Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What Do We Want? Contract! When Do We Want it? NOW....If We Don't Get It? Shut it Down!

That's what we were chanting this afternoon on 3rd avenue and 39th street. I had a hole in my sock and I got cold enough that I didn't stay for all the speeches (you can hear the rebroadcast on "Building Bridges") and there's a good report of another twu rally at Truthout.
ALthough this is a serious turning point for NYC labor, I'm experiencing it like a potential snow day right now. I don't want to go to work tomorrow. I want to stay up reading Theodore Draper's book on Iran and Contra Affairs, and then I want to sleep in till nine, or maybe till noon. I want to walk to the Pakistani stores on Coney Island Ave. and buy garam masala and try making curry. I didn't buy a new weekly metrocard this morning in anticipation of a possible strike. The way I used to when I was in elementary school when the snow was coming down in Georgia, I'm sitting up late, waiting for the announcement that the strike is on. I feel the train rumbling underneath me, and everyone on NY1 is wondering aloud, but none of them seem to have an idea of what will really happen.
The last news I heard on the TV, if NY1's report can be trusted at all, is that the mta is now offering 3%, 4% and 3.5% raises, and pulling back a little on the pension age for new workers - ALTHOUGH they want to institute a 6% give-back for those workers in the first several years to pay for the pensions at 55. That's ridiculous. When unions say "no give backs!" that's the sort of thing they mean. I hate this trend of making people pay for their benefits with increased productivity. They also haven't given any news on the disciplinary complaint questions.
Does anyone really believe that the train workers are slackers who owe the city more productivity? Don't they contribute something to the city, aren't they worth as much as money as Bruce Ratner and his real-estate mogul buddies?
The best thing that could happen would be for this strike to go ahead and for it to turn the trend in the city around. Wouldn't it be great if this was the beginning of the rejetion of the pattern that's squeezing NYC's workers? Wouldn't it be great if people all over the city were emboldened and inspired by the TWU's brave stance? Wouldn't it be great if the Metronorth RR honored the picket lines? It's possible, right?
However, as much as I'd like to be optimistic, I'm nervous as hell. Strikes are hard and an illegal strike is harder. In the long run, I'm concerned about what the result will be for the union and then for the rest of the unions in town.
The TV coverage is all focused on what it will do to business to have the transit workers go out. Well then, I guess that means that the city needs these people to work, and the city/state oughta commit to paying them and giving them the respect they're asking for. And now the question still remains: will they go or won't they? I hope Toussaint et al make an announcement before I fall asleep. Nitey nite.

It's on in Queens, and maybe tomorrow, elsewhere. If you want to get out and support your city's engines, here are the picket locations

All TWU Local 100 Members: Below is a listing of all initial Strike Locations. Report to the one nearest to your home.


Gunhill Depot: 1910 Bartow Avenue

Pelham Barn/Westchester Sq. Yard: Eastchester Rd. & Water Street

Zerega CMF: 750 Zerega Avenue

180th Street Yard: 1151 East 180 Street

West Farms Depot: 1100 East 177th Street

Concourse Yard: 3119 Jerome Avenue

Jerome Yard: Jerome Ave. & Van Courtlandt Ave.

239th St. Barn: 4570 Furman Avenue

240th St. Barn: 5911 Broadway

Eastchester Depot: Interstate 95 at Exit 13

Yonkers Depot: 59 Babcock St.

Tiffany Iron: 1170 Oakpoint Avenue


East New York Depot/Shop: 1700 Bushwick Avenue

Flatbush Depot: Flatbush & Utica Ave.

Coney Island Yard: Avenue X & McDonald

Ulmer Park Depot: Cropsey Ave. & Bay

Jackie Gleason Depot: 871 Fifth Avenue

Pitkin Yard: 1434 Sutter Avenue

Livonia Shop: 824 Linwood Shop

Atlantic Ave/Bergen Street Shop: 1415 Bergen Street

Linden Shop: 1500 Linden Blvd.

Cozine: 50 Cozine Avenue


Fresh Pond Depot: 56-99 Fresh Pond Road

Jamaica Barn: 7815 Grand Central Parkway

Jamaica Depot: 114-15 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.

Corona Barn: 126-53 Willets Point Blvd.

Triboro Coach Depot: 8501 24th Avenue

College Point Depot: 128-15 28th Avenue

Maspeth CMF:

Woodside Electronic Shop: 33-33 54th Street


Kingsbridge Depot: 4065 10th Avenue

207th St. Yard: 3961 10 Avenue

Manhattanville Depot: 666 West 133rd St.

100th Street Depot: 1552 Lexington Avenue at 100th Street

Michael J. Quill Depot: 525 11th Avenue

West 53rd St Power/RCC: 53rd St. btw 8/9

126th Street Depot: 2460 Second Avenue

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you mean Bruce Ratner, the developer, not Michael Ratner, his brother the lawyer. Although Michael Ratner is a part owner in his brother's New Jersey Nets venture.