Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New York City Transit Power Play

New Yorkers awoke this morning to a citywide transit shut down, that appears to be more about a union boss flexing his muscles then getting the workers a new contract.

The Transport Workers Union leadership decided to rebuff what looks to be a pretty fair offer from the Metropolitan Transportation Association, according to a story in the NY Post, shutting off most city-based subway and bus service with an illegal strike. Public sector workers in NY are forbidden from striking do a legal statute called the Taylor Law. Union President Roger Toussaint did not seem perturbed at all that he was leading his workers down a path that will cost them two days pay for every day they are on strike, not to mention disrupting the lives of millions of New Yorkers.

In fact I think he loves it.

He has been hankering to shut down the city during the run up to the strike today. You could hear it in his voice, and when he all but eliminated any hope to a settlement Monday evening six hours before the strike deadline by saying things did not look good, despite the MTA offer that was on the table.

I would be surprised if he even bothered to read it.

He has been an activist since grade school. According to a bio of Toussaint by Columbia University said:

In his early teens he associated with activists and trade union organizers. At 17, he was arrested and expelled from school for writing slogans on the walls of school buildings proclaiming "Free Education Means Free Books." Leaving Trinidad and Tobago in 1974, he came to New York and settled in Brooklyn. Continuing his education at Brooklyn College, he took part in student protests against fiscal cutbacks and for minority student programs. After a succession of blue-collar jobs which included work as a welder, he was hired by the Transit Authority as a Cleaner in 1984, becoming a Track Worker in 1985.

He immediately became active in union politics. From his TV interviews he clearly loves the spotlight in the same manner as Al Sharpton.

I believe NY is suffering because an average man has ended up with extraordinary powers, powers wants to flex for all to see.

For Toussaint to lead his workers into a ruinous situation is one thing. They are foolish to follow so it's their own fault. However, when he effects other's ability to earn a living then his actions border on crimminal and unforgivable.


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