December 22, 2005

NY City Transit --Just Another Strike About Greed

As I write, we’re in day # 3 of the NY City Transit strike—that would be the illegal transit strike. They said it wasn’t really about money but about working conditions. Someone mentioned the restrooms were rather nasty and women transit workers in particular were fed up with having to utilize these pigsties for their daily needs. What the story then added was the important little addendum that it was the transit workers who were responsible for the condition of the restrooms.

But it never was about dirty stalls; once again, good old fashioned greed and our culture’s wonderfully inbred sense of entitlement and remuneration based not on what a job is worth based on qualifications, skill, education and experience but on some notion that a worker, any worker regardless of what the job is, deserves to make a livable wage. I disagree strongly. What a worker deserves is the freedom to not accept the wage for the job seeking another job, and another wage in another line of work.

This strike is about good old money grubbing greed. Before you feel too sorry for the striking workers, what if I told you the guy who has the horrendously pressured and highly skilled job of handing out tokens time tables currently makes $51,000 a year? The conductor on the subway, the man with the high stress job of stepping off the stair and seeing if everyone is in before pulling away is making $54,000 and a bus driver is currently making, are you ready--$63,000 a year. (I used to drive 70 children around for $7 an hour…) And they want a 24% increase over the next three years! None of this includes the exorbitant raise they demand in their retirement package as well as some other bennies. Oh, for perspective, the average NY City wage is $45,000.

Ah, well, Paul told Timothy, the “love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Why do you think domestic companies of all sorts are dieing on the vine? You can’t pay an assembly line worker $65,000 a year and not expect it to impact the price you charge the consumer. Mind you, I’m not advocating the sweat-shop mentality of some of the foreign producers we deal with but let’s get real. Sitting at a bench and putting screws into a piece of metal is hardly worth the price being paid—due to unions, not due to the importance of the job. Are you listening GM? I didn’t think so…

Addendum--The strike enbded when union leaders were about to be charged with contempt of court! Hurray--finally, a law enforced with some teeth! Will wonders never cease?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I find interesting about this whole strike is the lack of reporting as to why the workers feel the need to do this. It may be as you say, that is, greed, but it would be helpful if the mainstream media did a better job of reporting the reasons for this strike from the prespective of the workers.

It appears that there is no good reason for them to strike, but I do like to see both sides, and even NPR has done a poor job of showing this.

9:43 AM  

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