Wednesday, January 25, 2006

TWU NEEDS A REALITY CHECK: JAIL TIME FOR STRIKING, IMMEDIATELY!

Continued from UNIONS SCREW NY, ALREADY HAVE MORE BENEFITS THAN AVERAGE NY SUBWAY RIDER!

With their leadership facing jail time for the pre-Christmas strike, the TWU rank-and-file REJECTED the contract that the leaders agreed to, by just 7 votes out of over 20,000 (Nobody sued for a recount). This is beyond the pale. I still don't have the words to say my thoughts, because the story is still developing.

The NY POST had a stunning report about a subway booth clerk who made $70,000 last year, on top of all those "free" (to him) medical benefits. Not only did he vote against the contract, but was featured on the front page, sleeping in his booth, during the mid-afternoon! Now, they're going to strike again, rather than go to binding arbitration?

Where is Rudy when you need him?

Mayor Bloomberg is a manager, not a leader. The same goes for Gov. Pa-tax-i, who hasn't said "boo" about the consequences of the damage the TWU caused to the greatest economic engine in the world on one of it's busiest weeks of the year. Pete Kalikow, the head of the MTA, is a man I have read few good things about, after reading about him over many years.

The deeper problem lies within the bureaucracy. The MTA is a creature of NY state, NJ, NYC, and to a lesser degree, the counties surrounding NYC. The "authority" they run under is nominally public, but who they are answerable to depends on who you ask. Right now, no leader is representing the riders and taxpayers, a job that would normally fall to the Mayor and Governor. A leader would be out front saying that the TWU leadership will go to jail the day they resume the strike, and follow up on it in court now. I'd like to put all the picketers in jail too, if the law allows it.

I don't know if many people know this, but back in the founding days of this nation, New York was said to have one of the most complexly corrupt bureaucracies in the world. Times may change, but corrupt bureacracies don't. Today, it's the rare politician who can reform any one of the myriad bureaucracies, and most of those reforms don't work, and have to be repeated every 20 years or so. This is the pattern with the MTA strikes (1966, 1980, 2005), and even Rudy's creation of a whole different child-care agency has devolved to the depths of its predecessor (Google Nixmary Brown). This is a failure of leadership.

I grew up in Manhattan during the dismal '70's, and walked 40 blocks to work during the 1980 strike. What the TWU is doing now is outrageous, and someone, or some combination of people (the judge in this case has shown the most backbone, and actually ended the last strike) can not only avert a repeat, but switch them to a defined contribution plan, instead of a defined benefit plan. (AS IF!) I would settle for them to pay something into their own health care, though that seems to be a sticking point for the younger workers, who see no need to pay for health care they don't use (yet). These are the people that need the reality check.

Fire them! Start with the newest workers, and start a jobs program for people willing to pay for their own benefits. A person making $35,000 a year with no health benefits would jump on an MTA job, I assure you! Who are we kidding, here? You can get better qualified people, too!

ONCE AGAIN: WHERE IS RUDY


WHEN WE NEED HIM?

--I guess I found some words, huh?

2 comments:

BobG said...

Wow! I'd hate to see you when you're not stuck for words. LOL. Good post.

Chris said...

Thanks, Bob. It's always fun to let myself do a free-form rant. It can only be done on the spur of the moment. I have to say that I would edit this for grammar, but it might ruin it's spirit.

I left the "loss for words" phrase in because it was the point that I found the (rest of the) words. I really need an editor.