August has some thoughts on the upcoming possible transit strike, which local media are already covering with the sort of hysteria which really should be reserved for the news that a large meteor is hurtling directly toward 34th Street and 5th Avenue.
The first complaint, of course, is against the union’s salary requests: the news is already stating the union demands a 24% pay increase. That’s not even misleading, it’s just wrong. The union’s initial demand was an increase of 8% each year for the three years of the contract. Perhaps it’s high, but it’s a bargaining point, not to mention a reasonable request in terms of cost-of-living math in New York. Since then, the union has lowered their offer to 6% each year. The city, however, stands by its demand that the union gets nothing.
The other major complaint is my favorite, which is the fervent anger that these subway and bus operators- who do they think they are- don’t deserve whatever high salaries they are already getting. To which I address as follows:
You don’t want their job, though. Everyone complains that the subway drivers are making too much money. No one suddenly gets up and decides to quit their job at the firm and start operating subways. Maybe because deep down inside you know it’s a hard laborious task, with insane hours and almost no recognition- as the local papers have so generously reminded us.