Well, the Transit Workers decided to give me a lovely welcome-home present by striking on the very day I returned to work. I left my house on Tuesday 2 HOURS before I normally would in order to drive in, spent 2 hours in traffic, then had to park my car over 30 blocks from the store and walk the rest of the way! Yesterday was a bit better, and today was even better still (I suspect fewer people are still here, many people I know have already started to leave on holiday trips, there were noticeably fewer cars at the road blocks), but I still have to walk 1.5 miles each way in the cold AFTER driving for over an hour! This is insane!
The city is hostage to this situation, and who's paying for it? The businesses. Especially small businesses like the one I work for, we have 4 employees, 2 of whom have no way to get to work, so our staff is cut in half automatically by this strike. Our foot traffic has dropped off significantly, since no one can get around and most people aren't going to sit in a $15 cab ride that takes 2 hours just to buy yarn!
And what's this all FOR? For benefits that NO ONE ELSE has! Retirement at 55? Full pensions after 3 years of service? For that matter, a pension at all! It's not like they're fighting for a 5-day/40 hour work week! I think it's ridiculous, and I've been working since I turned 13 and assume I'll be working for the next 40 years. I have no expectation of retiring with a cushy pension, I've set up my own IRA which I contribute to when I can. Why is that good enough for the rest of us, but not for them?
I think the union is being unreasonable. To me, pensions make sense for goverment workers like firefighters and police or EMT workers, who risk their lives for the rest of us. But someone who sells Metrocards from a heated booth? How are they at that level? Since they've already enjoyed these benefits, they're already better off than the rest of us. Now they're costing us our time, income, and even jobs, so they can protect these benefits that the rest of us can't even dream of.
It's incredibly unfair, and I hope the MTA doesn't cave in to their demands. If they do, it'll just encourage this sort of the behavior in the future. The rest of us can't strike when we want to throw a temper tantrum, either. It'll just add insult to injury if we have to live through this only to see it end with the workers getting their demands met.
< / off the soapbox, back to WORK! >