Wednesday, December 21, 2005


The Transit Workers Union Local 100 really screwed up on this one, I think.

If you were Roger Toussaint, would you go on strike under the following conditions:

  • It's against the law and you will assuredly face crippling fines of up to $1 million for every day you remain on strike

  • Your union members could each be fined individually and will lose two days pay for every day they remain on the picket line

  • You didn't have the backing of the wider International Transit Workers Union

  • You consequently didn't have the resources that only the International TWU could provide to withstand the economic blow of the fines and firings

  • You've been without a contract for three years, but choose to strike five days before Christmas - thereby causing the NYC economy to take a significant shot to the jaw

  • You risk upsetting and losing the sympathy of your base of support: NYC commuters - arguably the toughest, most volatile, most resilient group of citizens there is

  • You've been given a deal more equitable than anything the MTA had previously offered, and comparably more generous than that offered any transit worker union local in any major city in the U.S.

I don't know how Mr. Toussaint got the job he now has as leader of this ill-fated movement, but I'll bet he doesn't have a copy of Sun-Tzu on his bookshelf.

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