Thursday, December 22, 2005

Back to work

Apparently the transit workers in NYC are headed back to work. Faced with the prospect of jail time, union leaders were forced to concede to the demands of the ruling elite, men like Michael Bloomberg, who probably hasn’t done a day of manual labor in his life.

Of course, commuters, inconvenienced and unaware of anything remotely resembling labor history, sided with the bosses and demanded that workers return to their posts. Now, workers will be required to labor without a contract, as talks are set to resume after the holiday.

Before I start to get the general anti-union rhetoric that is par for the course when unionism and any form of solidarity is mentioned, read some of this post from Confined Space, on what transit workers face in the form of hazards, while conducted their daily transit-related tasks.

If you care to understand why unions are still necessary, here is an interesting discussion about how unions create wages that allow workers to live with some dignity.

I had hoped that Richard, over at Commie Curmudgeon would weigh in on the strike, seeing that he lives in the city and uses public transit. He didn’t let me down.

The current state of unionism is in sorry shape. Rather than being advocates of the worker, too many of labor’s leadership ends up siding with those like Bloomberg, who prefer to exploit the workers, rather than give them a share of the fruits of their daily toil. I hope that New York’s transit workers end up with an equitable contract, but I fear that they’ll be sold out and forced to accept less than they are entitled to under honest bargaining.

As our retail-based economy continues to represent most of the new jobs being created, unions and the power to bargain collectively for living wages will once again become important. We are definitely headed in the wrong direction on pay equity and with corporate mouthpieces working diligently to divide and conquer, things won't improve any time soon.

1 comment:

Crazy Jane said...

excellent blog.