• comment on a post Hersh, Fisk, Other Journalists Discuss Iraq over 8 years ago

    Quite right. Fixed. Comes of posting too late at night. Now, in fairness, you owe a more substantive comment <del>Brice Brews</del> Bruce.

  • on a comment on On The NYC Transit Strike over 8 years ago
    Hi. Sorry I didn't respond to the point about the publisher of the book. To respond: I don't think the political ideology of the book's publisher makes any difference with respect to the point I made. One lesson to draw from the history of the system, I think, is that private businesses built the subways and it would be useful to reexamine what role, if any, they might play in improving the system, which is not working at all right now.

    Starting salaries. The AP reports: "MTA workers typically earn from $35,000 as a starting salary ...."

    Look: we agree on two points: (1) this is not a normal labor relations issue, and (2) arbitration might have been a wise course for both sides, given the incredible suffering this dispute has caused (and look, I bet the last point, that this strike has caused a lot of suffering) is also something we agree about.

  • on a comment on On The NYC Transit Strike over 8 years ago
    Even the Transport Workers Union of America doesn't support this union. Are you saying that they too are not supporters of unions in general.

    The fact is that this illegal and, yes, selfish action by a rogue Local has alienated many people who support unions in general, not just me.

  • on a comment on On The NYC Transit Strike over 8 years ago
    Hi Geotpf. The figure you cite WAS the starting salary for cops (and it is indeed on the NYC website) but the true figure is $25,100. I refer you to this Daily News article:

    The previous starting pay for NYPD rookies was about $36,000 plus an annual uniform allowance, holiday pay and health insurance.

    Under the new pact, recruits will earn $25,100 a year while they are in the Police Academy - more than $7,000 less than rookies in Suffolk County and the MTA, Port Authority and state police departments.

  • on a comment on On The NYC Transit Strike over 8 years ago
    Hi Scott. Thanks for your comments.

    > You don't think they might have a vested interest in making people think that private, non-union labor is more efficient than public, union labor, do you? Nah...

    That the subways were built by private companies is a historical fact. There are plenty of sources for this information.

    > Starting salaries.

    Starting salaries for transit workers still are high relative to police, firefighters, and sanitation, don't you agree?

    > Arbitration

    If they are interested in a settlement, they should accept arbitration. This is not a normal labor relations issue: the transit workers have extraordinary power over their fellow citizens. They have to be responsible in the way they exercise it. Their current course of action is totally irresponsible.

  • on a comment on On The NYC Transit Strike over 8 years ago
    Hi Gary. Thanks for your comments. Here is the backup:

    > Which specific unions do you support and how Bob?

    There was a strike recently at a neighborhood grocery store. I didn't cross the picket line and instead went elsewhere to shop.

    > Is $54K big bucks in New York?

    Glad to hear you are doing so well. 54K is a lot more than the average salary in New York, especially when you take out financial workers who get paid very well, and far, far more than many people who live in the city make.

    > Are they trying to tell me that cops, fire firghters and trash collectors start at $26,000 a year?

    Sadly, yes.

    > What "special privileges" are transit workers asking for Bob? Name two.

    1. They want us to support them even though they are breaking the law.

    2. They want to put their personal interests ahead of millions of members of their community.
  • on a comment on On The NYC Transit Strike over 8 years ago
    I'm saying that relatively speaking, the transit workers are not badly paid compared to other city employees.
  • comment on a post On The NYC Transit Strike over 8 years ago
    Cross post from Blue Mass Group

    The transit strike against the people of New York City is illegal, immoral and outrageous. The MTA should start hiring new workers immediately. The state and city should consider privatizing the transit system and allowing multiple providers access to the rails and bus lines.

    The City of Boston and the Commonwealth should learn from New York and examine mass transit privatization here as well. Private firms built the New York and Boston mass transit systems. It is time to see how they might improve it.

    I am a supporter of unions in general. They bring balance to an economy that is all too often stacked in favor of employers. But they can be just as counter-productive as any other self-interested group. That is what is happening in New York.

    The strike is illegal, because under the New York Public Employees Fair Employment Act public employees are not allowed to strike. The union is breaking the law just as surely as, for example, an employer who does not follow labor law. They deserve equal opprobrium.

    The strike is immoral, because a small group of well-off people, in the process of breaking the law, is hurting the poorest, weakest, and most vulnerable residents of New York. The average salary for bus operators is more than $56,000 annually; and more than $54,000 for train operators, CNN reports. The union has requested a 27 percent increase over three years.

    The starting salaries for transit workers, for reference, are more than double those paid to police officers, fire fighters, and trash collectors, according to the New York Sun.

    The median salary for an entry-level clerk in New York City -- precisely the type of person most dependent on public transportaion -- is $33,699 according to salary.com. Many other straphangers make far less.

    Finally, the strike is outrageous because the union has rejected arbitration -- a strong indicator of bad faith on its part. Transport Workers Union of America, the New York union's AFL-CIO-affiliated parent, does not even support the strike. "Michael T. O'Brien, the president of the Transport Workers Union of America, Local 100's parent union, warned the board that he could not support a strike because he believed the authority's most recent offer represented real progress," the New York Times reported.

    The President of Local 100 claims to be fighting for all New Yorkers. In fact, he is fighting for special priviliges for a few at the expense of millions of the less well off. Sound familiar?


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