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12.20.2005

Gold rush for NY cab drivers 

The NY transit workers' union has gone on strike.

The TWU has a blog post that's been piling up comments. There might be some useful information (or misinformation) in there, but it's mostly a flamewar with occasional fits of snark.

My gut feeling is that the TWU has overplayed their hand here, but I'd have to know quite a bit about the current contract, the proposed contract, the difficulty of the job, and the educational background of the average worker to really decide if they're getting a fair shake.

A lot of people in the TWU blog are savaging the workers by claiming that they make more money for doing less work compared to a lot of New Yorkers. At its core, that argument isn't pertinent to the contract debate, but it could turn public sentiment against them. Conversely, others claim that the Metro Transit Authority is sitting on a huge surplus and can easily afford to pay more. Again, that assertion has more bearing on the public perception of the strike than on the supply/demand question of wages.

Okay, so this post was mostly meta-analysis instead of analysis. I don't live in New York, so I can't really say much more.

UPDATE: The strike is, technically speaking, illegal. As such, it carries with it severe penalties, as we are no doubt aware by now -- a $1,000,000 fine to the union per day, two days' wages for each day missed by each worker, and so forth. (I won't speculate on the relation between the legality of the strike and the morality the strike -- indeed, I've tried to refrain from moralizing throughout this post.)

I have heard that some businesses are planning to sue the union, because the illegal strike has hurt them. I wonder if it's plausible for a bunch of people to band together and file a class-action lawsuit against the union.

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