Pataki, Bloomberg, and MTA President Deliberately Provoked Strike

Did you know that New York state Governor Pataki, New York City Mayor Bloomberg and MTA President Kalikow provoked the strike by throwing a "stick of dynamite" into the negotiations in the last few hours on Monday? By adding a dramatic demand at the last minute and without warning—a demand they knew the union could not accept—Pataki, Bloomberg and Kalikow made a strike inevitable . They wanted the strike. They want to blame the union, bankrupt the union, and destroy the possibility of decent pensions for transit workers. The MTA board is dominated by the banks and big business. The bankers and corporate America are engaged in a nationwide strategy to destroy pension plans. If they can do this to the transit workers, they feel they can do it to every workforce in New York City and around the country, unionized and non-unionized alike. With just hours to go before the second strike deadline on Monday, December 19, MTA President Kalikow upped the ante by adding a brand new demand on the workers: all new employees would be required to take a 4% wage cut by having to pay 6% of their wages to the pension fund. Even if the union would consider this drastic give-back concession, Pataki, Bloomberg and Kalikow knew full well that the union leadership would be incapable of agreeing to such a demand with only a few hours notice. Forced on strike, the TWU is now being fined $1 million per day, in an effort to bankrupt and destroy the local. They are now threatening to arrest Roger Toussaint, President of TWU Local 100, for violating the Taylor Act outlawing strikes for public service employees. The Taylor Act is a vicious piece of anti-labor legislation. If labor loses the right to strike, the right to withhold one's labor, then we are on the fast track backwards towards the 18th century where sweatshop labor was the rule, not the exception. According to the New York Times (Dec. 21), "Yet for all the rage and bluster [from Pataki and Bloomberg], this war [the strike] was declared over a pension proposal that would have saved the Transit Authority less than $20 million over the next three years. It seemed a small figure, considering that the city says every day of the strike will cost its businesses hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenues." New Yorkers are suffering. It is Pataki, Bloomberg and Kalikow who should be fined $1 million per day, and who should be jailed for their criminal conspiracy to bust the union, destroy workers' pensions, and create havoc for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who cannot get to work and school in the middle of December. Pataki, Bloomberg and Kalikow are using the media to turn worker against worker, and to make transit workers appear as the villains. The real bad guys are hidden by the racist, big business media who echo the lies of the anti-labor politicians. Roger Toussaint and Local 100 have stood up while the bosses and bankers try to put them up against the wall. They deserve our support. Click here for ANSWER updates and flyers on the transit workers' struggle <<a href="">>