Friday, December 30, 2005

Workers of the World, Pass out!

If there is anything positive I can take with me from this strike experience is that I know I can walk from East 25th to West 85th without passing out.

There were people who walked farther out and up than I did. I even heard that some people walked from the most outer parts of the outer boroughs to get to work. Ultimately this whole exercise puts the issue of labor in perspective. Those who control the money in our society have over the past 5 decades coerced working people into thinking that we share the same interests as they do. We've been so hoodwinked into thinking that it's better to be Trump than an anonymous person who works for living. We have been told it's better to be rich than being a worker who dares to want or have wages and benefits that won't put us an hour away from the poor house if we do loose our jobs. And while we uphold the pop culture addiction of admiriring the lifestyles of the rich and famous, our basic rights are being taken away from us under our noses. Hence the reason for this strike.

To a lot of people’s minds-those of us who actually take the trains, we would see the Transit worker's proposals and their opposition to the MTA's proposal as "being picky" in the face of sleeping booth operators, rude conductors, etc. But really, none of that shit matters when the principal involved has to do with not letting your job become a McJob for those who follow behind you.

The action itself

But I'm no saint and was out there cursing like everyone else. I was not whistling 'The International' as I was walking some 60 blocks across the city. I was not thinking of solidarity when that cold-assed wind was cutting me in the face from the Hudson, no I'm no angel because I do question the very action of striking in the first place. First of all, it comes down to the TWU leadership. I will always suspect that it had more to do with ego and power than really making a point. Really, how did Bloomberg and the MTA suffer in the past 3 days? Bloomberg walked the bridge with all the other commuters, so he bought their loyalty by taking a stroll with the 'rest of us' therefore fostering albeit, a false sense of solidarity with us riders, but solidarity with the riders nonetheless. A small sacrifice in the face of turning riders against the TWU. To me the strike lacked vision, a real political message, and above all, it lacked the support of the workers who depend on mass transit in the first place. Not one time have I seen a Transit worker leaflet the stations informing us of their plight or political stance against the MTA's proposal. The TWU's actions were no different from that of the boss; fuck the little people, we have power, so we'll do what we want, when we want!

Anyway, we're glad it's over for now, but what about the contract? Transit workers went back to work without anything resolved. The 'framework' for their contract can go on tabling for the next year or so. It looks like they too are fucked like we were in the past 3 days.