"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Striking Difference

Yesterday Fuasta published a great overview of the New York City transit workers strike and concluded her post with this recommendation:

Enough is enough. Throw Toussaint in jail, fire the striking workers, and get the transport running again.
When we read her post yesterday we thought Fausta was spot on. New York's "Taylor Law" forbids transit workers from striking and Judge Theodore Jones ruled the Transport Workers Union was in contempt of two court injunctions ordering it not to strike. So clearly the strike is illegal.

The Transport Workers Union's international arm did not approve of the local's decision to strike and considers the strike unauthorized:

The International TWU, the union's parent, had urged the local not to go on strike. Its president, Michael O'Brien, reiterated Tuesday that the striking workers were legally obligated to resume working. The only way to a contract, he said, is "not by strike but continued negotiation."
In announcing the work stoppage, Roger Toussaint, president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, said, "Transit workers are tired of being underappreciated and disrespected." Well, so are taxpayers and New York City transit riders Mr. Toussaint. It seems Fausta is not alone with her suggestion:

"I think they all should get fired," Eddie Goncalves, a doorman trying to get home after his overnight shift, told the AP. He said he'll likely spend an extra $30 per day in cab and train fares, according to the AP.
Now along comes James Walcott pointing to Fausta’s post as a "predictable" example of “rightwing bloggers bouncing off their padded walls angrily demanding that the union be crushed and its leaders jailed”.

Watching Roger Toussaint's impassioned, eloquent press conference on NY1--where he laced into the mayor for calling the TWU "thuggish" and "selfish"--reminded me that Steve Gilliard has been unleashing thunder and lightning in his blog on the strike and the racist, anti-union slant of most media coverage.
Right-wing bloggers and doormen are insane because they believe the illegal strikers should be fired if they refuse to return to work? Apparently, Walcott’s definition of insane is anyone who disagrees with his opinion. Perhaps it is Walcott in need of treatment.

As the illegal strike by TWU is causing hardship to millions and costing citizens an estimated $400 million a day, does Walcott really expect to read tributes to the union in the media? And a racist slant in media coverage of this story – give us a break. No better yet, Mr. Walcott give us an example.

Fausta has more here. The Lawhawk here.


At 1:36 PM, Blogger Media In Trouble said...

Ammendment 1:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Taylor law reeks of unconstitutionality. Not what the TWU workers are doing.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Fausta said...

Thank you Enlighten!

Media in trouble, if the Taylor law reeks of unconstitutionality, then it should be challenged through the courts.

Another point in both my posts is that the strike is actually counterproductive to the union itsef. 1. The workers are going without pay,
2. are being fined, and
3. the union is fined millions of dollars for what is, in terms of current employment benefits, a very good deal, all in the name of "future union members".
4. The International TWU is against the strike.
All this, I dare say, weakens the union itself.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger James said...

I'd be curious to see the analysis that supports the curious proposition that the Taylor Law violates the First Amendment.

Parkway Rest Stop

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Ken Adams said...

The Taylor law defines as a crime a strike by unionized public employees. Is a strike free exercise of religion? Kinda strange religion if you ask me, but I doubt that any member of the TWU belongs to a church with this documented as one of its beliefs.

Is it free speech? I doubt it. The Taylor law doesn't prevent any union member or the unions themselves from making public statements of opinion.

Is it peaceable assembly? I'd find it hard to believe that any action putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk of frostbite and blisters is peaceable.

Is it a petition to the Government for redress of a grievance? Not hardly. To my knowledge, there has been no effort by the union to follow the laws regarding such a petition. It is simply an attempt to coercively extract concessions from an employer and expand the personal power of a select few union leaders.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger nightfly said...

Yes - nobody is saying that they don't have the right to peaceably assemble; just that they don't have the right to remain employees of the transit authority while they do. If they want to risk being fired, they have every right to march around in the cold.


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