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Then they came for the transit workers... - Riffs and Licks
steelbrassnwood
steelbrassnwood
Then they came for the transit workers...
My grandfather worked multiple manual-labor jobs for much of his youth, and finally "made it" when he got a job for NYC Transit as a token booth clerk. He bought a house and raised his son on that salary and sent him to college, the first one in the family. His son also got a job at NYC Transit, and raised two kids on that salary, and sent both of them to college. My grandmother, widowed for more than ten years, has a house to live in and decent health care because of her husband's benefits. My father has a secure retirement because of those benefits. I have a decent job and a college education because NYC Transit paid a decent salary to my parents and grandparents.

There are lots of children out there who will not be able to say any of the above. Most of their parents work for private companies or other organizations that, like my employer, have hacked away brutally at retirement and medical benefits to the point that our old age will be less comfortable than that of our parents. Those children have already lost.

But the parents of some of those children are fighting right now to hold onto decent pay and decent benefits. The fact that many of us have long since given up that fight does not mean those workers are wrong, it just means that they're the last ones standing. And the fact that they're fighting for the things that my parents had, and that I benefited greatly from, means that I cannot in good conscience do anything but support them.

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Comments
nemesisbecoming From: nemesisbecoming Date: December 22nd, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good post!
From: laurie_daniels Date: December 22nd, 2005 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you Ken. Thank you times a thousand. I should have known to turn to you for something articulate. I only ended up sounding defensive when I tried.

I would like to print this entry out for certain family members who are not computer literate, if that's okay with you. I promise not to tack it up on trees!
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: December 22nd, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Feel free! :-) And happy holidays.
From: laurie_daniels Date: December 24th, 2005 07:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I did, and I thank you! I showed it to my mother, who supports the transit strike in theory but had some moments of real anger towards it. She's an open-minded woman who appreciated it.

Have not worked up the balls to show dad yet, but it's coming. A few more glasses of this egg nog and i should be good to go with the arguing.

I hope you and your family and loved ones have a wonderful holiday! I know you have some family here, so hopefully you will not have to travel far this season.

steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: December 24th, 2005 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can understand being angry about it; someone on LJ said that they were walking miles to work in the cold so someone else could keep benefits they'd never had. But I can't understand why people are angry at the union, but not angry at the MTA or the governor who precipitated the crisis and whose misbehavior has caused New Yorkers so many problems.

Good luck with dad. I do have family here, but my other half's family is in South Carolina, so I'll be heading down there right after Christmas. Have a great holiday and a happy new year!
rubytramp From: rubytramp Date: December 22nd, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
As the daughter of a city teacher and state lawyer I can't do anything but agree and applaud this post.

I was on a picket line when I was 5 (1970 NYC Teacher's Strike). Two unions got my older brother and I through college and grad school. My parents were able to move out of the Bronx after 26 years of marriage and buy a house in Westchester. They now are both retired but my Mom spent years working for the Retired Teacher's Union and eventually won accolades for her years of service to the union. Unions were part of my life growing up. My Dad still doesn't get that I don't get a pension - only a 401K.

I also know that there is corruption in unions - and that they don't wield the same power they did pre-Reagan and his union busting ways.

So while in spirit and thought I support the transit workers, I also realize that a lot of people in this city were more than inconvenienced by this strike - they were endangered. My own husband could have been if he had to go out in this weather - he has a lung disease and cannot tolerate temps like this. However, I do not blame the workers - I blame their leadership and the MTA.

And our Governor - Pataki takes and takes from the MTA and he must know that it is a highly corrupt organization and yet does nothing to fix it.

The problem is the people at the top not taking responsibility and not being honest.

But that's the way of the world I guess. We can fight and we will but as you are aware - it's a tough one!

And may I theft your icon? Pretty please?
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: December 22nd, 2005 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, exactly -- I don't think the strike is a good thing but it bothers me the way it's blamed entirely on the transit union. The same way that it bothers me when people complain about incompetent workers or the awful MTA, when a lot of the problems with service are thanks to the constant attacks by Pataki & Co. on city transity funding.

And yes, of course you can take the icon! Or any others. :-)
rubytramp From: rubytramp Date: December 22nd, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks dear - and a happy holiday to you!
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