Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Striking New York transit workers fined $1 million by judge

We're all for workers' rights, but we oppose this strike in New York City. There are many middle and low income people in New York who rely on mass transit to get around the city.

The transit workers are hurting other workers by making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to get to work, and we can't support that. Even the New York union's parent, the International Transit Workers Union, had urged the local not to strike. But they did.

Now they've been fined:
A state judge found New York City's transit workers in criminal contempt for walking off the job Tuesday and ordered the union's Local 100 to pay $1 million each day the strike continues.

"This is a very very sad day in the history of labor relations in New York City," said State Supreme Court Judge Theodore Jones.
The union has vowed to appeal the fine, calling it "crippling".

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the union are both at fault in this dispute, for failing to break the deadlock. Nevertheless, the union has made it a lot worse by deciding to strike.

New York has America's largest transit system. Its workers seem to think they can hold the city (and its residents) hostage, boasting "We Move NY".

It's hard to feel sympathetic for people who are arrogant.

These kind of tactics will inevitably lead to a backlash against the union, and against organized labor in general, which is something America doesn't need. The transit workers union ought to call off its strike and get back to work.

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