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Old July 5 2013, 10:30 PM   #31
iguana_tonante
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
I take it you never had to strike to defend your rights or keep your wage above the poverty line.
Actually, no.
Guessed so.

Now for a shocking revelation: other people are, like, not you. We can't all be self-employed. And striking is pretty much the only way for workers to have their voices heard.

But maybe that's the point: employees have to be punished, because they are not "job creators". Stagnate wages in a time of increasing cost of living, make firing easier and faster, increase job insecurity, took away the means of fighting back. A great recipe for another economic crisis.

MacLeod wrote: View Post
. A possible example from a few years ago where that might not be the case is when French Fishermen blokaded the channel ports on there side of the Channel, last I chekced EU law allows for unrestriced movement of goods/peoples and services between member nations. Wouldn't a blocakde run counter to that EU law?

Now of course they have the right to strike, but they could have striked by just leaving their boats in dock.
I am not familiar with that story, but given your summary I would tend to agree with you. On the other hand, there are large grey areas in the topic of labour rights and issues, so every instance has to be judged on its own merit.
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Old July 5 2013, 10:37 PM   #32
marksound
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

We can't all be self-employed. And striking is pretty much the only way for workers to have their voices heard.
Wrong.

Everyone can do something. Look around. Every single independent business started with someone having an idea, not wanting to work for someone else.

What do you do best? How can you make that into an income producing proposition?

Even the lowly "ditch digger" can start his own business and be wildly successful if he's willing to work at it.

Saying that not everyone can be self employed is a self-defeating attitude. If that's what you believe about yourself, then you are destined to live at the station in life you have chosen.
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Old July 5 2013, 10:37 PM   #33
JarodRussell
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Everyone should be allowed to strike. Public institutions can exploit their employees just like private companies.


Carcazoid wrote: View Post
We can't all be self-employed. And striking is pretty much the only way for workers to have their voices heard.
Wrong.

Everyone can do something. Look around. Every single independent business started with someone having an idea, not wanting to work for someone else.

What do you do best? How can you make that into an income producing proposition?

Even the lowly "ditch digger" can start his own business and be wildly successful if he's willing to work at it.

Saying that not everyone can be self employed is a self-defeating attitude. If that's what you believe about yourself, then you are destined to live at the station in life you have chosen.
If everyone was self-employed, there would be billions of one-person-companies.
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Old July 5 2013, 10:45 PM   #34
Timewalker
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Timewalker wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
I take it you never had to strike to defend your rights or keep your wage above the poverty line.
Actually, no.
Guessed so.

Now for a shocking revelation: other people are, like, not you. We can't all be self-employed. And striking is pretty much the only way for workers to have their voices heard.

But maybe that's the point: employees have to be punished, because they are not "job creators". Stagnate wages in a time of increasing cost of living, make firing easier and faster, increase job insecurity, took away the means of fighting back. A great recipe for another economic crisis.
Now for another shocking revelation: I, like, know that other people are, like, not me. Like I am me, and they, like, are themselves (not sure if I have this ridiculous affectation down right; forgive me, since I never learned "valley-girl" speech).

I am well aware that the employees are mostly the ones who buy the products and services that are offered by the employers. As I've said to more than one huffy person, "It's people like me who help keep people like you in business." So needlessly pissing off the employees is actually pretty stupid.

Now if the local Wal-Mart employees (bad example, I know, since few of them have unions) went on strike, it would inconvenience me, but there are other places I can shop.

However, if the public transit employees went on strike, I'd be basically homebound unless I could get a taxi. We already don't have enough taxis in my city when everything is normal. It would be a nightmare if the bus drivers went on strike.

(and kindly do not tell me to drive, carpool, walk, bike, etc. I do not drive, do not own a car, have no family in town who can drive, and I'm physically disabled. I do walk as much as I can, but some trips are simply out of the question on foot.)
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Old July 5 2013, 10:47 PM   #35
marksound
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Everyone should be allowed to strike. Public institutions can exploit their employees just like private companies.


Carcazoid wrote: View Post
We can't all be self-employed. And striking is pretty much the only way for workers to have their voices heard.
Wrong.

Everyone can do something. Look around. Every single independent business started with someone having an idea, not wanting to work for someone else.

What do you do best? How can you make that into an income producing proposition?

Even the lowly "ditch digger" can start his own business and be wildly successful if he's willing to work at it.

Saying that not everyone can be self employed is a self-defeating attitude. If that's what you believe about yourself, then you are destined to live at the station in life you have chosen.
If everyone was self-employed, there would be billions of one-person-companies.
And that's a bad idea ... why?

Nobody seems to like corporations these days, so what wrong with people working for themselves?
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Old July 5 2013, 10:56 PM   #36
publiusr
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

And many of those start ups fail. But you still need to eat. We live in a country where the iron law is that I make more money if I pay you less. If you are a contractor, I force you to go at odds and underbid competitors. This drives wages down as each company (one man or no) starts cutting. The NLRB kept Boeing from going to a right-to-work state. The only way we can keep living wages is to fight for them.
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Old July 5 2013, 11:04 PM   #37
marksound
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

publiusr wrote: View Post
And many of those start ups fail. But you still need to eat. We live in a country where the iron law is that I make more money if I pay you less. If you are a contractor, I force you to go at odds and underbid competitors. This drives wages down as each company (one man or no) starts cutting. The NLRB kept Boeing from going to a right-to-work state. The only way we can keep living wages is to fight for them.
You're right. Most startups fail. That's experience toward the next venture.

And that's the way of the world. If I can do the same of better job at a price that the customer is willing to pay, I get the job. The more jobs I get, the more money. Then I can afford to pay my employees more and provide better benefits.

You're looking at this all wrong.

I want the best people doing the best job, so I will pay as much as I can afford. If my people strike and demand more than I can pay, they will ultimately shut me down and force me to fire all of them.

How is that better?
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Old July 5 2013, 11:08 PM   #38
iguana_tonante
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
However, if the public transit employees went on strike, I'd be basically homebound unless I could get a taxi. We already don't have enough taxis in my city when everything is normal. It would be a nightmare if the bus drivers went on strike.

(and kindly do not tell me to drive, carpool, walk, bike, etc. I do not drive, do not own a car, have no family in town who can drive, and I'm physically disabled. I do walk as much as I can, but some trips are simply out of the question on foot.)
I understand your troubles, but if your temporary inconvenience is the only way to improve thousands of workers' standard of living, so be it. I take public transport to work, and it's a fucking nightmare when they strike because there isn't simply enough space on the roads if every commuter would take their own car. It's bad, but I can live with it for a few days a year if it means that hundreds of bus drivers have a decent wage, improved quality of life, and job security.

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
If everyone was self-employed, there would be billions of one-person-companies.
And that's a bad idea ... why?
Good luck building a Boeing 747 all on your own.
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Old July 5 2013, 11:17 PM   #39
Miss Chicken
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Can you imagine how little medicine/healthcare would have advance if everyone was self-employed?

And who would print all the money?
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Old July 6 2013, 12:05 AM   #40
Tora Ziyal
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Plus he couldn't grow this larger, more successful business that he wants if all his potential employees are working for themselves.
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Old July 6 2013, 12:24 AM   #41
marksound
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Again, missing the point. As I've come to see is the norm in these forums.

Entrepreneurship bad. Government jobs good.

That's boiling it down to bare bones, but that's what I see from a large percentage of members. From threads like this to discussions of Trek society, it seems to me that people here want to be able to get what they want or need without the blood sweat and tears that comes from hard work.

I haven't seen anyone yet say that they own or are building a business. Am I alone here?
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Old July 6 2013, 12:25 AM   #42
Miss Chicken
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Plus he couldn't grow this larger, more successful business that he wants if all his potential employees are working for themselves
and there wouldn't be any phones, or TV, or newspapers etc
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Old July 6 2013, 03:07 AM   #43
Saito S
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Long post. Gonna lay out all my thoughts on this here.

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Again, missing the point. As I've come to see is the norm in these forums.

Entrepreneurship bad. Government jobs good.

That's boiling it down to bare bones, but that's what I see from a large percentage of members. From threads like this to discussions of Trek society, it seems to me that people here want to be able to get what they want or need without the blood sweat and tears that comes from hard work.

I haven't seen anyone yet say that they own or are building a business. Am I alone here?
That's ridiculous.

No one here has said that entrepreneurship is bad. The only one engaging in some kind of "A good, B bad" paradigm is YOU. Your posts put across the idea that everyone SHOULD absolutely want and be able to run their own business. YOU are saying "entrepreneurship good, government jobs bad".

And that's a nonsensical view of employment. "I have no interest in running my own business" is, all by itself, absolutely more than enough justification for someone to never attempt to build their own business. Yet that person also does not thus deserve to then not have a job or have to face immense hardship because they do not choose to run a business. And you're also treating "running your own business" as synonymous with "willingness to do hard work." You can have the latter without the former.

As to the topic question: yes, they should be allowed to strike, as long as the agency in question is being run in much the same way as a private business. If it's up to management to determine their own salaries as well as the contracts under which the union laborers operate, then those union workers need protection because management WILL try to screw them over at times. Ideally, things might be run differently as someone upthread suggested, with oversight from outside those who work for the agency determining these things, and with management unable to give themselves bonuses at the expense of labor or system upkeep. But that's not the case.

THAT SAID... I'm not entirely with the unions in this particular case. iguana, much of what you are saying is generally true, but BART workers actually make a LOT of money. Not only is the base salary 70k+ on average, but BART workers are able to take sick days off, then work tons of overtime. Over 60k worth of overtime, in some cases.

They have fantastic benefits, they contribute nothing toward their retirement, and pay a flat rate of $92 per month toward their healthcare, regardless of number of dependents. The bottom line is they have a sweet, delicious cake of a wage/benefit situation, so it's hard to muster up a lot of sympathy for them as people struggle to get to work.

And yes, it can be far more than "inconvenience." I literally could not get on the bus Monday, it was too full (and that was after waiting well over an hour for said bus). Traffic was so bad on the Bay Bridge that even if I could afford to pay for a cab (I can't), it wouldn't be a viable option anyway. Carpooling is not an option because there aren't any in the middle of the day, which is when I go into work. Tuesday and Wednesday, I ended up taking the ferry, which worked, but ONLY if you get there super early; even with all available vessels deployed, people at the backs of long lines were turned away as completely full ferries pulled out, forced to wait for the next one. And that's at 11AM; during rush hour, it was worse.

And that's if you commute TO San Francisco. That particular commute - east bay to SF - got all the attention in the media; lost in the shuffle are people who don't have cars, but use BART to go to work elsewhere. If you live in Oakland and work in, say, Concord, there might not BE any other transit option. If, like my roommate, you live in Oakland and work in a business park near Alameda, a 20-minute BART commute becomes a nightmare on a super late (1 hour+) bus that takes 45 minutes to make the same trip, and then requires a 6-block walk and a 20-minute shuttle ride (and the last shuttle, by the way, leaves at 8:50AM. There is literally no other way to get into the business park without it. Remember that part about the bus being over an hour late because of the chaos caused by the strike? Yeah.) That's not "inconvenience", that's utter nonsense that we should not have to put up with to get to our jobs.

Many of the people who were the MOST put out by the strike are people like us: we have mundane office jobs or retail or whatnot, we can't telecommute and live paycheck-to-paycheck. Owning a car is not an option. As crazy as my commute has been this week, I feel LUCKY that my job is in SF, since at least that's where all the compensation for the lack of BART was focused.

As someone who takes BART everyday normally and is a transit nerd: no, a lot of those train operators DON'T do more than push buttons during normal operations. The train drives itself. The only difficulty comes in when there is a problem, and they have to maneuver the train manually, which is usually a huge disaster. Whether it's because the workers are not very good at manual ops, or because the trains are not very good at manual ops, I don't know. I suspects it's both. The point is, driving a BART train is easier work than driving, say, a bus.

And that segues into my final words: I am not trying to insinuate that BART's management, or the agency as a whole, are shining beacons of wonderfulness that are trying to prosper in the face of the Evil Unions. BART's management is corrupt and makes idiotic decisions left and right (Oakland Airport expansion), and I have no doubt that they would screw the workers if they could. And as mentioned, those train cars are old and falling apart. The system is run badly in a lot of ways, and also has a lot of problems dating back to bad decisions when it was first built. But BART's workers, make no mistake, have it GOOD. They had THREE MONTHS leading up to the first day of the strike, and couldn't hammer out an agreement. There is no way that both parties can be blame-free for that. And the reality is, whether it's fair to the workers or not, their job puts them in a position that is very different from a restaurant or retail or (etc) employee: people do DEPEND on this service to live their lives. No, it's not quite on the same level as police or medical personnel, but it's a lot closer to that level than your waiter or retail worker or hotel concierge or what have you. And when their strike endangers our jobs and ability to pay rent, it's quite hard to get behind them when they already have it better than a huge chunk of Bay Area workers.

Both the unions and the management have my contempt for this situation.
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Old July 6 2013, 06:26 PM   #44
J.T.B.
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Again, missing the point. As I've come to see is the norm in these forums.

Entrepreneurship bad. Government jobs good.

That's boiling it down to bare bones, but that's what I see from a large percentage of members. From threads like this to discussions of Trek society, it seems to me that people here want to be able to get what they want or need without the blood sweat and tears that comes from hard work.
OFCS, nobody said anything like that. You made a bizarre statement about everyone running their own small businesses. Instead of explaining how that's even supposed to work in the full scale of the economy, let alone the implications in a complex, technological society, you fall back on this old hackney: Anyone who supports employees joining together to negotiate for their wages and working conditions is afraid of hard work and just wants a government handout. It's hollow, tired and played out. So played.
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Old July 6 2013, 06:29 PM   #45
iguana_tonante
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Saito, Thanks for the long, insightful post. You obviously know more than me about this particular situation, so thank you for giving the full picture of it. I agree the situation was badly managed on both fronts. What it prompted my reply was the implication that the right to strike is something bad and ugly, and the general tone of condemnation for workers and employees.

As for the first part of your post, obviously, I couldn't agree more.
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