Transit workers in New York City face some of the toughest working conditions of any public employees. Management is heavy handed, historically and today, working class workers lives are being vilified by Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York. Are adequate retirement benefits and fair health care so unreasonable? The Transit Workers Union isn’t asking for new benefits, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority is sitting on a One Billion Dollar surplus ($1,000,000,000). The Working Families Party of New York City, an emerging grassroots democratic party, issued this statement:
The Transport Workers are
taking a beating in the press. They are an easy target for right-wing
editorialists. And the Governor and the Mayor get to act macho and denounce
Roger Toussaint and his members.
It’s true that the strike is
a huge inconvenience. That’s the point of a strike. But you have to ask yourself
– why would 38,000 men and women take the extreme step of walking off the job.
The answer is, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a really lousy
The press reports that the
strike is about wages and pensions. And of course it is about both. But it’s
also about the intangible quality of respect. If you talk to a bus driver
or subway motorman, you constantly hear about how disregarded they feel by their
employer. Had the MTA built a culture of respect and cooperation these last
years, the atmosphere at the bargaining table might well have allowed for a
For the WFP, the choice is
clear. However much we wish the subways and buses were running, we also know
that sometimes people have to take a stand. Call the MTA, join a picket (see
below), push back against the “they should be satisfied with what they’ve got”
mentality (25 years underground, they deserve every penny).
And while you’re at it, click
here and support the WFP in our end-of-year fund drive. A strong WFP means we can do more to win
elections, support our brothers and sisters in times of need, and promote our
Many thanks for your support
— moral, political and financial.
Jim Duncan, Bertha Lewis, and Bob
WFP Executive Director