Thursday, March 10, 2016

Solidarity for workers!

In New York's Hudson Valley, New Jersey Transit is the train service of necessity for rail riders on the west side, and many thousands here and in New Jersey itself rely on the trains to get to work every day.

So the rail workers' union is showing their solidarity with their fellow workers like this:

Yes sir, the rail guys are going out on an strike on Sunday if they don't get what they want. So, all you people who have to get to work in the city---you can kiss their gold-plated butts.

Okay, I'm not sure if their butts are gold-plated exactly, but it has been my experience that government workers get all kinds of benefits and privileges that workers in the private sector do not get. When someone who has gone to work in any kind of government agency moans that they would have been a rich CEO if they hadn't devoted their lives to public service, I laugh. Yeah, and I could have been a famous movie star if I'd only moved to Hollywood.

The inconvenience will be staggering, maybe insurmountable. You already can barely drive into Manhattan, and the buses are already packed.* The rail workers are planning an action that is going to cost people money, and maybe some of them their jobs.

Now, I'm not saying these rail guys don't work. Maybe there are goldbricks in the pile, but you find that anywhere. It's a job with lousy hours, it requires real skill and technical knowledge, it requires outdoor work in all weather, it's occasionally dangerous, and sometimes people pull an Anna Karenina on the tracks and you're the first one to see it. (Ew.) So there's a lot about the job that makes a nine-to-five desk jockey spot look enviable.

That said, their benefits beat anything you can find in the private sector. They are compensated pretty well and retire young. And they are not underpaid compared to other workers.**

Frankly, government workers in all stripes have done little to inspire me to support them in this job action. It doesn't affect me, since I'm working from home these days, but it does affect 308,523 other people---and it's hard to believe the union is considering them as fellow human beings who need to get to work. More like hostages.

And they say capitalism is heartless.


* Maybe the 1.6 million people in Manhattan, who hate the bridge & tunnel commuters, will laugh at us suburbanites, thinking we should live near our jobs like they do, but they're the same people who fight more and higher housing construction in Manhattan's 23 square miles. So where would they like the commuters to live if they all moved to Manhattan, hm?

** By the way, a round trip from Mahwah to Hoboken costs $21.50, so the train is not a bargain as it stands.

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