Light at the End of the Tunnel

The good news is in that an end to the strike is imminent, but I have to say: our news commentators and leaders need a “Labor History 101.” I’ve been astonished at he amount of times I’ve heard someone say “You don’t get anything done by breaking the law” – a comment first articulated by Mayor Mike Bloomberg – because of course that’s not true at all. Every major strike in this country had injunctions thrown at it, fines levied, and involved some law-breaking by the strikers. Susan B. Anthony broke the law when she registered to vote, Rosa Parks when she sat down on that bus.

It goes to show that the law is often there to protect the owners and the people who already have power.

I am especially disgusted with Bloomberg. Bloomberg calling Toussaint a “thug” is out of the 1920s. It has been a long time that union leaders have been respected participants at the bargaining table. The rhetoric was a kind of flashback, to me, of the era of Carnegie and the Ludlow Massacre – though of course things didn’t become as bad as that.

The larger issue at stake still seems to be the fact that the MTA is a bossy boss, that TWU workers don’t feel respected or heeded when they suggest changes.

4 Replies to “Light at the End of the Tunnel”

  1. I think a lot of those commentators and leaders know their labor history. They say these things to try to convince the public that they are right and the workers wrong for going on strike.

  2. The real issue is that Pataki paid for his tax cuts (and thus bought three terms as governor) by running the state on borrowed money. That included not paying the state’s share of the MTA capital budget, which forced the MTA to borrow, which produced the debt that now absorbs 20% of its budget, which is why the MTA has deficits looming as far as the eye can see, which is why they want to cut worker benefits.

  3. Well, and dubya seems to have accomplished a lot by breaking the law. He’s even proud of it. And the good folks at Enron sure did get rich from breaking the law.

    Oh. He means when the little people break the law. Fppppt.

    I can’t say that I’m surprised. Afterall, wasn’t this the same guy who said that protesting at the GOP convention was a “privelege” that could be revoked if abused?

  4. Back about 40 yrs ago a great Transit Union leader said “The judge can drop dead in his black robes and we won’t end this strike.”

    Mike Quill died shortly thereafter, but he’ll never be forgotten. Mayor John V. Lindsay’s political career ended with the uncleared snow in Queens.

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