Editorialists don’t like walking to work. A sampling from today’s pissed-off New Yorkers. The Daily News:

Roger Toussaint, we dare you to take to the Brooklyn Bridge this morning to tell the cold, walking throngs why you chose to disrupt the lives of millions…. It would be delicious watching you try to justify the reckless, lawless transit strike that you have inflicted on the city – assuming your fellow New Yorkers didn’t hurl you over the railing into the icy waters before you got a word out.

The Post:

Let’s not mince words: Transport Workers Union President Roger Toussaint stabbed millions of New Yorkers in the back yesterday — and then he ran and hid for most of the day. That makes him a thug. And a coward.

The Observer:

The Transit Workers Union, consisting of some 34,000 or so lawbreakers and led by an arrogant boss named Roger Toussaint, apparently believes the riding public will sympathize with its ludicrous demands. As usual, the union bosses and their sheep-like members have it exactly wrong.

The Sun:

The New York transit strike begun today is a blatantly illegal act of economic sabotage by a union so selfish that it is willing to destroy one of the most important business weeks in the city in a last-ditch attempt to preserve privileges that most private sector employees can only dream of — like the ability to retire at age 55 with a full pension, or the ability to not contribute at all to health insurance costs.

Even The Times:

Mr. Toussaint should not have the ability to hold the city hostage. That he can do so says little about the leadership on the other side of the table. The executives of the M.T.A. answer to Gov. George Pataki. We understand that Mr. Pataki has higher aspirations, but it was a bad call to visit New Hampshire as the first strike deadline approached and the city was increasingly anxious.

Blogger’s transit-strike T-shirt:

ask my about MY last raise

  • Civil Service and Union

    I am very pro union. Unions in general are the workers only defense against arbitrary actions. However, no one has the need or the right to attack New York. The city has been loosing jobs for years. Because of the world being flat and the fear of terrorism companies have been thinking of leaving big cities. This strike will hasten this. The strikers are a lot like Osama Bin Laden.


    GIMME FREE PENSION AT AGE 25! Why? Cause I deserve it. And you pay for it. Otherwise you are a captialistfascistexploiterscab. Capitalism bad, me very poor, don’t work hard cause I don’t get profits. Gimme gimme.

  • Pingback: Hammer of Truth » NYC TWU Strike: Day Two()

  • Breaking the law to protect jobs and quality of workplace = illegal and “a lot like bin Laden”

    Breaking the law to spy on U.S. citizens without proper authorization = apparently not even worth mentioning on this blog

    I love the law-and-order crowd’s Oval Office-shaped blind spot…

  • Civil Service and Union

    Dear Jersey Exile: The strike stinks and illegal spying stinks. They are both stinky but the topic at hand is the criminal attack on NYC.

  • Great post! The strike is an outrage, pure and simple. Who needs the grinch when you’ve got Local 100? Today I posted more details on the economic impact of the strike (so far).

  • elmegil

    Those damn liberal journalists! Always backing the Unions!


  • John

    Watching the live reports this morning when the local news came on at 4 a.m., on WABC, it was amazing to see the volume of traffic trying to get below 96th Street before the HOV-4 regulations went into effect at 4 a.m. At the same time, the reporters on the New York-based national newscasts were literally spitting out the current wage and benefits package for the TWU before listing their new requests, as if to hammer home the point of how good a package the subway and bus workers already have compared to your average private sector employee. They were without a doubt the least-sympathetic union stories to make it onto the national news, or in the case of the New York Times, into print in a long, long time.

    The old saying is a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. In the case of many of the transit strike news stories and editorials, a conservative-angled report comes from a liberal who had to wake up two hours early and walk two miles to work in 23-degree temperatures. It will be interesting to see how Toussant, and the faction in the TWU that thinks he should be even more hardline towards the MTA, react to this tsunami of negative press.

  • Here’s my contribution.

  • Civil Service and Union,

    You’re the one who’s comparing the transit strike to an act of terror. Hyperbolic much?

  • James

    (1) The MTA is running a $1 billion surplus.

    (2) The other municipal unions (teachers, fire, police) did give plenty of concessions to the city, but received significantly higher raises than the TWU would get.

    (3) On healthcare and pensions: Dividing the union between the current employees and the new hires is purely an attempt at unionbusting. That’s what management is supposed to do, I guess – but that doesn’t mean we should let them get away with it. By creating 2 tiers of employees, the MTA hopes to sow division within the membership, turning workers against each other in future bargaining. That’s reprehensible – I was happy to hear that TWU members were unwilling to “mortgage” the future employees in order to get quick gains.

    Furthermore, on Monday night the MTA introduced a new last-minute pension proposal that changed new hire pension contributions from 2% to 6% – a major change that led to the strike. Interestingly, the NY Times reports that this proposal would save the MTA a paltry $20 million over 3 years.

    (4) The MTA has a particularly draconian set of disciplinary rules and procedures. With 34,000 employees, there are current 15,000+ active grievances relating just to discipline. The TWU has said repeatedly that they will compromise on the wage increases (which hardly amount to 25%) if the MTA will lighten up in this area.

    An example of the MTA’s discipline: If you call out sick, the MTA sends a supervisor to your house to make sure you’re really there. Would you be happy if your boss gave you so little trust?

    (5) Pataki and Bloomberg have been acting in a particularly “reprehensible” fashion (to use Bloomberg’s new favorite word) in this dispute. Both kept low profiles and said they had no control during the negotiations. Now, both are grandstanding and saying that the MTA should not negotiate until the strike is called off. Talk about two-faced!

    For a bonus bit of pot-calling-the-kettle-black, see the Village Voice

    (6) The strike has been called illegal under the Taylor Law. I’m uncomfortable with telling *anyone* not to strike, but I can see fire and police. Still, the strike is illegal – fine. But would you have opposed law-breaking in the civil rights movement? Ever hear of civil disobedience? Sometimes the rule of law isn’t everything. This union will pay a penalty for their actions – if they pay the consequences, how are they not justified?

    Furthermore, all strikes used to be “illegal”. It was only through these “illegal” actions that workers were able to obtain the current “right” to strike.

  • James
  • Interesting that the NY Times editorial came out strongly against the union, but the adjacent letters to editor column has only letters supporting the strikers and blaming the governor and the mayor for not intervening.
    It’s hard to judge public opinion from the selection since we don’t know how representative the letters are.

    One might think it was some sort of set up to promote union busting according to my impression of some of the writers.

  • John

    The Taylor Law’s enaction was in exchange for allowing collective bargaining for public sector employee unions. It was created as a reaction to the 1966 NYC transit strike, and included amnesty for the TA workers who walked out during that strike. Eliminate the Taylor Law and the MTA’s right to take action against workers above the current fines would also be increased, under the 1947 law it replaced.

    As for the MTA’s budget surplus, go look at the bond debt the agency is facing in the next few years, as part of the money to buy all those new subway cars (with over 1,000 more coming in the next three years) and the new bond issue to help fund the Second Ave. subway. Pataki and Kalikow pushed the bond debt repayment back to the end of the decade to make the current books — and themselves — look better, while saddling Gov. Spitzer or whoever’s in office then with the problem of repayment. The “surplus” makes Pataki look fiscally responsible to the public inside and outside of New York (good for someone thinking about running for president in 2008, but he loses that with GOP voters if the MTA caves on the contract), and the $1 billion number may make Roger Toussant’s mouth water, but it’s a fraud, and is only real is you assume the Metrocard Fairy is going to fly in and dump several billion dollars of surplus funds into the MTA coffers over the next five years (which will happen only if the Metrocard Fairy raises the fare to $3 bucks or so).

  • Ben

    Jersey in Exile,

    Yes, callng them terrorists is hyperbolic. But the point is, both groups willingly cause tremendous economic damage in pursuit of their aims. The TWU hasn’t killed anyone- yet. As people who need access to the city’s medical services- which are simply not available elsewhere- are unable to obtain these services and begin to die, this may change. Even more so, as economic damage inevitably causes real physical suffering and a lowering of health standards, the strike will cause injury and death, although in an indirect, statistical way.

    The people hardest hit are the poor, and the lower wage workers. Look at the closed shops. The owners of businesses will ride it out. (pardon the choice of words) The workers who sweep floors and stack boxes will suffer, their income will be reduced, and they will make economic choices which hurt. This is a certainty.

    The Union wants free health care. To get this, they condemn a lower wage worker, who buys health care for his/her family out of his/her own pocket or contributes a percentage to an employer program, to lost wages, and therfore, lost health care.

    People will suffer.

    And here you are talking about the NSA spying thing. No one suffers from that, unless you count indignation, which in times like this, I don’t. If you think for one moment that having the NSA track your phone call to cousin Hassan is somehow on par with having the TWU tell you you won’t be able to afford you kid’s health care because you won’t be able to get to work, you simply don’t understand life as a lower wage worker.

  • Rob

    The union is running scared. They know damn well that automation is going to cost them hundreds or thousands of jobs over the next decade. They’re just trying to hold back the tide.

    There used to be a time when the union existed to protect workers from their management. Now, the unions seem to exist mostly to protect their workers from the future.

    It’s a losing proposition.

  • Ben,

    Yes, calling them terrorists is hyperbolic. But the point is, both groups willingly cause tremendous economic damage in pursuit of their aims.

    Then anyone who does anything at any time which has any economic impact on any other person is the moral equivalent of a terrorist in your book? Ah, yes. It’s much clearer now. The HMOs and the elected officials they’ve tainted with their money into accepting the awful status quo aren’t responsible for Little Jimmy not having affordable health care, it’s that al-Qaeda cell calling itself the TWU.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight. (Who pays for your health care, btw?)

    And I wasn’t equating illegal government surveillance with illegal strike declarations except to point out that the commentariat who is so foaming at the mouth at this walkout’s illegality seem to enjoy selectively applying their law-and-order shtick as their personal politics dictate.

  • Civil Service and Union

    Jersey Exile is correct. There are a lot of things socking it to the people. I agreethat they are dishonest and evil. Congress is mostly bought and paid for. However, New york is under attack by arrogant punks, the transit union. No strike against the people should be allowed to succeed. The mayor should fire them all. The full effect will be felt in the coming years as more and more companies leave NY.

    I truely believe that these transit guys are terrorists.

  • Ben

    Jersey in Exile

    >>Then anyone who does anything at any time which has any economic impact on any other person is the moral equivalent of a terrorist in your book?

  • Ben

    Jersey in Exile

    >>Then anyone who does anything at any time which has any economic impact on any other person is the moral equivalent of a terrorist in your book?

    You used the word “Any”, Jersey. I used the word “Tremendous”. There is a big difference. Learn it, live it, love it.

  • Ben,

    You’re playing fast and loose with that “tremendous” scale, though. The destruction of the World Trade Center and years of economic fallout versus a couple of days of lost productivity and sales. So when the President visits Manhattan and his motorcade holds up traffic all day, does that count as economic terrorism as well in your book?

  • HA

    Jersey Exile,

    Breaking the law to spy on U.S. citizens without proper authorization = apparently not even worth mentioning on this blog

    I love the law-and-order crowd’s Oval Office-shaped blind spot…

    Given all your apparent indignation about Bushitler’s abuse of power for spying on overseas terrorists’ domestic contacts, I’m sure you’ll be the first to call for the immediate release of the Barrett Report? After all, the people the Clinton administration monitored without warrants weren’t even terrorist contacts.

    I love the leftists civil-liberties crowd’s Oval Office-shaped blind spot…not to mention their gross hypocrisy.

  • HA

    BTW, the TWU workers are NOT terrorists. They are extortionists.

  • HA,

    That’s all you’ve got? “Clinton did it too”? You’d think that shtick would get old after five years or so…

    (I’m against all illegal spying by our government, no matter who’s in office. Smart conservatives are starting to realize that standing by your man when they pull shenanigans like Bush has means everyone in our country loses. What’s your excuse?)

  • Gray

    Well, how high was your last raise, Jeff? How high is your income in comparison to a MTA worker? 150%? 200%? 300%?

  • Gray

    And another question: If the salary and retirement benefits of MTA workers are so fantastic, why don’t you work there?

  • HA

    Jersey Exile,

    That’s all you’ve got?

    No, actually there’s more. Bush did NOT illegally spy on anyone. What Bush authorized was perfectly legal according to former Clinton associate Attorney General John Schmidt as well as “liberal” academic Cass Sunstein:,0,3553632.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed

    There are plenty of others who agree.

    So not only is your indignation hypocritical, it is also based on a false premise. And I suspect it is also insincere. You are obviously looking for an excuse to take a gratuitous slap at Jeff’s liberal credentials. I thought that was Oliver’s job?

  • Ben

    Some things are art, not science. Tremendous is not a fixed point. Tremendous is, I knows it when I sees it.

    If the Mayor is being honest about 400 million a day lost, it is definitely Tremendous. Judging by the numbers of stores I see closed its tremendous. It might not be 9-11 Tremendous, but that’s just right off the scale of things. Toussaint isn’t Osama, either, but he might be a junior league Capone wannabe. But however you look at it, it’s pretty freakin big. Right now, stores are closed all over the place and retail and delivery workers from Queens and Brooklyn who can’t retire at 55 and can’t get paid for these lost days are being hit hard. It looks tremendous from where I see it, and if that’s playing fast and loose with a word, welcome to New Freakin York, playing fast and loose is what we do best.

    Yeah, I do wish they’d get the damn motorcades out of New York City, but that’s another problem entirely! (And not related to our current crisis) The UN is on the river, so why can’t those bozos can’t get there by boat?

    Ya know, when you think about it, you can’t be both a terrorist and a union leader. The terrorist has to get really hard working followers, and can’t promise them health care or a defined benefits pension. Although early retirement, yes.

    I would love to see the “Jehadis on Strike, No Carbombings Without Higher Wages” picket lines start to appear in the Middle East.

    So what are you demanding here, Achmed? “Simply that we are appreciated. Costs of explosives go up every year. We provide a vital service, without us, who would behead the infidels? We demand the Imams provide us a contract we can live with, however short that living might be, or in’shallah there shall be no more blowing up of hotels.”


  • Ben


    Simple answer: Many people ARE trying to work there. There is a waiting list YEARS long. 30 applicants for every position filled!

    Ever see the MTA have to recruit, the way the NYPD does? Me neither.

    Name another career field with an applicant backlog like that.

    hmm. Okay. Point taken. Name another, OUTSIDE the sports and entertainment world.

  • D

    Typo: that T-shirt should certainly read “Ask *me* about MY last raise,” link notwithstanding.

  • Gray_

    “30 applicants for every position filled!
    Ever see the MTA have to recruit, the way the NYPD does? Me neither.
    Name another career field with an applicant backlog like that.” Ben

    MTA job offers are here:
    NYC unemployment rate here:

    Ben, do you ever fact check your comments before posting? :-|

  • the TWU has a website where you can get a wealth of information about the 2005 strike at:

  • TWU Local 100 members can visit the Toussaint Unity Slate website at: Toussaint Unity Slate website