And I wonder if they realize the irony of what they’ve done?
From the Associated Press article (emphasis mine):
The union called the strike after a late round of negotiations broke down Monday night. Union President Roger Toussaint said the union board voted overwhelmingly to call the strike.
“This is a fight over dignity and respect on the job, a concept that is very alien to the MTA,” Toussaint said in announcing the strike. “Transit workers are tired of being underappreciated and disrespected.”
I’m thinking…stranding seven million or so daily commuters and causing hundred of millions of dollars in lost work hours, lost revenue, etc is NOT going to cause New Yorkers to view mass transit workers with respect and appreciation, what do you think?
In reality, this is about what most things tend to be about– money. Mass transit workers want guaranteed annual raises of 3%, 4%, and 3.5%. They don’t want to agree to having the age to collect pension raise from 55 to 62.
The union said the latest MTA offer included annual raises of 3 percent, 4 percent and 3.5 percent; the previous proposal included 3 percent raises each year. MTA workers earn between $47,000 and $55,000 annually.
Pension issues have been a major sticking point. The MTA wants to raise the age at which new employees become eligible for full pension from 55 to 62, which the union says is unfair.
And they apparently want it bad enough to prevent doctors, nurses, lab techs, aides, etc from reaching their jobs at hospitals. To gridlock the city so emergency vehicles have difficulty reaching people in need. To force the “little person” to spend $30 or more dollars a day in cabfare to reach a job that pays not much more than minimum wage. During an already financially difficult time of year.
Darryl Padilla, a 20-year-old club promoter, was trying to get on the train at Penn Station when he found out that the strike had begun. He didn’t have enough cash to take a cab to his home on the northern tip of Manhattan.
“I didn’t think they were going to shut down. I can’t take a cab,” he said.
“Enough is enough,” said Craig DeRosa, who relies on the subway to get to work. “Their benefits are as rich as you see anywhere in this country and they are still complaining. I don’t get it.”
In Queens, Brunilda Ayala said she had no sympathy for the union after the bus strike began in her neighborhood.
“How can you give a raise to a bus driver who would make three old ladies walk home in the cold?” asked Ayala, 57.
And how much would it suck, the week of Christmas, when you should be preparing and shopping and baking cookies with your kids, to have to, instead, live at your job so care can continue?
the strike threat was being taken especially seriously at hospitals, where many staff members have long commutes from far-flung neighborhoods.
Continuum Health Partners, the network that includes Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center and Long Island College Hospital, said it planned to extend the shifts of hundreds of nurses and health aides working overnight Thursday to give the morning shift more time to get to work.
Some employees will also be offered space in hospital housing, said Continuum spokesman Jim Mandler. Administrators will monitor staffing levels from emergency command centers.
I clearly don’t know all the details, because I’m not a mass transit worker, but I don’t live in New York and already, my respect for them has plummetted. Would it not have been reasonable and fair to their fellow New Yorkers to suspend negotiations and/or keep going at least until after the holidays? Yeah, they’ve proved a point. But at what cost?