I'm racing against the clock grading final exams right now, and don't really have time to do a real entry. This is my excuse. Do you buy it?
I'd like to open the virtual floor for discussion on the transit strike. When I got up yesterday morning, I heard Mimi Rosenberg on WBAI saying the MTA had won a "good contract." Other people I've talked to have characterized it as "phyrric victory" at best. What I hadn't realized when I heard ol' Mimi talking yesterday was that the give back on health care, characterized as 1 + 1/2 percent in the press, amounts to a $34 million dollar give back. Also, when you consider how low the raises they got were (barely cost of living), the give-back on health care means their wage increase is below inflation. But, with the focus on the pension demand getting taken off the table, having workers contribute "just a little" to their health care didn't seem that bad.
Nonetheless, the press carries on their war on the working class. I saw a typical comment in NY magazine yesterday while I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office. In their issue on things to love about NY, make the annoying and inaccurate comment that NYers, who have "nothing against republicans" but save our "real rage for terrorists and dissemblers and possibly a certain transit union that asks for full pensions at age 50." whaa----?
Doesn't that just capture the "Bloomberg democrat" attitude to a T?
So, here's the question. I see Rosenberg's wish to define this as a "good contract" as some effort to see a victory! in the strike instead of adopting a critical attitude of union leadership in such an anti-union climate. It's probably also the product of the low expectations and small-minded incrementalism that characterize labor bureaucrats in general.
What is the solution, oh readers? In an era of what a friend of mine calls "desperation strikes" that are sweeping the country in a mini-strike wave, is it possible to make these efforts victorious rather than disastrous in the long term?