NYC Transit Settlement

The New York City transit workers have ended their strike and announced what is by most accounts a very good contract deal. Despite being villified in the press–and on their blog comments–the union looked pretty good in the end, and the transit authority had to withdraw proposal to create a two-tiered pension system. Obviously, what is most remarkable is that in this political moment when the labor movement is flat on its back, we have more than 30,000 workers (majority black and latino) going out on strike against a belligerent employer backed up by city and state authorities. And they won! So this is very good.

There is a load of commentary on the strike and settlement: two good examples are Jonathan Tasini’s blog, Joshua Freeman in the Nation. It’s worth reading Steven Greenhouse‘s analysis in the New York Times. Greenhouse is one of the few “labor reporters” left in the major newspapers. But I was struck by how heavily he relied on commentary by anti-union types. We get to hear from the Manhattan Institute (twice), the Citizens Budget Commission, and Columbia Business School. From the workers’ side? A quote from the union’s president, no doubt from a press release, a reference to a comment (not a quote) by the head of the teachers’ union, and one quote from a rank-and-file striker. So much for the liberal media.

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4 Responses to NYC Transit Settlement

  1. eddygilbert1081 says:

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  2. Church Secretary says:

    Howdy, Tobias, and Happy New Clusterfu– er, I mean Year.

    Anyway, that’s great news. It’s a shame I didn’t read any of it in the corporate press. Of course, I don’t really spend much time reading corporate media rags (I glance through them roughly every third day at work). I digress.

    The best coverage I saw anywhere on the NYC transit strike was on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales. They allowed for both sides; there was a pretty knowledgeable sociology professor who was pissed at the very notion that the transit workers were in the wrong (this dude was on top of his stuff– he read the class and race angles to all of it, including the predominantly white trade unions’ involvement on the side of the Transit Authority in a related issue). On the other side, there was a well-spoken woman from some organization or other, but, well, you’ll have to check it out yourself, because she annoyed the hell out of me.

    That said, your point about the workers’ side getting short shrift is central to the issue, methinks. I remember someone writing (or saying) that even NPR (can I still say “even NPR”?) pays little or no mind to political and economic issues of working people. NPR has “Marketplace,” but they don’t have a “Laborplace.”

    The term ‘liberal’ has become divorced in the public consciousness from the image of the working classes. That’s just part and parcel of our nation’s slide into fascism and feudalism.

    On a different topic, how’s life in Champaign (that is where you are at, ain’t it)? I was there once a few years ago, and it looked like a giant strip mall punctuated by the occasional housing block. Of course, I was there on business (of the simian variety), and I didn’t have time for a decent tour.

  3. Toby Higbie says:

    Hi CS, good to have you back. Was the Democracy Now interview with Frank Emspak of the Univ. Wisconsin School for Workers? (link to the transcript). I need to pay more attention to DN and Amy Goodman.

    Champaign is good. Not as exciting as Chicago, but much easier living. Took some getting used to. Believe it or not there are actually parts of town that have no strip malls, but you have to know where to look!

  4. Toby Higbie says:

    Hey eddygilbert1081 (a.k.a., the Juicy Fruiter): thanks for reading my blog. I nearly deleted your comment because it reads exactly like comment spam: “Hi, I love your blog, want to get organized? Read my blog…” and the link takes you to some professional service or viagra salesman. I’m glad I checked out your blog Juicy Fruiter because I’m gathering a list of blogs on work and the workplace. Keep posting!

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