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.