Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
This is a letter to you to inform you of my support for the striking members of Transit Workers Union Local 100.
I, and many other supporters, are calling for the following:1. Rescind the Taylor Law (Public Employees' Fair Employment Act, Civil Service Law, Article 14, Section 210) – The right to strike is a constitutional protection guaranteed to all under various provisions of the Bill of Rights. It is not fair or just in a democracy that public service employees are subject to less protection of their constitutional rights than their private sector counterparts.2. Absolve the Union and its Members of All Fines and Penalties incurred during the life of the Strike (Tues. 12/20/05 - ???) – In light of the questionable constitutionality of Taylor Law's injunctions, specifically Section 210, and the subsequent charges it imposes on striking members of the union, I/we demand that amnesty be granted and that the penalties and fines should not be administered against them. The imposition of 2 day’s pay for every 1 day on strike on every worker, with the added fine of $1 million/day to the union, is unrealistic, and can be deemed cruel and unusual punishment. In light of the holidays, it is mean-spirited, and anti-hard work. It simply penalizes hard-working people for not having the resources to pay exorbitant legal fees to get what they deserve - a fair, living employment contract with the MTA.
3. Demonstrate support for YOUR constituency – As the current and next mayor, it is very demoralizing and politically polarizing that any elected official has chosen to criminalize the genuine and honest efforts of thousands of voting citizens to address their labor grievances by the only means at their disposal – a strike. Your public denouncement of their efforts as ‘illegal’ and ‘shameful’ does not instill any confidence in your capacity to demonstrate the impartiality and objectiveness warranted of an elected official. Your current position on this issue only demonstrates your class bias. You did not call for any investigation against the MTA board members when they themselves have engaged in extra-legal activities in their attempts to mask the budget surplus from the public in 2003.
4. Respect the demands of hard-working New Yorkers who ARE the backbone of this city – The strikers are the law-abiding men and women who have been showing up to work in less than favorable conditions of their contract. Their demands are fair and just: an active and enforceable contract; incremental wage increases commensurate to their position, seniority, and the rising costs of living in New York City; pension plans that reward loyalty, commitment, and expertise – that does not draw from the paychecks of the employee; basic protections against unpaid overtime, safe working conditions, and non-discriminatory work environment. These are the basic demands of the standard employee of any private/non-profit/governmental business entity. Don’t portray them as excessive, unrealistic, and arbitrary.
5. Recognize who are the real stakeholders of the MTA system – It is public knowledge that most of the Board Members of the MTA do not ride the public transit system. Though they are endowed with the fiduciary responsibility of overseeing NY’s public transit system, the real stakeholders are the millions of people who ride the train, and the thousands of people who keep the system running 24-hours/day. Budget surpluses should benefit the public, not to finance projects that do not meet the best interests of all New Yorkers. This is a call for a more transparent, inclusive, and democratic process in the determination of these decisions (i.e. referendum, etc…).