Ok, so I've been vocal about siding with the MTA and the city... and so have the millions of the rest of us who are stranded, inconvenienced, etc... but I'm going to take a step back for a second.
Let's suppose, for a moment, that the current deal the transit worker's union is getting is a bad deal, and bad precident for labor in this city in general. Perhaps that's true.
Contrast that with this Op/Ed from USA Today:
"Pity the New Yorker who commutes from Queens to
Manhattan to work in a hotel for $25,000 a year, with no health care or
retirement benefits. She couldn't ride to work Tuesday because the
city's transit workers went on strike.
The bus drivers who get her there make an
average of $63,000. They are balking at a proposed 3% pay raise. What's
more, they, along with other transit workers, are indignant at a
proposal that they begin making a contribution (of 1% of wages) toward
their health costs. And they beat back a plan to make future workers
wait until age 62, rather than 55, to get full pensions.
If this sounds as if it's a militant union
leveraging its ability to wreak havoc, it is. New York transit workers
receive better pay and benefits than most of their riders do."
That sums up a lot of what I'm hearing from the public.
But maybe we're not getting the whole story, and that's my point.
If there is another side to this, the transit workers, and whoever runs their PR, has done an awful job of getting the word out. I went to their website, and they had a few stories about workers with cancer getting docked for sickleave, etc... but these stories aren't getting out there.
When cops, fireman, and teachers have labor issues, there are a lot of people who naturally side with them, because we see cops getting killed, fireman going into fires, and we care about the education of our youth.
But transit workers? We associate them with our commute, which is a drag. We don't really seperate the MTA from the workers. We just know that when our trains are late, rerouted, etc., that we just hate the whole idea of a commute. So, when a strike causes massive delays, millions of dollars in lost revenue, let's just say that some PR work is needed to get the public on your side. So, if there are convincing stories to tell about the union's side, they're definitely not getting out there.