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my morning commute

my morning commute? not bad at all.

i’m lucky, in that where i live is located near suburban rail lines going into manhattan, and those workers aren’t on strike. not everyone is so lucky.

i’m less and less on the side of the union, though i’m still on the side of the workers.

let me explain.

first of all, the commute itself. 10 minute walk to the university heights metro north station. we got tickets last night when we took the same train home after chita rivera.

that show, and chita herself, is amazing, by the way. you go to her show thinking “i’ll bet she’s still got it, for a 72-year-old woman.” and you leave thinking, “she’s still completely got it,” and her age is meaningless, and she could walk out the door and head uptown a few blocks and go play velma kelly in chicago and have not missed a trick. right now, she’s one of the sexiest women i’ve ever seen. you should see this show. trust me.

i digress. the commute itself. 10 minute walk to the university heights metro north station. extra shuttle trains running, so got right on. sat down in very comfortable seats. 18 minutes to grand central. 10 minute walk to work.

$4 one way. my monthly metro card is frozen in the interim, which means that they’ll tack the unused time on at the end when the strike is settled.

it’s actually quicker for me to go this way. and the walks on either end were nice. when we lived in brooklyn, it was a 15-minute walk to the subway, and i’d forgotten how much i enjoyed it. it’s too bad that there aren’t metro north shuttle trains all the time, instead of just now because there is a strike. if there were, and if they took metro cards, i’d be on them all the damn time.

this strike is not going to end well for the union. even the new york times is against them. and after reading this piece in the times, which nicely summarizes the salient points, i’m convinced that the workers are getting a raw deal from their union. the union, to all appearances, went out on strike partially to support the workers’ needs but mostly to address some power vacuum struggle crap between the local union leader and the national union.

the national union which, by the way, is telling the local workers to go back to work. if i were an mta transit worker right now, i’d feel pretty used by my local union.

the mta actually gave in to the union on several points just before the strike deadline, and gave them a pretty damn good offer. which the union didn’t even bother to counter or respond to. that’s crap. that’s not negotiations. that’s using a process for your own political ends. if you don’t like the offer, make a counter offer. that’s why the workers are paying you their dues–to negotiate on their behalf. negotiate.

negotiate.

you know how people say that they hate the war, but still support the soldiers? i say that. and that’s my attitude about this strike. hate the union, support the workers. and i say that as someone who was a dues-paying member of the union in every job i ever had where that was an option.

anyway, there were people in pretty desperate transportation situations yesterday. i’m betting that a lot of them will have solutions in place by today. i overheard one group of people talking about how much of a nightmare it was yesterday when they hadn’t gotten their carpool organized. those people who, apparently, had carpooled in today.

i have to admit that bloomberg, who has limited power to do anything about this, has nevertheless done everything he can and has done a pretty damn good job. the rules about taxis picking up multiple riders and charging flat fees seems to be working. i saw several cabs with a back seat full of people and the light still on showing the cab for hire, indicating that he’d stop for you if you wanted to sit in the front seat. and lots of empty cabs. as i said yesterday, if you have money, this strike is going to affect you not one bit except for a financial hit and some minor inconvenience.

and if you don’t have money, you may be out of luck, which stinks, but you might be able to be resourceful too, which stinks for the transit workers. because the longer this goes, the more that people will be resourceful.

and i’ll bet that this is actually a financial windfall of sorts for the mta. all those people paying more to ride commuter rail, and they are saving lots of salary money they don’t have to pay. i’ll bet they are making out like bandits, or at least they aren’t losing money.

the longer this strike goes, the more likely it is that the union is going to have to settle for less than what they were previously offered.

how does that help the workers?

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