NYC Subway Strike

Thursday, December 22, 2005
It looks like the NYC Subway Strike may be over. I don't really take either side on the issue as I think both the city and the workers are wrong. Here's why.

I don't like unions but I also beleive they have a right to exist so long as it is a voluntary association. If a group of workers wants to strike to gain concessions in wages and benefits, I have no problem with that. My only beef with them is there fairly unrealistic expectation. An operator can expect to make on average in $63,000. Even in NYC that's a lot of money for relatively low-skilled work (Yes you can live in the city on that. I did with much less). They then want to insure that they can retire, with full benefits, at 55. Compare this with Private-sector employees and the gap is just huge.

However, I think Bloomberg's comment that the workers are being "selfish" is dead on; I just don't think that's a bad thing. People have to do what people have to do. If you believe you are not getting paid enough for your job, you need to be able to leave the job. The $1 million fine is pretty ridiculous. Forcing these workers to work because of some "public need" is just outrageous. Is it making it harder to live in the city? Yes. Is it hurting the city economically? Yes. But tough. If you are going to live in a city that depends so much on its public transportation, and then allow the operator of said system to unionize, then you run the risk of this exact thing happening. Nobody should be allowed to compel someone else to work just because they "need" them to. Slavery ended a long time ago.

I guess my big problem is (big surprise) the Federal government. The federal government mandates that workers are allowed to strike, and that employers can hire temporary workers to replace them. The problem is that the employer MUST take back the striking workers after the strike has ended. This is just stupid. If you want to strike you forefit your job. Why on earth should I take you back?

Of course labor loves this law but it is now backfiring in their face. Again, just another perfect example of what happens when government makes up illogical laws to try and "protect" a class of citizens. How did it backfire? Simple. NYC just made it illegal for public employees to strike. That is why they are now being fined $1 Million a day. That is why union leaders are facing criminal charges. They have made it illegal for someone to leave their job. Doesn't that scare anybody else?

You give government an inch, they will not only take a mile, they will take serveral miles.


Kat said...

i totally agree with your government comment. i'd like to point out that the statement is especially true for economic reasons.

susan said...

Ah, it must be Christmas. T and Kat are in agreement.

T said...


quite frankly, I thought i must have misread Kat's comment. I know there i s no way that her and I could agree on this.

David Cho said...

I think Kat's agreement is limited to Terrence's very last paragraph.