Bananas go to law school, too!


I would feel like a Bad Blogger if I didn't even at least mention the transit strike. Fortunately, I'm not very much affected because the I don't so much need to take the subway to get to the library and, currently, that is the only destination that matters. But, my friends have all been telling me stories of their 5 miles walks to work and such, so I can be vicariously outraged.

Outraged? you say? I thought you were a good-hearted liberal and was all about workers rights. I AM a good-hearted liberal and, usually, I am "all about" workers rights, as you say. However, I think there are exceptions to every rule. And transit workers are one of those exceptions. So are doctors, nurses, garbage collectors, teachers and airplane pilots. (I know, some of these groups are legally barred from striking, so it's a bit of moot point. But following that logic, so are, really, transit workers, per Taylor Act). There's a huge difference between steel mill workers, department store salespeople and food service workers (I know, some of these groups don't have unions, don't get your panties in a bunch) and transit workers. Unfortunately, it's the safety/welfare of the city that gets damaged when they strike. Steel workers strike? Yes, true, steel prices go up, we have to import more - but it gets done and, if you really need your steel, you'll pay a higher price for the limited amount of time. Kinda seems fair, since you've been paying less for steel because (arguably) the steel company has been paying unfair wages to its employees.

However, transit workers provide, I think, an essential service in a city like NYC. There was a transit strike in San Fransisco a couple years back - but NYC is a city like no other in terms of its reliance on public transportation. It's different here -- -and the transit workers know it. Every time I hear a fire truck now, I wonder if someone is going needlessly die because of the transit strike - extra-clogged roads means that emergency vehicles can't get around efficiently.

I've heard a lot about how what the transit workers are asking for isn't unfair - there's a billion dollar surplus, a new MTA administration building with marble floors and the workers are just trying to get a little piece of the pie. Fair enough. I'll give them so much as they deserve whatever they're asking for (cough cough, higher wages than teachers, a 200% higher-than-even-the-most-liberal-account-of-the-inflation-rate raise per year, a retirement age lower than most everyone except air traffic control workers). Fine, given, they deserve it. But I think, as responsible citizens of this here NYC, they have a duty to continue working to provide this service and continue negotiating. Transit workers complain that the MTA is abusing their power and control in order to give them unfair wages. Well, transit workers are abusing their power and control in order to - more than inconvinience - but put the city at a real public health risk - not to mention the economic effects of this strike which grossly outweigh any type of unjustice the union is fighting against. So it's not that the workers "can't" or it's "illegal" - clearly, they can stop showing up to work, that's fine. But looking at it from a purely moral point of view - and I feel like many who support the strikers are doing it because they think that the MTA leaders are morally reprehensible for abusing their power - you need to look at the strikers with those same glasses. I think that it is "wrong," in a sense, to force such congestion in the streets that ambulances can't get to the hospital, force their fellow underpaid workers of the city to walk miles in the freezing weather and, ever the ex-waitress I am, have people who work in the service industry loose their chance at a decent wage themseleves.

See, I don't really like having too much political commentary/opinion on this here bloggie because I usually assume that most people don't particularly care about what I have to say. But such is the world of bloggies, no?

In other news, I have but 36 hours away from being done with my first semester of law school. I officially must say that it is a CRAZY feeling.

Edit: Fair enough, J. Smith. I agree that the whole "Do you KNOW how much teachers make? Or, how much I make?" is a shit argument, I really shouldnt' have mentioned it. And I WILL give the fact that a strike is a method-of-last-resort - it's been a quarter of a century since the last one in this here NYC. However, I think my main point is still valid (as far as I believe...) - if you're going to pull the "it's immoral/'wrong' to have the CEOs have loaded pockets while the people who are actually doing the work not benefit from a billion dollar surplus" - you have to pull that card when you look at the effects of a strike. Unlike a strike of, say, meatpackers, the very safety of an entire city is, hypothetically (and, I'll admit, hyperbolically, kind of) at risk. And, really really, I'm only looking at the instances of emergency vehicles trying to get around in traffic caused by the people who now drive instead of taking public transportation. This little island is one that has been built up with such high density precisely because of the great public transportation system - there just isn't the infastructure to function safely without it. And the transit workers know that - they know they can get a lot of leverage out of a short strike right before the holidays. But is using that leverage "right" or "good" or "moral"? I think that's a different question -- and one which I wouldn't want to answer if someone I loved had a heart attack and wasn't able to get to the hospital quickly enough. I KNOW that's a melodramatic argument, fair enough fair enough. But I don't think it's entirely without merit, either.