Wednesday, September 06, 2006

BBB Archive Dec. 16 2005: Is the Strike Warranted?

The Political Blog: Is the Strike Warranted?
Personally, I find it galling that the union is insisting on pay increases and healthcare that guarantees no premium payments when normal people like you and I haven't had a pay increase in years, and our health premiums and copays have been inching upwards in what seems like every five minutes. I have also heard from transit workers' own mouths about how they take "play" days, days when they should be working, but are loafing instead, out of sight of their supervisors. Of course that does not include everyone, but how come such laxity goes undetected and uncorrected? If five guys I know are doing that regularly, it could be that a good 5 percent of all MTA workers are slacking off 5 percent of the time, which could equal millions of dollars. That doesn't make me feel better about the workers nor about management.
TWU's heel-digging on pension and retirement demands for future workers is disingenious; I find it hard to believe they really care about workers who haven't been hired yet, and that their stance isn't just a negotiating tactic. But even if they do care, it just isn't realistic given the fact that after baby boomers retire, there are going to be fewer people in the workplace, thereby almost ensuring the need for people to retire later in their careers anyway. And with the average life span of Americans increasing every year, it makes sense to begin retirement at a later age.
On the other hand, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's threats to sue the union seems more an act of desperation than of considered thought. I agree with Jesse Jackson when he spoke on NY-1 News this last weekend that it would be more productive for the mayor to join the bargaining table, and show some interest in resolving the issues before issuing legal threats. Also, the MTA has shown itself to be less than an excellent manager of its finances and capital projects, and either the Governor or the Mayor should take a heavier hand in forcing them to get a better handle on how they run their business.
Enough of political opinion, since most of you won't agree with me, let's get back to cycling.

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