The NYC Strike and Why Lefties Should Support It
Dear god, what a barrage of anti-labor commentary I have had to deflect since I seem to be the only person in the Universe (besides Scott Schields) seemingly supporting the TWU and its use of Strike force to achieve their goals.
My opinions on this have been pretty much summed up in my comments on this post, but I think more airing out is necessary.
First off, I am truly amazed that I have had to defend the TWU's actions when discussing them with known liberals. What happened to the glorious days when all liberals would get behind anyone who thought collectively they had been pooped upon by the upper echelon's of society or "the man." Particularly when so much evidence demonstrated that said pooping upon was a reality?
This is most definitely the case in the TWU strike. As a matter of fact, as far as striking goes, this can be the end all be all of the entire labor movement as we know it.
Why? Labor is dying, they have been loosing out because the rest of our society has become complacent about our wages and benefits. We figure whatever "the man" gives us, we should be happy with it. Whereas the funciton of unions is to get more than what "the man" wants to give us because we think we deserve more.
There is more and more information leaking out about the negotiations everyday, and everyday I feel the TWU's case for striking is stronger.
Today we learned that the MTA wanted the TWU workers to increase their pension contributions from 2% to 6%. This allowed for a total savings of $20 million. Did you get that?
No biggie right? Except when they only agree to give you a pay raise of 3.5%:
With the transit workers' union demanding raises above inflation, Mr. Kalikow raised his wage offer so that raises would average 3.5 percent a year for three years, up from 3 percent in his previous offer. Responding to the union's demand that he not raise the retirement age, Mr. Kalikow also dropped his proposal that future transit workers not qualify for a full pension until age 62, up from 55 for current workers.
So whatever raise they made would go to their pension. So in essence, they would loose money out of their pockets and into a pension. This is in essence a pay cut. To help fund a pension fund. A pension by the way that had to be funded with the MTA's $1 billion dollar surplus. Why? Because they hadn't been funding it in the past!!!!
This is no different than in the private sector, where every year, laborers get squeezed for higher health care premiums, or nibbles of other sorts that basically eat away at what we get for a raise. Which typically is not keeping up with inflation. Not to mention, the private sector seems to be gearing up for another major Government bailout of its pensions. Should we be upset about that?
This is the Boiled Frog Metaphor:
...If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water,
it will leap out right away to escape the danger.
But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant,
and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling,
the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.
This has been happening to America since the Reagan years (perhaps before then).
While we are trying to keep from falling off the proverbial hamster wheel, the upper echelon is pilfering pensions, stealing from the backs of the people whose blood, sweat, and tears their pocket filling profits are made from. Little bits at time.
The injustice has to stop.
First off, the disinformation with the TWU strike is incredible. It is a prime example of why New York should not vote for Republicans even if they are of the RINO type. Bloomberg and Pataki were totally absent from negotiations as was the President of the MTA. Yet, they are all the first to throw insults to the union. They are the ones claiming the Union did not take the negotiations seriously. Don't you think the president of the MTA at the very least should have showed up a little more than an hour before the contract deadline arrived?
Don't you think that Gov. Pataki given the fact that the MTA is his responsibility should have been part and parcel to some discussions?
Don't you think that Bloomberg who just recently was behind the "strap-hangers" in opposing a fare increase should be on the side of the Union, given the fact that the fare hike was obviously unnecessary ($1 bil. surplus)?
Not to mention that any shortfall in the MTA's budget not allowing them to have better finances is directly a result of both Pataki and Bloomberg's starving of the MTA beast?
This is when RINO's become republicans, when they can use whatever political clout, bully pulpits, and legislative force to supress support, and foment disdain for those who keep the city functioning?
Citing over inflated numbers about how much is being lost economically, simultaneously ignoring how much has been gained economically from the TWU? Saying its crappy that this is happening around the Holidays when the MTA signed a contract that would expire at this time?
Finally the idea that the strike is illegal. The Taylor law is argueably unconstitutional on 1st ammendment grounds. Why is it that if you are a public employee, you give up your right to "peaceably assemble" and "petition the government for redress of grievances?" The Taylor law has never been challenged beyond NY State Supreme Court. The time is perhaps ripe for such a challenge, for this law needs striking down. It is seemingly unconstitutional as applied in this context.
The TWU is united for a very good cause, and it is taking a courageous stand against the state who has profited off of them, a Republican Assembly, Governor, and Mayor, and odds of comming out of this without going bankrupt. The system has been gamed against them, and if you read what has happened from the beginning of the negotiations, you see a pattern of disrespect and dismissal on the part of the powerful. The powerless know their only option to stay alive as a union and as a force for future contracts is to strike for benefits that justify union membership (ie. better pensions, health care, and working conditions than the other people get).
The left would be wise to embrace the good people of the TWU. They are the blue collar workers who make the engine of New York turn regularly. They deserve better than what the corrupt MTA says they can afford.
In conclusion, the TWU has afforded blue collar people the ability to become middle class citizens, if that isn't the goal of liberalism/progressivism, then what is?