Skip to comments.The 'I' Word: Today Still Can't Bring Itself to Call NYC Strike Illegal
Posted on 12/21/2005 4:39:51 AM PST by governsleastgovernsbest
by Mark Finkelstein
December 21, 2005 - 07:02.
When it comes to the Transport Workers Union strike in NYC, the Today show just can't bring itself to pronounce the 'I' word, for illegal.
In contrast with his Today show appearance yesterday, this morning NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg took off the verbal gloves, repeatedly condemning the union for its illegal strike, which violates of the Taylor Law prohibiting public employees in New York from striking. Among other things, Bloomberg stated that striking union members would be fined two days pay for every day the strike lasts.
But whereas Today gave sympathetic treatment to the plight of commuters and the city's economy, and Katie made sympathetic noises in her interview of Bloomberg, the show continued its peculiar reticence when it came to reporting the undeniable fact that the strike is illegal.
The 'I' word was never uttered by any of the Today crew covering the strike.
Lester Holt came the closest, indicating that a judge had found the Transport Workers Union "in contempt" and had imposed fines on it. But in contempt of what? Holt informed us only that the union had been found in contempt "of court". For all we knew from Holt, it could have been for picket lines too close to schools. No mention of the strike's illegality, no word of the Taylor Law.
When Katie concluded the coverage by observing: "it is really a difficult situation," she probably had in mind the plight of the city.
But her comment aptly applied to Today itself, as the show tiptoes around the intractable fact that a union is blatantly violating the law in a way that causes hundreds of millions of dollars of damage daily, with much of the brunt being borne by lower-income New Yorkers suddenly without jobs or unable to get to them.
But why the should they have? These people make a good salary for not a lot of skills. They can't pay 1% toward health care? Let 'em go pound the pavement for comparable pay. They won't find it. The city should stand firm and fire anyone who doesn't show up to work tomorrow. End of story.
What would President Reagan do?
"On 3 August 1981, President Reagan fired more than 11000 air traffic controllers who had gone on strike."
Why not? The system is shut down, anyway. Maybe this will give some of the employees the opportunity to get out from under the death grip of the union? But it may also result in lots of broken kneecaps. ;)
Just this morning I heard that lawyers for the MTA may seek today to have union leaders thrown in jail for contempt.
Wrong. The TWU members knew when they took their jobs that they had a legal obligation to fulfill the terms of their contract.
If you steal from your employer, you're going to jail.
What a painfully stupid statement.
No one likes a strike...Employer, or employees...
The employees obviously feel the issues disputed are worth losing their jobs over...And the media rarely informs the public what labor issues are really at stake...
What we know is the employer wants concessions...In my view, if the economy is doing as well as Bush says it is (which I don't believe for a minute), I don't see any reason for any concessions to the employees...
I suspect their contract is 'expired'...This is not a 'wildcat' strike...
Every private sector worker contributes to their own health insurance, usually about 6% of each paycheck.
The TWU worker pays nothing. The city suggested that new hires, and only new hires, pay 1%.
The TWU's response: "We want increased benefits with no contribution from any worker."
The city wanted to shift retirement age from 55 to 62 for full pension benefits.
The TWU's response: "Not only do we reject a retirement age increase, we demand a reduction in retirement age to 50 will full pension."
The city suggested that future wage increases be tied to inflation.
The TWU's response: "Not only do we reject wage increases indexed to inflation, we demand a wage increase 8 times the current inflation rate."
The city was more than reasonable, but the TWU are unreasonable, disgusting, greedy, lazy, scummy bastards.
No rational person can possibly think otherwise.
A lot of silliness in one sentence.
Let's unpack it:
What we know is the employer wants concessions...
No, the employer wants minor adjustments in timing of costs and the union wants major concessions from the employer, including a 25% wage hike over 3 years, full pension at age 50 instead of the current 55 and expanded health benefits with zero contributions from employees.
In my view, if the economy is doing as well as Bush says it is
It's not what Bush says that matters - it's the hard economic facts. Our economy is growing rapidly, the dollar is strengthening and the average median income US household now has a net worth in excess of $100,000.
Ah, I see. You're in the "Bush lied!" camp. What's your next brilliant comment? "No blood for oil!"? How about "Workers of the world unite!"?
I don't see any reason for any concessions to the employees...
Nor do I, but I assume you meant "employers."
The fact is that as people live longer and more complex treatments become available, healthcare becomes more expensive and pension benefits become more expensive.
Most Americans, not being lazy handout-seeking bastards, realize that they need to contribute toward their own health and their own retirement.
No matter how good the economy becomes, healthcare and pension benefits still cost real money and someone has to pay for them.
Why should the subway rider, who is paying for his own benefits and pension pick up the full tab for these transit scrubs?
It is illegal for transit workers to stage a strike under the NYS Taylor law.
It is a wildcat strike and an illegal strike and the union is currently being fined millions of dollars a day for this illegal action.
i am not talking about their wage and benefit contract with the MTA.
I am talking about their contract with the state of NY to provide transit service.
It's a well-known fact taht this strike is completely illegal and in total violation of state law.
Reminds me of the threatened BART strike here in the S.F. Bay Area last year. The Union put out ads of "money for political influence, no money for safety, etc., etc." and the BART officials simply put out news stories saying exactly what BART drivers earned, what their benefits were and what the officials were offering. It worked. When the commuters found out that BART workers got health care and transit passes for free for them AND their families, had higher wages than most of the people using the system, the commute crowd sided with management. Everyone said the same thing - "I'm quitting my job and working for BART!" Only exception of course, were the socialists from the People's Republic of Berkeley.
I heard on Glenn Beck yesterday that the N.Y. Transit Workers also want an 8% raise, but are willing to settle for a 6% raise and a 25% reduction in disciplinary actions. Nice. My salary hasn't gone up 8% in three years.
Same contract you signed when you agreed to pay your state taxes.
It should no be illegal to withhold one's work from an employer.
Not when your refusal to work injures a third party.
So, in other words, it's the MTA's fault?
The MTA caves on every proposal but one - namely that the pension needs to be readjusted - and they even cave on that one by asking for a cheaper-to-the-employees upfront contribution instead of a seven-year benefit delay and it's their fault?
Not only is it hilarious that you cite the NYT's account as authoritative - which is a ridiculous notion on its face - but you can't even read through the spin!
MTA riders are involved as well.
The MTA is a public utility, not a private corporation.
I can't get on the competing uptown 4 train.
The TWU are criminals.
You tolerate far too much government control over the lives of people then I prefer.
Because I oppose the establishment of an anarchosyndicalist workers' state of the kind you apparently prefer?
You work a public job, you have a public responsibility. Period.
The only hard heads here are the TWU's - the MTA caved in on almost every demand, but the TWU insisted on getting absolutely everything they wanted without any sort of compromise.
NYC transit workers are paid a princely sum to do jobs that plenty of people would be happy to do for half the wages and half the benefits.
I'm a stone capitalist, and being a capitalist means honoring the obligations you freely took on.
No one forced them to take a transit job that carried with it the legal obligation to show up for work.
If I were offered a job under those conditions I might have said no. But they didn't. That's life.
"Capitalism" does not mean "a fantasy world in which no one has any responsibilities or obligations, only privileges and benefits."
I hope this is correct. It would make my year.
They can make a reality show with Toussaint and Sharpton sharing the same filthy jail cell.
Exactly. Ottawa recently came close to a bus strike and managed to avoid it because the media made it clear that such a strike would disproportionately affect lower-income people.
For a group like a union, which supposedly has the interests of "the common man" at heart, they oftentimes do a good job of hurting regular people who live paycheck-to-paycheck.
I'm just jumping in very late here, but I did see a thread yesterday that said that the President actually did have authority for this program. In other words, it was not illegal.
I don't think any of those turds have ever used words like illegal, wrong, amoral, unethical or any other word that would imply that they were making a value judgement.