As I predicted on the radio yesterday there is no unified Mass Transit subway and bus strike today and there never will be no matter how loudly the Transit Workers Union screams.
The Union lost the battle during the early morning hours of today and a “rolling strike” is like having no strike at all. 


The MTA feigned a punch and the Transit Workers Union blinked. All day
yesterday we witnessed “Strike Threat Update” bugs positioned in the
corner of each local television station. Radio announcers breathlessly
relayed contingency plans and reported how there was no progress in the
contract talks.

Crises sell papers and cause television sets to be
turned on and watched. Strike threats are great for selling
advertising. Anyone who has ever negotiated a contract knows the
serious business only gets done in the last five minutes before talks
are scheduled to explode. It isn’t human nature to hurry something
unless there’s an emergency afoot.

You and I both know the
“negotiators” on both sides who have been meeting all week behind
“closed doors” have been playing Xbox360 games and watching War of the Worlds
together while the drama and the pre-planned promotion of innate
self-interests gave life to itself over and over again in the Press.
With lame duck incumbents like Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki, the
Transit Workers Union have no juice to threaten them in future
elections to get their help right now.

So, of course, the workers must
ultimately cave, the MTA will once again win big, and the rest of us
will witness yet another sad example of a once-strong union forced to
eat its own young. Unions haven’t been the same since Reagan busted PATCO
and being a union member today is unfortunately more a brand of the
martyr than the sign of a protected group of workers living in
solidarity.

54 Comments

  1. Hi Carla!
    I sometimes do interviews with radio stations across the country on a variety of issues. One of the stations I used to work for back in Midwest called me yesterday to get some local color and feedback on the Metro Transit Strike and I made my on-the-air-record prediction there.
    😀

  2. The unions have weakened significantly.
    When I was a member of a union in the late ’80s – early ’90s, we received a raise of 5 cents per hour. Our union dues increased $2 per week. It didn’t make anyone really happy. This was when the minimum wage was somewhere around $3-something per hour. I was averaging $75 – $90 per week take home and was being subsidized by my parents while in college.
    It seemed to the people on the front lines that the contract was a sweetheart deal designed to make the company and the union happy. It didn’t do anything for the workers who really wanted a nice pay increase because the net didn’t increase for full time workers and actually decreased for part-timers because of the higher dues. It wasn’t a lot of money, but we weren’t making much money to begin with. Every quarter made a difference during those days.
    Workers were also pitted against each other because of different contracts. The spirit of solidarity was weakened. People with seniority had great contracts. Newer employees received less. Everyone knew what everyone else was making because we had a booklet that described the various contracts.
    It always made people jealous that some would get a lot of money for the same amount of work when others were making a few cents above minimum wage. Within job classes, everyone did the same work, so it wasn’t a matter of expertise that demanded more money.
    I don’t know if it was a sign that the union was weakening at that time or if economics demanded the differences. The margins for grocery stores were also explained to us as being very slim and that there were always larger and stronger competitors ready to put our store out of business.
    The union and the company always seemed to have a sembiotic relationship and it was born out in the deal where our raise was eaten up by the increase in union dues.

  3. Carla! — Gosh, you’re being so sweet to me today. What’s wrong with you?
    :mrgreen:
    Chris! — The union movement is pretty much dead, I fear, except for State and Federal unions which are created to sustain the status quo and make governments appear worker-friendly. I have always wondered about the idea of pensions and people who get to retire at 55 to never work again. Huh? I plan to work until I drop dead — even if it’s just teaching one writing class to a single student. I think we need to re-value the idea of work and direct profit-sharing in American beyond the us-them complex and I confess it’s interesting how Goldman Sachs splits up their bonus pie among the minions:
    http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/bizfinance/biz/features/15197/

  4. Carla! — Gosh, you’re being so sweet to me today. What’s wrong with you?
    :mrgreen:
    Chris! — The union movement is pretty much dead, I fear, except for State and Federal unions which are created to sustain the status quo and make governments appear worker-friendly. I have always wondered about the idea of pensions and people who get to retire at 55 to never work again. Huh? I plan to work until I drop dead — even if it’s just teaching one writing class to a single student. I think we need to re-value the idea of work and direct profit-sharing in American beyond the us-them complex and I confess it’s interesting how Goldman Sachs splits up their bonus pie among the minions:
    http://newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/bizfinance/biz/features/15197/

  5. I think there could come a point where it is necessary. By having the law, it seems to give government the chance to take advantage. Workers can be mistreated, but when they threaten to strike, gov’t. brings up “Oh, no, you can’t; it’s against the law.”
    I’m not familiar with the workers’ situation, but if things are bad, they should be allowed to strike. If not, who else will stand up for them?
    On another topic real fast… “Boob Jobs” is a “Related Post from the Past”? 😕

  6. I think there could come a point where it is necessary. By having the law, it seems to give government the chance to take advantage. Workers can be mistreated, but when they threaten to strike, gov’t. brings up “Oh, no, you can’t; it’s against the law.”
    I’m not familiar with the workers’ situation, but if things are bad, they should be allowed to strike. If not, who else will stand up for them?
    On another topic real fast… “Boob Jobs” is a “Related Post from the Past”? 😕

  7. I think there could come a point where it is necessary. By having the law, it seems to give government the chance to take advantage. Workers can be mistreated, but when they threaten to strike, gov’t. brings up “Oh, no, you can’t; it’s against the law.”
    I’m not familiar with the workers’ situation, but if things are bad, they should be allowed to strike. If not, who else will stand up for them?
    On another topic real fast… “Boob Jobs” is a “Related Post from the Past”? 😕

  8. Good point, Carla. The MTA has a billion dollar surplus but they claim they need that to pay down future deficits and cannot afford to pay the workers today. A court confirmed any worker who goes on strike will have to pay $2,500 the first day and double that the next day and double that the next and…
    I think the “Related Post from the Past” Plugin must somehow be reading our blushing faces or something and triggering up that fantastic former article!

  9. Good point, Carla. The MTA has a billion dollar surplus but they claim they need that to pay down future deficits and cannot afford to pay the workers today. A court confirmed any worker who goes on strike will have to pay $2,500 the first day and double that the next day and double that the next and…
    I think the “Related Post from the Past” Plugin must somehow be reading our blushing faces or something and triggering up that fantastic former article!

  10. Good point, Carla. The MTA has a billion dollar surplus but they claim they need that to pay down future deficits and cannot afford to pay the workers today. A court confirmed any worker who goes on strike will have to pay $2,500 the first day and double that the next day and double that the next and…
    I think the “Related Post from the Past” Plugin must somehow be reading our blushing faces or something and triggering up that fantastic former article!