Wednesday, December 21, 2005


The Transit Strike

I thought I would put my $0.02 worth in here:

Having been in a union when in a moment of intense contract disagreements that almost lead to a strike, it seems to me that, while the stakes are much higher for the transit workers than they were for us grad students, the actual positions of labor and management were closer together than in even many negotiations that don't break down -- after all: the gaps were largely qualitative and compromisable (62 vs. 55 retirement age a problem? why not have eligibility for a special early retirement at 55 which is better than would be retiring under the previous contract at say 53 but not the same as a regular retirement). It seems to me that both sides must have been bargaining in bad faith -- although, since I don't really know the facts, I cannot say so for sure ... but since knowing the facts doesn't stop anyone now-a-days, I will say so: it seems to me that both sides must have been bargaining in bad faith.

My general sympathy toward unions, though -- even to the idea of stiking just to show that your job is of infinite worth -- kinda evaporates in this case: this strike hurts too many other working folks to really be just a matter of showing "The Man" the real value of your labours so "The Man" will actually for once negotiate in good faith. I think the union made a political gamble in this strike and they may have lost out. But what do you expect from a union that is actually urging Pataki to get involved in the negotiations (if I were them, I would be happy he's not involved!)?

Of course, that a strike such as this one hurts the average Joe and Josephine is exactly why the Taylor law exists in NY State to begin with. But that law is troubling me 'cause I think it goes to far in punishing union members for striking (isn't that they are losing their wages disincentive enough? why double the cost to them and add taxes besides?) -- not to mention it doesn't manage to penalize management for negotiating in bad faith ... it only penalizes unions. But what really bothers me about the Taylor law is it is saying people have to work, even without a contract. Doesn't that violate a little thing called the 13th ammendment?

Something like the Taylor law is necessary and all states should have it. But as written, the law in NY State seems unfair and possibly unconstitutional. I hope the courts address this soon! While many have addressed our eroding Constitutional right to due process, the undermining of the 13th ammendment, e.g. if we were to end the law of the soil in citizenship determination -- one can even question whether restricting abortion access is questionable in 13th ammendment terms: does requiring a woman to carry a baby make her into a slave a la the Handmaiden's Tale? -- really concerns me greatly.

To me, the very people who complain about social welfare leading to serfdom are those advocating policies that would lead us into a feudal equilibrium. The 13th ammendment is the final bullwork against real serfdom -- I hope it is not undermined under the radar while we are all, rightfully, fighting the good fight against the undermining of the 14th, 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th ammendments.

Best regards from NY! 37 plasma sony tv Bill pay reminder software
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