NYC Subway Strike

December 23, 2005 02:00 by keithkaragan
While my views on unions are no secret, and you may disagree with my pro-union slant, consider the following in light of the short TWU strike against the NY MTA:
  • The media blitz of by the NYC governement and NY State government was overwhelming. Every mainstream media outlet basically villified the TWU even before the strike occured. The only outlets from which a 'pro' stance was present in the media (that I heard or saw) were callers into WNYC and on WBAI (big surprise). Considering that I'm hardly the only one that supports labor, and their right to stike, in the greater NY tri-state area its pretty clear that there was no interest in a balanced discussion of the issue.
  • Although the strike has ended, the issues still remain. I hope that Mr. Toussaint's gusto hasn't wained in the character assasination and threats he faced. This episode will either be a small victory for labor or yet another labor union crushed by the union of big business and government in the US.
  • The roll of the worker (every type of collar) has significantly changed in today's employment market. Every worker can stand up and speak for themselves, and those who are in most demand may fare well in this climate - but who will stand for those who's effort has been commoditized in the workforce when all the unions are crushed? Do we want to re-live the formation of labor unions in the US all over again in 25 years time? What condition will the poor and working class be in by that time? Good paying jobs with benefits and security are needed to keep us afloat. If health care and pensions/retirement plans are the biggest issues business faces in this market, then why aren't they lobbying for reform that will solve the problem instead of bankrupting the workforce?
  • It takes two to tango, or so they say. So why wasn't the MTA held accountable for being flexible in the negotiations with the TWU. If both parties were held to the same level of economic incentives to come to an agreement, wouldn't this issue have been resolved and a contract put in place without the need for a strike, or within hours of it? What is those fines kicked in at the time the contract expired? Would a stike have happened at all?
  • Labor unions in the US have a MAJOR public relations problem. Through scandals and negative press many folks see them as corrupt and sometimes criminal. Majoor reforms in union leadership have happened, and the unions need to get the message of what they do and why they matter out to the public, not only to the congress via their lobbyists.
  • The NYC government may have made matters worse by enacting some of the plans they had put in play to combat chaos in transportation in the city. If nothing else, these measures surely made terriffic headlines with the previously mentioned media outlets, but were they necessary in the manner implemented or were they extreme?

I'd love to know how many of the people that are the most critical of unions and the TWU in particular are the offspring, brother, sister, mother, or father of a union member. How many went to college on the earnings of somone whose wages were of a livable wage because of a union. There is more to consider than just inconvienience during the strike.
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