means he has to give in to whatever asinine demands the TWU makes?

The bottom line is most people don't even get a pension and those that do very often contribute to it. Many people do not get health insurance, and those that do almost always have to contribute to it. Most people do not get to make $50K for an unskilled job, and those that do do not get to DEMAND their raises.

I live in NYC and make a measly $32K a year. When I get my performance review at the end of the year I don't get to go my boss and say "I demand this much in raise because the company made surplus money this year." I get the raise they give me and if I don't like it I can find a new job.

The problem here is the transit workers have such a sense of entitlement that they don't care whose lives the screw up. Its sickening.

In general I support the right of unions to strike, but its supposed to be a LAST RESORT, not something you do to make a point. I say it'd serve them right if they were all fired and replaced, and the union boss should be jailed for contempt of court. Just because you're in a union doesn't mean you get to ignore court orders. When Bush disrespects the courts he is excoriated, but when a union does it people make excuses. Its sad.

by theshornwonder 2005-12-21 05:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
Wow. You are a poster child for exactly what republicans want.

Do you think that if you had a union you would be making 32k a year? That's the whole point! You don't have that right. You are at the whim of your boss no matter how much work you put into the job.

You know what. The workers do have a sense of entitlement. Entitlement that says that they deserve to have a decent life for putting in hard work. The fact that that is somehow seen as something more than people deserves speaks volumes to how far Republicans have come over the last 30 years. And the comments in this thread make me very pessimistic about the future of our country and the Democratic Party. When people, and ESPECIALLY democrats, do not believe that people deserve to have a decent life if they work hard, then the George Bush vision of America has become a reality.

You are helping the Republicans.

by adamterando 2005-12-21 05:43PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
For you to say that one cannot have a decent life at $50k simply indicates that you are a new-money snob.

And the "you are helping the Republicans" line is tired, old, and a clear indication that you cannot defend your position.

by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
Actually you don't know the first fucking thing about me. For your information I make 15k a year. Boy I sure am living high on the hog aren't I?

And the fact that you can't refute my point except saying "your position is tired, old, blah blah" CLEARLY indicates you cannot defend your position. So I guess I win because I said so.

by adamterando 2005-12-21 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
I get the raise they give me and if I don't like it I can find a new job.

Well that's an attitude sure to bring a big smile to any boss' face.  I'll bet your performance reviews are glowing.

I'm certainly glad that wasn't how most workers felt before we had bans on child labor and a 40 hour work week, however.  And I sure hope that's not how my co-workers feel when they start coming after my employer-provided health insurance.

by Woodhouse 2005-12-21 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
So your response to a bad system is not- lets try to get better benefits for all- it's lets race to the bottom to see who has the worse situation possible? A lot of this is really starting to sound like envy to me rather than any attempt to understand the situation.
by bruh21 2005-12-21 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
Weatherunderground replied very well to the rest of this issue, but I just wanted to say this.  

If you're like most progressives, you don't shop at Wal-Mart, right?  You're willing to pay higher prices for products when you can because you think a decent wage and good working conditions for workers should be included in the price of the products you buy?

How is government any different?  Don't we, as progressives, want our goverment to include in the cost of the services provided a decent living for its employees?  Why would we want the government to continue the disgusting trend towards employer takebacks in benefits in the private sector if they don't need to?

The part of you're argument I find the most troubling is about the fares however.  From what New Yorkers have told me, government tax money very minimally subsidizes's almost all from fare money.  And claiming that comes from the riders and not the workers...well, you might as well claim that any product or service manufactured or sold had nothing to do with the workers involved.

When we pay for something, We're generally paying for the cost of raw materials (in this case mostly parts for repair), labor costs, and surplus, which is distributed to shareholders in a profit-making company, but kept in a a pile, probably invested, in a non-profit or government agency.  

The fact is though, none of the surplus would be possible without the workers.  As the strike shows.  All surplus is extracted from the labor of workers.  It's all the TWU members money ultimately.  

by telephasic 2005-12-22 04:39AM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
Then the waiters should organize.  And incidentally, guess why those waiters aren't union members already?  Because their unions were busted a long time ago, just like you're hoping the transit workers' union will be if the strike lasts any longer.

Instead of justifying the employer's position by pointing out that other, more passive workers are even more screwed than the ones who are fighting back (it has a certain logic to it, doesn't it?), how about we figure out how we can improve the lives and working conditions of all working people, by building union power in the city?  Seems more productive than calling for union busting and replacement workers on Day 2 of the strike.

Some of the posts on this thread are making it pretty difficult to believe that this is a Democratic blog.

by Woodhouse 2005-12-21 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
You are forgetting that the union signed a contract knowing it was illegal to strike. There's a difference between a legal strike and an illegal one, and this one is illegal.
by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 03:36PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
So was what the MTA was proposing. The benefits deal they wanted to  make was against the law- pension changes that they wanted to make so that it could go from 55 to 62 isn't even allowed under NY state labor law. Indeed, the MTA was negotiating to force the union workers to support the language in legislation. More over, they sprung this on the union without so much as a warning. On top of that, no other union - not the teachers, not cops, not santitation, has been required to make such a deal. I advocate that all on here who are interested to do a little research into what this is really about.
by bruh21 2005-12-21 04:25PM | 0 recs
Illegal strikes helped build the labor movement.
You know the UAW?  Taken some hits lately but managed to provide great benefits and a middle class lifestyle for millions of autoworkers over the past 70 years?  

They organized auto with illegal strikes.  Instead of just having pickets, they sat down in the factories and occupied them until the bosses would bargain with them.  And it worked, and they became a  strong union.  

Up until the 70s, most public-sector workers had no collective bargaining rights.  Once again, the unions and the benefits they have today were established by illegal strikes, such as the wildcat strike by postal workers.  

I'm in the labor movement, and I've studied labor law a fair amount, so I can say, succintly, fuck the law when it comes to this.  The law is the bosses law.  Labor got everything it got by selectively going around and breaking the law when the law was unfair and they wouldn't get the shit beat out of them by Company goons.  As soon as labor started being forced into legalistic government structures it began its decline.  

I mean, if you have a problem with this, do you have a problem with the civil disobedience the civil rights movement used?  They were violating the law too after all.  

by telephasic 2005-12-21 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
What contract was that, exactly?  The Taylor Law was not an agreement between labor and management, if that's what you're implying.  It was a set of rules imposed upon unions by Governor Rockefeller in an attempt to buy labor peace, and like most such laws, it did so by placing severe restrictions on the rights of workers, not employers.

The "legal"/"Illegal" dichotomy is a bogeyman, and progressives should use it at their own risk.  It's about as useful in assessing the legitimacy of labor actions as it is in discriminating against particular subgroups of immigrants, and it's every bit as provocative.  "Illegal" strikes are merely those that fail to fit into the narrow parameters of legitimacy of a fundamentally anti-worker, reactionary legal regime erected by employers.  Whenever progressives invoke it as a relevant standard in this case, we echo Republican talking points.

by Woodhouse 2005-12-21 05:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
Because their unions were busted a long time ago...

I think the fact that you have to bring this up really illustrates how much the labor movement has been pushed back over the past few decades.

Fifty years ago most jobs which were not white-collar were unionized. Remember the butcher's unions? No? As a 29 year old, neither do I, but I know they used to exist.

And the comment you reply to shows us how conservatives have been able to pit worker vs. worker without many of us even realizing it.

All that said, 55 is a pretty young age to retire. I hate to say it, but while I agree with basic point the union is trying to make, they shouldn't be striking.

by LiberalFromPA 2005-12-21 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU parent doesn't even support it
Well since the city is losing $400 million a day because of the strike I'd certainly say they're pretty vital to the city and region wouldn't you?
by adamterando 2005-12-21 04:24PM | 0 recs
No, really?
What makes you say that? A Republican?

The Company One Keeps
by dereau 2005-12-21 01:01PM | 0 recs
The Union isn't looking too good right now
  1. Striking although it's forbidden by law
  2. Holding out for pensions at age 55, which isn't going to win many points with anyone
  3. The strike disproportionately hurts poor people.  Rich people live in Manhattan, Jersey or LI, much easier to get in and out of the city from there.

The MTA are the biggest bunch of asses imaginable.  They are incompetent, sleazy, and have been absolutely arrogant in their dealings with the workers.  Their books change for whatever the situation is.  So it's not like there are any good guys here.

But right now, I think most of the city is not very supportive of the union.  Neither are the city's generally Dem judges, who have just been hammering the unions so far in hearings.  Whether you like the Taylor Law or not, you don't just ignore laws because they don't suit you.

Just because we're generally pro-labor doesn't mean we have to support every union in every dispute.  It is possible that a union can be in the wrong sometimes.

by alhill 2005-12-21 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The Union isn't looking too good right now
Whether you like the Taylor Law or not, you don't just ignore laws because they don't suit you.

I wish George Bush knew that.

by LiberalFromPA 2005-12-21 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: The Union isn't looking too good right now
As someone who just got off the LIRR and took 2 and half to get home, I would agree, but I would add that most of these people have no idea what the issues are even about here. As was mentioned above- this is classic playing one worker against another. It's like one of the movies where the drill sergeant gets the other recruits to punish the recruit by making the other recruits think its the fault of the recruit that the sergeant singles out. In this case,  we have something similar where if you have followed the specifics, it's clear that the MTA negotiated in really bad faith counting on the laws and public sentiment to manipulate the situation in its favor. For example, the whole desire to change the age of retirement from 55 to 62 maybe valid, but the way in which the MTA has done it has been nasty and underhanded. The union has asked that if they are going to be forced to change their age, why not other public unions who have been given some pretty fat deals. These fat deals were given so that Patiki and Bloomberg could get those unions endorsements. At least, following this piecemeal is what i have been seeing. So in essense they are manipulating us the riders of the subways, by placing us in the middle and then feeding us who we should blame. But, the quesiton is where is that 1 billion dollar surplus going? What about the surplus froom last year? What bout the money they asked for in the capital campaigns bond this year that I had to vote on? What about the fact that the MTA is expected to raise fares next spring again from now 2 bucks to more. This is all lost to the average person riding the train. ALl they know and all they hear from the media is that the unions are being greedy. WHich is itself a joke. 50 k considering the dangerious nature of the work that mta workers do and considering we live in nyc isn't alot. 50 k under the ny tax code, plus the fed tax plus local tax- will end up going to to 37,500 a year (if I calculated right) and that is the money that  they have to work with to support themselves. if benefits are cut or require a pay in then that effects a very small pool of money.

I asked today of a few people what sort of benefits they have- some guy complained that he has no such plan with his 401k. I asked him if he was in a union. The lightbulb went on. Rather than letting people play us one against each other -realize what's actually at stake- which has to do more with long term globalization.

by bruh21 2005-12-21 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The Union isn't looking too good right now
good call. Well done. Get those lightbulbs to go off.

Watch this movie we need more lightbulbs to go off.

We all have the brains and language skills to gently get a lightbulb to go off.

This weekend I'm going to have a long sitdown with my sleepwalking, zombie brother in-law. He's a Maryland voter. We need him back.  

by dereau 2005-12-21 06:47PM | 0 recs
Mixed Feelings
I have very mixed feelings about this strike because I tend to support unions but the people being killed by this strike are not rich businessmen but middle class people in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx who are much like the TWU workers.  There is a face to the $400 million per day and it is the clerk at Duane Reade, the midtown secretary, the customer service rep.  They are struggling for their middle class dream but either can't get to work or are being gouged $20+ by cabs to get to work.

The MTA is a horrible duplicitous agency which cooks its books on a regular basis.  However, they gave a lot back to the union during the negotations including 10.5 % pay increase, no cost for health care and a return to 55 retirement age.  I find the stumbling block of a different pension contribution strange on both sides.  Why did the MTA spring it at the last minute?  Why is the union so opposed to it?  Unions have traditionally given up things for new workers to get more for existing workers - lower starting salaries, less vacation time, all sorts of vesting and seniority rules.  I can see opposing differing retirement ages but I see a much smaller problem with a differing pension contribution.  Apparently the International agreed with me since they have opposed TWU Local 100s actions.  I can't remember the last time an International didn't support its local.

I sense both sides have been gunning for a strike although I think there was a lot of internal pressure on Toussaint to do this.  He became TWU president by promising the world and delivered an underwhelming contract 3 years ago which included a first year "bonus" that didn't go into workers base salary.  There is a lot of dissent in this union and I fear they may be heading down the path to ruin.  I suspect the International is going to step in shortly and remove Toussaint.

by John Mills 2005-12-21 01:25PM | 0 recs
It breaks the union!
Two-tier contracts are a horrible thing that bosses use to break the union.  Our union fights against them whenever we can.  

As soon as you have new hires doing worse than older people, they get resentful and feel the union isn't doing enough for them.  Older workers aren't willing to stand up for the new ones usually and get the tiers eliminated.  Given enough time and enough turnover, soon the older workers are in the minority, and the unit no longer gives a shit if they're dragged down to the same level.

Or maybe even the two-tier system makes the new hires anti-union, which works even better for bosses.  The fact is two-tier is a long-term death sentence for a union.  TWU is doing the best thing they can do fighting this so militantly.  

by telephasic 2005-12-21 04:39PM | 0 recs
go Matt go
Hammer it home brother.
by goplies 2005-12-21 01:26PM | 0 recs
f**ck the union
i'm a medical resident at nyu's bellevue hospital, the largest city hospital in the country.  i'm part of a union, but as a physician i understand that i need to make it to work despite making on average $9/hour.  "cause of the strike, had to wake up at 4:30 am to get to work and i just walked an hour to get back home.  
by rajk 2005-12-21 01:29PM | 0 recs
i believe in hard work....
...not retiring at the age of 55.  besides people's healthcare is compromised because of the strike.  i had a patient who went acute liver failure and we didn't find out until six hours later because the lab was backed up...he lived, but his liver is now dead.  f**ck the union !
by rajk 2005-12-21 01:31PM | 0 recs
has the lab ever been backed up before?
by dereau 2005-12-21 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: has the lab ever been backed up before?
not like this....i wasn't at bellevue during 9/11, but people say this compares...
by rajk 2005-12-21 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: has the lab ever been backed up before?
what if the lab got backed up once because a lab tech went for a weekend in Barbados? F**k Barbados?
by dereau 2005-12-21 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: i believe in hard work....
Maybe if you actually worked at physical labor instead of sitting on your fat ass in an office,you would realize that laborers bodies are worn out at 55, and that their health deteriorates rapidly from that point on.

Spend some of those big fees and hire a limo to drive you to your office.

by antiHyde 2005-12-21 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: i believe in hard work....
i don't sit on my ass....i spend more than 12 hrs a day on my feet working hard to get my patients the care they deserve in a city hospital that doesn't have resources.  If transport isn't fast enough, i transport the pts myself.  if a lab doesn't get drawn, it draw it (the nurses union has put into their contract that they don't do blood draws).  if blood needs to be picked up for a patient about to crash, i run and pick it up.  you should know a little bit about bellevue hospital before you open your mouth.  i work wioth the poor everyday, fighting for their rights and their health  
by rajk 2005-12-21 02:18PM | 0 recs
Re: i believe in hard work....
Given the STRONG correlation between income and health status, perhaps you could make a better contribution by supporting the one institution in this country that fights every day to improve the situation of ordinary Americans.  I like doctors, but you don't save nearly as many lives as solid living standards and good public health would--both things that unions have historically fought for.
by plunkitt 2005-12-21 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: i believe in hard work....
My apologies. Your use of the term "my patients" implied that you were a doctor.
by antiHyde 2005-12-22 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: i believe in hard work....
To say a health worker "sits on his fat ass" is hilariously deranged. I saw on NBC news yesterday a report about a woman who spent 45 minutes in traffic getting to a hospital for heart problems. She barely made it. What's worse, a 6% contribution to a pension or sick people not getting the needed health care?
by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: i believe in hard work....
Makes you wonder why the MTA is forcing the union to accept a 6% pension contribution. Why is that demand so much more important to them than that sick person getting to the hospital? Especially when the MTA has a billion dollar surplus?
by adamterando 2005-12-21 04:31PM | 0 recs
Re: i believe in hard work....
Look, everyone keeps banging on this billion dollars, but it is illusionary.  The MTA takes in a bit over $4b in revenue and spends nearly $6b just on labor, in 2005.  Totalling up all the expenses and revenues shows that the MTA is operating at a loss of over $1.2b, even after all the taxes and other support the MTA gets from the public.
by jwb 2005-12-21 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: i believe in hard work....
If not now, when?  Don't give them a raise when there's a surplus.  So...can they expect one when there's a deficit?
by plunkitt 2005-12-22 03:23AM | 0 recs
Re: i believe in hard work....
I live in NYC too. And please give me a break about the public hospitals  in NYC. Lots of experience with them. They suck so y'all don't need a union- you need better training.
by bruh21 2005-12-21 04:37PM | 0 recs
I've been hearing all day
as I walked 8 miles with luggage, that we wouldn't be so damn mad if it were July.

Instead, it's Christmas Shopping Week and and it's freezing. And what little money we have for gifts is going to cabbies who extort.

[A yellow cab arbitrarily chose to charge me $80 for what should have been $8. I repeat, I walked 8 miles.]

All of which serves to piss us off. It was when I stopped by the guys from the New York Times who were giving out free Hot Cocoa that the refrain was, "This wouldn't suck so much if it was July.

by dereau 2005-12-21 01:38PM | 0 recs
On the negotiations.
If the below is true, does anyone support the union's position?
The MTA said it put its final deal on the table Friday, offering: a 9 percent wage increase over 3 years; the union wants 8 percent per year.

Also, the MTA wants all new employees to pay a 1 percent premium towards their health plan. The union wants them to continue to pay nothing.

New hires would also not be eligible to receive their full pension until age 62, instead of the current age of 55. The union wants it lowered to 50.
Material taken from here.
50? They want to be able to retire at 50?  When the average bus worker already makes more than a new cop? And how is the union taking "a hit" when they are being offered a high percentage increase?
This is worth stranding millions of poor and middle class people and costing businesses their most profitable time of the year? I usually sympathize if not ally myself with the unions, but I've heard nothing to support their position.

by torrentprime 2005-12-21 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Details...
I have never ever heard that the union wanted the retirement age lowered to 50. They know that would never happen.

The union isn't being offered a high percentage increase. They are being offered something like 10.5% over three years. But if you count the new pension obligations that would be part of the deal (which is illegal actually) then the raise drops to -1.5% over three years.

 Not such a big raise. Last I checked, that was actually a pay cut.

by adamterando 2005-12-21 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Details...
He asked that all new transit workers contribute 6 percent of their wages toward their pensions, up from the 2 percent that current workers pay.
So it would be 4% more.  10.5 - 4 =.... let's see... -1.5?
by torrentprime 2005-12-21 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Details...
No, think about it a little more.

Salary Increase
Year 1: %3
Year 2: %4
Year 3: %3.5
Cumulative Pay increase: %10.5

Pension Contribution Increase
Year 1: %6 - %2 = %4
Year 2: %6 - %2 = %4
Year 3: %6 - %2 = %4

Cumulative Pension Contribution Increase = %12

%10.5 - %12.5 = -%1.5
Ta Da!

by adamterando 2005-12-21 04:34PM | 0 recs
Actually, you're both wrong
If my calculations are correct.  I did it out in excel.  It comes out to a 6.4% increase over two years.  

Start with 100 and multiply this by each of the wage increases.  They multiply that by .96

In the first year they'd have a net pay cut of 1.1%

In the second they'd be making 102.8% of their original salary

In the third, 106.4%

This is before health care contributions of course.  I don't know how much their health care costs so I can't figure that out here.  

However, a net raise of 6.4% over the course of the contract is atrocious.  Inflation is going to be at least 9% over the next three years, likely higher.  That wage package will mean the new hires will be making less in real dollars in three years than current workers make now.  

by telephasic 2005-12-21 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Actually, you're both wrong
Yeah, I figured my calculations would be a little off considering the absolute size of the wage increase. But still, the point is that this is not some HUGE pay raise that the union is passing up. And like you point out, in real dollars, you're actually talking about almost a %3 pay cut.
by adamterando 2005-12-21 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Actually, you're both wrong
Nice bait and switch.
by tipitfast23 2005-12-22 05:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Details...
A 1% contribution to health care is a joke. You can't get a better deal anywhere.

A 6% contribution to a pension is also a joke. Most every American contributes 50% or more to a 401k, if they even have that.

A 3% raise is standard. There's nothing wrong with it. A 4% raise is high. They should be thrilled with that for one year. And they are rejecting it like it's a pile of trash.

by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 02:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Details...
The fact is, they're concessions when concessions aren't needed.  The MTA is awash in money.  There's no reason why the workers should have health care and pension givebacks given this.  

By the way, inflation is rising.  Counting energy prices, inflation went up 4.2% in the first 10 months of this year alone, and there's signs of stagflation again.  

3% raises under these situations, compiled with health care contributions and pension contributions = being poorer after three years.  If the MTA was in financial trouble this would be excusable.  But it's not, and TWU should take all they can squeeze out of the bastards.  

by telephasic 2005-12-21 04:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Details...
NOBODY in America is contributing %50 OF THEIR SALARY to a 401k. That %6 figure is the percent of their salary that is going to the pension.
by adamterando 2005-12-21 04:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Details...
The numbers aren't the point, it's the principle of maintaining a single tier contract for all workers.  MTA is trying to get union members to sell out its future co-workers, by taking a contract that doesn't penalize those workers who would ratify it, but brings in new hires at a lower effective rate of pay for the same work.  It's a conventional tactic by employers, because it's a lot harder to organize workers to strike on behalf of people who exist only in theory than it is to organize them to defend their own direct material interests.  Union members are striking, at great personal risk, in defense of people they don't (and can't yet) know, and in defense of a principle.  Despite Bloomberg's talking points, this is a very unselfish strike.
by Woodhouse 2005-12-21 05:26PM | 0 recs
You might not understand how negotiations go...
Part of the bargaining process is both sides start with deals as outrageous as possible to see how much they can spook the other side.  Then they eventually meet in the middle.  I'm sure that at the upper level, TWU doesn't expect more than, at best, the same healthcare, same pension, and 4%-4.5% wage increases each year.  That's what every worker in this country deserves at minimum anyway, and I'm glad they're strong enough to have a shot at it.    
by telephasic 2005-12-21 04:34PM | 0 recs
(To correct myself)
You're not comparing the same things.
A percent increase will hit their takehome.  So if they make 50K this year, they make 52K next year. The 4% increase in contributions will come from whatever they are making, so the contribution will either by 6% of 50K, or 6% of 52K, but it never is a decrease in pay.
Sorry, not a pay cut.
by torrentprime 2005-12-21 02:48PM | 0 recs
Blood not getting to hospitals

Again, what's worse? A 6% contribution to a pension, or blood not getting to sick patients?

by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
Again, ask the MTA that.

So, do you prefer Frist or McCain for president in 2008?

by adamterando 2005-12-21 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
Do you have any response besides "you are a republican"? You're just like Tom Delay the way you deal with people who disagree with you.

Just as an FYI, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, Al Gore and most of the standard-bearers of the Democratic Party over the last decade are pro-business. So maybe it's you that's not the Democrat. Ever think of that?

by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
such fake fucking issues. Look. Next you will be trotting out the poor ophans with extended stomachs as how the unions are being unfair. I have to go 2.5 hours each way to get to and from work now that the unions are on strike. And I totally get why becuase I have paid attention to more than just my narrow view of the world. Some of which I have recounted above to others and don't feel like repeating here to you.

what's clear to me, and why i am leaving politics behind is that americans really, really have no clue why their system is the way it is. i listen to people at work bitch about their health insurance benefits, their lack of real support in terms of housing because even the middle class in nyc is being priced out of the market, and a lot of other things- and y'all never connect how all these issues are interrlated. How for example the resources of the hospitals are related to what priorities our society chooses to take. is it the priority of individual interests whereby it's only my pain I care about or in your case- my single segement of society or do we start to figure out that these things are all linked. You can be sure that this is a test case that other employers will be looking at. If even this strong hold can be broken - then why not reduce benefits even more- including health insurance, so that when you see your patients- they are coming to you even later in their illness because all they can really afford is emergency health services. Which is nyc is becoming the case where even the minimal coverage is 300 a month if you dont have anyone paying into your plan (I learned this from my friends who are independent contractors).

by bruh21 2005-12-21 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals

My gosh I was beginning to wonder if there were any Democrats on this thread.

I have to ask myself what are these people bashing unions working towards? What is their overall vision? Being a Democrat and a progressive is supposed to mean standing for something besides a la carte issues like environmental protection or women's choice. Isn't that what the criticism of the democratic party has been recently? That's it's a laundry list of issues with no real driving worldview or purpose?

Well here is the purpose. Fighting the corporate takeover of our world and working for an egalitarian society that prioritizes people over profits.

A better life for all.

by adamterando 2005-12-21 05:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
You sound like the typical isolationist, anti-globalization, pro-gun, anti-abortion "Democrat" that wants to wage war with businesses. That segment of the party lost long ago. If not for Clinton we'd still be in that rut.
by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
Oh yes, I forgot. We Democrats have sooooo much power now.

And once again, you don't know shit about me. I'm so sick of your DLC shit. Go vote for Bloomberg and Lieberman and take your "soak the poor" shit elsewhere please. Some of use actually want to create a better world for all people, not just those at the top and then hope that it trickles down.

by adamterando 2005-12-21 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
You're very mature. Nice work on the DLC label.

What I love about anti-globalization morons like yourself is that the alternate solution, no globalization, means further isolation of the third world until it disappears into oblivion.

Your're just like every other loudmouth, you only care about ideas and don't give a crap about actual people.

by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
For the record, I am for free trade, but I am for it with common sense. Purists on both side annoy me. Your lack of the big picture is equally offensive to me as someone who says they can't see any benefit of globalization. Globalization comes with both benefits and risks. If you are going to ignore the risks, then it's about a religion for you rather than finding a sound economic policy that will benefits all sides. For example, as I mentioned else where here- this is really about the race to the bottom. What I mean by that is that we are seeing the result of competive advantage run amok where we negotiated bad trade agreements that didn't ask whether the agreements are the best for Americans, and not just American companies going abroad. A true free trade agreements requires equality of laws which we don't have in the areas of labor, IP, environment etc, to name a few. In other countries the standards are far more lax in many of those areas. Benefits don't exist. So American firms competing under globalization must face competition that doesn't give benefits. Their response has been to reduce their benefits. This MTA strike is just one more example of how it works. There are other factors too- ie, the raising cost of healthcare that some of you miss along this thread. All employers are asking for greater and greater contributions because of rising cost, AND because they are competing against other employres who have no such cost. The things I am mentioning are the risks are free trade if it is not done right. Which we haven't done right- because folks hear it and think its a panacea. Like anything, it's flawed so you have to correct for those flaws. When I hear people on the subway  bitch "well, my benefits suck too" I think to myself, unlike you, "yeah they do, what does that tell you about the system?" Not, oh well we all got to suffer.
by bruh21 2005-12-21 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
Once again,
I get really tired of people (like upthread) acting like they know what I think. Especially when I haven't said anything about globalization. So so far I'm a new-money snobby moron that is anti-abortion and believes in shutting down our borders. Riiiiight. That's exactly what I've been saying.
by adamterando 2005-12-22 04:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
look if you put out a position- don't try to act like people don't understand your position. you made some specific points, and now are claiming that we don't understand your point. maybe the problem is that you don't bring any balance to what you are saying other than to lash out.
by bruh21 2005-12-22 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
Well, personally I'm pretty tired of people who claim that a person must support labor to be a progressive.  I'm sorry to inform you, but a 4% pay raise for train drivers in New York is just not a progressive issue.  

I'm having a little trouble with your "corporate takeover" line.  The money the TWU demands would come directly from the tax payers of NY.

Prioritizes people over politics...  you're right.  The TWU should get back to work.

by jwb 2005-12-21 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
Again, another strawman. This money is going to come from us no matter what. The MTA will raising the fares next year no matter what. Or don't you know that in making your argument. Also, as I understand it the MTA isn't going to get money from the taxpayers - it comes from the fares. They had a billion dollar surplus this year. A hundred million dollar one last year. They recently had, although I can't confirm if it passed, a bond that would allow them to pay for capital expenses on the expansion on the east side. Where in the hell is all this money going to if it is not in labor? What exactly other costs are they covering? this is an organization that a couple of years ago had 2 sets of books. They claimed that the billion dollar surplus I just mention was gone. This is an organization that also has consistently raised fares since I have been here from 1.50 to 2.00 in less than 4 years. They have consistently told labor they didn't have money, and in fact when it came to negotiations from what I have read of the 90s consistenly got labor to sacrifice and work without a solid contract. This contract for example they are negotiating now - the process was begun at hte last minute. They sprung into the process a term regarding raising the age of retirement to 62 which is a) illegal as has been reported by various sources including NY1 and other experts in the area b) isn't required of other unions that have indeed when Bloomberg and Patiki needed them- got really good labor deals and c) because of the lateness in the process was not discussed at any length. The union has asked that the issue be studied and that all public unions, not just MTA employees be asked to share this sort of burden. Instead of doing this- because they know its easier to pit one against the other- Patiki and co and Bloomberg have called the MTA union leadership thugs. Which is doubly offensive because not only is this a union, but its majority people of color. The LIRR  which has its own separate union negotiated a great deal for its employees. And yes, by the way- one of the few signs of being progressive is that you support workers. I happen to be a lawyer in corporate America. That doesn't mean however that I have forgotten my roots, or that I have lost sight of the big picture here. I can tell when a situation is being manipulated, and the public is seemingly parroting talking points with understanding the history behind it or caring. This attitude leaves all Ny'ers stuck when its our turn. Next like I said what happens when its housing or healtcare? If its not us, should we not care?
by bruh21 2005-12-21 06:49PM | 0 recs
Transportation Bond Act
here is the info on the recently passed Transportation Bond Act.
by jonahinnyc 2005-12-22 04:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Blood not getting to hospitals
Well, personally I'm pretty tired of people who claim that a person must support labor to be a progressive.

Sorry, but yes, a person must support labor to be a progressive.

by Maximus 2005-12-22 08:21AM | 0 recs
The Taylor Law is a good law
Certain groups should not be allowed to strike because it puts the citizens in danger. This includes, police, firemen, air traffic controllers, and transit workers. Millions of New Yorkers had to walk home in the cold, some are old and could die from the cold. I don't blame Spitzer or Bloomberg for the actions they took, it was necessary.
by SensibleDemocrat 2005-12-21 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The Taylor Law is a good law
Excellent post. I lived in London when the firefighters went on strike in 2002. The first weekend of the strike, deaths from fires were I believe double the typical weekend. Talk about a disgrace.
by tipitfast23 2005-12-21 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The Taylor Law is a good law
the problem with the law is that its allows for too much manipulation by the employer. I don't disagree with the concept of a law liek this- i disagree where it allows an organization as corrupted as the MTA has shown to have been in the last few years to not negotiate in good faith. If the laws were changed to require say a 3 way bargain between the MTA, the union and subway riders- and included terms like 3 party mediation etc then I could see your point. But as structured- it allows for the employee to get screwed when ever the employers decides to do so.
by bruh21 2005-12-21 07:13PM | 0 recs
The TWU, Selfish.
Come on people, Some of you may not work or live here, but NYC depends on the mass transit system like no other city in the nation. The transit system is the lifeblood of the city.  Jesus, they couldn't negotiate a little longer? Honestly it comes across as plain selfish to use 7 million commuters as a bargaining chip for a 4% spread difference for pension contributions. I was at Wendy's overhearing one of the employees (late 40's) who had to pay 20 bucks(one way) for a cab to get to work, that's about three working hrs flushed down the toilet.  This strike hurts the poor most of all and has totally demolished any type of goodwill towards unions that New Yorkers have.  There was an across the board negative sentiment and downright hostility at work today (almost everyone I work with is a Democrat or liberal independent) toward the strike. The TWU lost many who were sympathetic to their plight with this strike.  
by NJDEM1 2005-12-21 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU, Selfish.
I don't think anybody's arguing that the strike is not a bad thing for the city, but why is it that even here, on a Democratic blog, everyone is assuming it's the union that brought it to this impasse?  

It takes two to create a labor dispute, and it seems pretty clear at this point that the MTA engaged in some last minute, bad faith bargaining that provoked a strike.  The fact is that the strike was entirely under the control of the employer: they knew what it took to settle contract negotiations, and they chose instead to blow up the table.  What's happening in New York now is a result of that.

by Woodhouse 2005-12-21 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU, Selfish.
I live in Brooklyn and work in corp America as an attorney in Manhattan. To get to work today, I had to take a 2.5 hours to get to work, and 2.5 hours to get home. I had to pay 36 bucks to cover my cost, which my first refused to reimburse because they took a look around at other firms, and saw that none of them were reimbursing either. My point here is yes- I am one of those commuters. BUT, I see the big picture. The big picture is that even amongst lawyers in law firms- the benefits are being cut. That we are being asked progressively to pay more and more of what the employer used to cover. I see that each time that some one gives into this trend- we all get bit in the ass. I see that the employers know they can get away with it because people are too short sighted to see what is in their own best interests. I listen to the so-called Republicans bitch at work that they are having to pay more for their benefits, and then turn around to complain why shouldn't the MTA worker. My thought process is- how the hell are you are good negotiator or lawyer?

Here's why- these things- what is the going rate or accept action in a market place is based on what everyone else is doing. Each time someone allows their benefits to be cut, or to give in to or accept the employers position as their own, they are effectively making it easier for the next employer to do the same. It's what management and HR does when they are trying to figure out benefits packages- even for non union workers. The argument is that you can go anywhere- but if all the choices are the same because the benefits have been reduced everywhere and will continue to be reduced- then what does that mean for you? And to be clear, the benefits will continue to be reduced because of a simple economic concept called competive advantage. We can't with benefits compete with labor abroad- even in the higher technical fields. So far our trade agreements don't require that our trading partners have similar labor and environment standards. So they can provide labor far cheaper.

I have heard the argument made- well my benefits suck so why shouldn't theirs? For getting the selfishness of that sort of thinking, that analysis is about a race to the bottom. If our standards are who has the suckiest benefits, then clearly someone in china working in a sweat shop as the worse benefits. For the employer, in terms of comparative advantage, it's better for them to race toward the benefits provide in China, but-for the fact Americans will not allow it. However, if the attitude is to say- my benefits suck, and you know but I can understand why, then the result is that the employer will most likely continue to cut your benefits. That's been the cycle for a long time now. Sadly, most people don't get it. They don't even understand how their economic interests are being played out in the larger picture or figuring out why they are paying more for healthcare and the like

Even lawyers are being slowly outsourced in some areas such as Patent law. I am now affected by this because I am not a patent lawyer, but my knowledge of economics is sufficient to tell me that all of these things are related when the goal is to progressively system wide decrease benefits. The result is that the whole system suffers. I have no illusions that this strike will change that trend. But, it makes me get up in the morning and commute 2.5 hours both ways with a someone easier time of it, because I get what this is about.

by bruh21 2005-12-21 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU, Selfish.
sorry for all the typos- i hope you get my points
by bruh21 2005-12-21 07:07PM | 0 recs
Great comment
I posted the same argument, though shorter and with some profanity involved, over at DailyKos.  I can't believe how the pricipal of solidarity is lost now, even on the "left"
by telephasic 2005-12-22 03:09AM | 0 recs
Re: The TWU, Selfish.
Well said. Thank you
by dereau 2005-12-22 10:15AM | 0 recs
From everything I've read, this strike is about new employees having to pay 6%, rather than 2%, of their wages into their pension plan for the first 10 years of employment. Is that correct? Or am I missing something that is not being reported in the media? Just trying to get a sense about what this is all about...
by LiberalFromPA 2005-12-21 06:39PM | 0 recs
Re: 4%
4% spread. 6-4=2.
by NJDEM1 2005-12-21 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: 4%
It's about more. It's really a test case. It's also fundamentally about bad blood because the MTA has negotiated and acted in bad faith in the past. They cooked the books two years ago so that they had 2 sets of books which was a big scandal. It's about a lot of things really. It's also about the fact that the particular change they are trying to push down the workers throat is actually illegal- the law doesn't allow for them to negotiate this point according to the various experts I saw on NY1 and other stations today, and it was mentioned in the press conference. It's really the biggest sticking point, because then my guess is it would open a pandoras box of additional chipping away which is the real fear along with creating a two tier, or eatting your young, approach to the union.
by bruh21 2005-12-21 07:16PM | 0 recs
You nailed this one, Matt. If you're middle/working/lower class and you're being hurt by this strike, your beef is with the MTA, not TWU.
by blueflorida 2005-12-21 07:54PM | 0 recs


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