Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New York Transit Strike: FIRE THEIR ASSES!

This morning, for the first time in over 25 years, the New York City transit workers went on strike, leaving over four million people without a way to get to work. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg called the strike "morally reprehensible", and I must say I agree with him here. Transit strikes are not like the strikes the may affect a normal company. With a normal company, when workers go on strike, that company is the only one affected. However, transit workers provide a service to the entire city, and when they go on strike, it affects the entire population of a city.

In a city like New York, the effects of a transit strike are particularly acute. Most New Yorkers rely on public transit to get to work - even Michael Bloomberg, New York's billionaire mayor, takes the subway to work. As millions of New Yorkers can attest this evening, when you shut down the public transportation system, what results is a virtual domino effect:

  • People who own cars may try to take them to work.
  • The extra cars clog roads and bridges.
  • Eventually, the intersections on roads get congested to the point that "gridlock" conditions exist, where vehicles may be stuck for hours trying to go a relatively short distance.

In addition to people getting stuck in their cars on the way to work, emergency vehicles such as police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances can get stuck in the same gridlock. And, when one of these vehicles is delayed due to traffic, people can die waiting for an ambulance, houses can burn to the ground waiting for the fire trucks, and crimes can go on undeterred by police cars stuck in traffic.

It is for reasons like this that New York has the Taylor Law, making transit strikes in New York illegal: they shut down the entire city, and pose a real safety problem for all seven million people who live in the city.

How many people died today because of the transit union's illegal walkout? How many people died waiting for an ambulance to arrive? How many babies were born in the back seats of cars stuck in gridlock? How many mothers died from childbirth complications because they couldn't make it to the hospital in time? How many people died in fires today that could have been saved if the fire department got there just a few minutes earlier? If any lives were lost like this today, the transit workers union caused their deaths.

Earlier today, it was announced that the Transit Workers Union would face a million dollars per day in fines as long as they're out on strike. This may sound like a lot of money, but when you realize that this illegal strike is costing city businesses over $600 million a day, a million dollars a day in fines is chump change. Not to mention, with 37,000 transit workers, that's just $27 per worker per day. Laughable.

I think much more serious measures are warranted for such a blatant flaunting of the law....

Measure #1 - a good firing: To quote Michael Bloomberg, the transit workers "turned their backs" on New York today. I say that New York should return the favor: FIRE THEIR ASSES! Don't give them an opportunity to come back to work. Anyone who wilfully creates the mayhem that was created today, and recklessly endangers the lives of as many people as they did today deserves nothing less. Reagan did it to the air traffic controllers in 1981 - and air traffic controllers are much harder to replace than subway operators.

Measure #2 - class-action lawsuit: The transit strike is estimated to be costing $600 million a day to New York businesses, not to mention lost wages and other costs for New Yorkers themselves. I think New Yorkers should take it out on the union's hide. All it would take is for an enterprising New York law firm to sign up as many plaintiffs as they could and go after the transit union and each of the 37,000 workers who are on their illegal strike and milk them for everything they're worth.

Measure #3 - criminal charges: If someone does die in New York as a result of ambulances caught in gridlock or fire trucks unable to reach a burning building in time, the TWU leadership should be held criminally responsible for that person's death. A murder charge is probably a bit too severe, but manslaughter or reckless endangerment probably are not.

Update: December 21

There seem to be a lot of very pissed off New Yorkers visiting my blog these days. Here are a sampling of some of the keywords that have been bringing New Yorkers here to this blog from Google (with my comments in italics):

  • nyc strike fire them all (this guy doesn't pull any punches does he)
  • NYC Strike Ronald Reagan Fire (hmm.. being fired by Ronald Reagan's ghost... wouldn't that be a good theme for a horror film)
  • transit union strike ronald reagan (another horror movie fan)
  • transit strike, air traffic controllers, reagan (someone else making the connection)
  • bloomberg firing transit workers (I wish.. )
  • transit strike illegal (yes, it is)
  • ronald reagan fires striking workers (yes, he did... and someone else should learn from his example in this case)
  • new york transit workers fired taylor law (another "I wish"...)
  • fire all transit workers (YES!!!!)

Sounds like more than a few New Yorkers agree with the theme of this post: FIRE THEIR ASSES!