Transit strike, day 1

Manhattan has turned into a giant parking lot. Even with the 4 people per car rule, cars were bumper to bumper for the sixty blocks I walked to work (that’s three miles, with a wind chill of 9F or -13C, depending what system you use). I packed a bag so I have the option of not going home tonight, just sleeping at work, but I know tons of people who don’t have that option.

Now, normally I am in favor of workers going on strike for better conditions. My grandfather and great-grandfather were both union organizers. But I have a whole lotta beef with these guys for what they’re doing. First, especially considering that they’re doing work that requires only a high school diploma and a few weeks training, that they make more than I do, plus overtime, and will get to retire with benefits at age 55, they’re not exactly hurting. Second, I think they have a false sense of their position. I heard two TWU guys talking on the subway last week about the strike, and one explained to the other, “See, in the private sector, we’d be getting huge raises every year. In the TWU, we only get cost-of-living increases.” I was tempted to tell them I’m in the private sector and I only get cost-of-living increases myself, as does everyone I know. Third, they threatened a strike last year, and what’s up for debate now is only a two-year contract. So are they going to be doing this again in two years? And finally, they’re really crippling the city, and making it hellish for everyone. Makes it hard for their blue-collar brothers to sympathize when this may mean losing their own jobs because they can’t get to work.

Needless to say, I’m not happy with the situation.


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