Tuesday, December 20, 2005

TWU Strikes, Nerds Hoof It

At 3am this morning, Roger Toussaint, president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, announced that New York City transit workers would strike for a fair contract. Toussaint said,
We call on all good-willed New Yorkers, the labor community, and all working people to recognize that our strike is their fight and to rally in our support with activities and events in solidarity, and to show the M.T.A. the T.W.U. does not stand alone.
Nerds on strike will hoof it around town in solidarity (alas, even if that means trekking across the Brooklyn Bridge). No doubt Nerds will be spotted on transit workers' picket lines across the city as well. All good wishes to the TWU in their fight. Union power!


Anonymous Melocoton said...

Hey nerds,

You got any info on where the TWU picket lines are? Please share.

12/20/2005 10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

check out the twu website for picket line locations:



12/20/2005 12:02 PM  
Anonymous Eric said...

Folks are welcome to walk the picket line with the TWU. They would appreciate the support of the nerds. The line at the 100th St bus depot (100th and Lex) was pretty lively today.

12/20/2005 3:01 PM  
Blogger kstrna said...

TWu seems to have a pretty good shot at winning even with the judge's ruling as long as they can hold the line. They control business, without them NYC mass transit stops which basically keeps NYC from functioning well. How a strike should be done, showing your power as workers & why you are valuable.

12/20/2005 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that they are holding the city and its businesses hostage, despite a court order and a law explicitly preventing them from striking shows that they have little regard for anyone but themselves. Nobody in this day and age can demand a 24% wage increase over 3 years. In the private sector you'd get laughed at for such a demand. And furthermore, who are they to say that they deserve to retire with a pension at 50? Most people work well into their 50s and get no such pension. It's fine and dandy that you support fellow strikers, but get real. These people are costing the city hundreds of millions of dollars a day! Unrelated people are being left in traffic jams when they need to get to the hospital and working class people are losing their jobs because they can't get anywhere on time.

The mayor was right when he called this strike "morally reprehensible."

It had to be said.

12/21/2005 12:27 AM  
Blogger specter of marx said...

"Morally reprehensible?" That's a weighty indictment. If the mayor is willing to accord these laborers that much responsibility, then why isn't he willing to accord their labor equal value, with commensurate compensation?

Morover, the TWU=terrorists/transit strike=terrorism line of rhetoric is purely inflammatory. These tropes have dangerous xenophobic and jingoistic connotations. Beware.

12/21/2005 9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Their morality has nothing to do with their responsibility. It's the fact that they actively put their interests before that of the city at large.

In any case, it's the TWU's own fault that it will be bankrupt within the next two days. The $1M fines per day were explicitly stated before they went on their illegal strike, and considering that the union only had $3.6M in its treasury, that was an incredibly short sighted plan.

As far as the terrorism language, it certainly wasn't raised in any of these posts; however, it's totally understandable that the public at large would lash out so violently at these strikers. They chose the worst possible time (pre-Christmas, a high volume commercial period) to shut down the city. People need to buy gifts, get to work, and be with their families. If the strike continues beyond Friday, not only will the union be bankrupted (and justifiably so) but they will be despised by the entirety of New York as the bastards who ruined the holidays (call them grinches if you will).

12/21/2005 10:34 AM  
Blogger specter of marx said...

Just to clarify, the post left by anonymous that begins, "The fact that they are holding the city and its businesses hostage..." is most certainly a allusion to terrorism. Stereotypically, terrorists take hostages. Make no mistake, this was not an "innocent" remark.

To further clarify, transit workers are laborers who get paid to do a job; they are slaves to the public good no more than you or I or any other New Yorker. The juxtaposition of transit workers' interests and the city's interests as opposing and mutually exclusive is a mistake. Until we all recognize that the transit worker's interests *are* the city's interests, this strike unfortunately will continue.

12/21/2005 11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually if you want to be so literal in your reading, then it would have been a reference to them being kidnappers; however, the fact still remains that it was wholly in their control to decide if and when they would strike, and they chose to do so at the worst possible time for the city.

The transit workers interests are not the city's interests per se. The city wants the transportation systems to run smoothly and efficiently. The transit workers want to get an overly generous deal, one which they don't deserve, especially in light of their abandoning the citizens of NY and all the local businesses.

First off they are clamoring over the healthcare costs that the MTA wanted to deflect onto them. In most articles in the news the demand was that they pay 1% of their yearly pay to get full health coverage. Considering that the average salary is in the neighborhood of $47,000, that's about $470 a year, or $1.29 a day. Considering that there are many people in the city who work just as hard as they do with no chance to get any healthcare, it's an insane argument that this constitutes an inordinate burden.

Similarly they referred to the pension issues as provocation to strike. The city no longer is attempting to move the age back, but neither should it be moved forward. Do they deserve to be able to retire on half pay pension after 20 years of working? Absolutely not! Ask for that in any private sector job and you'd get laughed all the way out to the street. And as for the requirement that new workers contribute 6% of their salary for the first 10 years of employment to pension is not unreasonable. It's a very generous pension to begin with, and if the current workers are so horrified by the extreme hardship to be imposed on the new workers they could agree to a raise in their contribution to even things out.

It's inexcusable to force third parties, ones whom depend on you, to suffer for your working demands. It's not in society's best interest. It's only in your best interest. There's a huge difference.

12/21/2005 5:58 PM  
Blogger specter of marx said...

Anonymous has brought it to my attention via email that Roger Toussaint also uses the term "hold hostage" to refer to the MTA's, governor's, and mayor's actions re: the strike. This is duly noted. Nevertheless, my previous comments stand.

12/21/2005 7:50 PM  
Anonymous eric said...

Perhaps 'anonymous' would have said that there was no need for a minimum wage or an end to slavery. The fight for social justice is always met with anger or indifference by those who feel that nothing needs to be done. At what point would anonymous say enough is enough? What would anonymous fight for? Good wages and benefits don't just happen anon, they are the result of a hard struggle that you would probably never join. When someone fights for better working conditions, it raises the possibilities for everyone, even anon.

12/21/2005 11:49 PM  

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