Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Walking to Work...Strike Day 2

So...I was lucky enough to take yesterday off and avoid all of the mass hysteria as people tried to make it into their respective offices and get on with their lives while trying not to discuss the big white elephant (hmmm white elephant...is that racist?) in the middle of the room.

Thankfully Day 2 of The Roger Toussaint Transit Nightmare seemed to go a little better and I even lucked out on getting a ride over the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan rather than having to make that trek on foot. Out of 10 people in the office, only 4 of us are here and the psychotic one who seems to like taking time off is pretty much refusing to even come in or make an attempt at trying to come into the office which means I get to do her work. Of course, it is about a 2 hour walk into work for me which I'm not thrilled about but I'm here. I thought it would take longer but apparently I walk faster than I thought and was at the Queensboro Bridge in under an hour.

One of the rumors going around the office is that if you stay home from work due to the strike you have to use any of your personal or vacation days you may have left this year. If you don't have any left over, they will (supposedly) come out of your 2006 allotment. Well, if that is the case and people do start losing their vacation days, it's gonna create a ruckus. I can understand letting people have the first day of the strike off if it will cause a burden on THAT day. But after that you should have at least figured out a way to get into the office. Trust me, I put in a good couple of hours online looking to see where the pedestrian entrances are on the bridges I would have to cross so I could get over them with no problems. I didn't enjoy having to make the trek today but I did it because 1) my boss asked me to and I know he could use the help and 2) because the psycho isn't coming in and her work has to get done and there's no one else available to do it. I have four vacation days I could burn off but I'm being a team player on this one so hopefully it will pay off for me in the end. Tomorrow I'm thinking about breaking out the rollerblades which would kill my lower back but get me into the office much quicker. I just hope I can rememebr how to brake properly so I don't kill myself going down some of the bridges. I wish I still had a bike.

As for the strike, I'm on the side of the MTA on this one. I saw what the workers there are making which is significantly more than I am AND they get paid overtime which I don't. They also apparently get free medical care when they retire (which can be as early as 55 -- and they wanted to reduce that to 50!). Toussaint said something about how they didn't want to sell out their "unborn" which I thought was a ludicrous statement because he apparently isn't looking at what the cost of healthcare or pensions will be when the baby boomers retire. He says the workers created the surplus but they didn't. While NYC is clearly a pro-union town, the citizens who ride the MTA every everyday aren't especially appreciative of what's going on or what has happened. This intensified (especially for me) when Toussaint ordered the strike after being told by his national parent union that they did not support the strike and they needed to get back to the negotiating table and when some union leaders said that Toussaint wasn't fully forthcoming with them over the terms of the MTA's offer. Frankly, in my evil world of worlds, I hope that the strike lasts long enough so that it totally wipes out their raise for next year and in fact, I hope it puts them in a deficit so they can all look at Toussaint and say, "And why did we strike when we're making less this year?"

What really galls me is that he thinks the $1 million per day fine that was levied against him and the TWU is excessive.

You know what's excessive? Crippling NYC to the tune of $300-400 million a day. That's excessive.

Toussaint, come out of your fantasy land and into reality. You had a damn good deal on the table that I would be thrilled to have if I was an employee. You walked away to make a point that seems to be biting you on the butt as two-thirds of the city is AGAINST you and the union right now. If I really wanted to make a statement against your leadership of the union, I'd probably consider walking to work every day just so you and your union don't get a dime of my money.

Who knows I may do it anyway.
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