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I can't help but marvel at the stark difference between how our governments, state and federal alike, treat bondholders and creditors and how they treat laborers.
For example, late Tuesday night, "the TWU executive board voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new three-year contract [that] if approved by the rank and file, will end a labor struggle that led to the city's first transit strike in 25 years."
Some of these guys have been going with the program for 25 years! without taking a stand. And you know it's not because they got everything they wanted over the years--proof that working class Americans are content with the simple things in life.

In contrast, during the last 18 months alone, Greenspan handed creditors untold fortunes by lifting interest rates 13 times to a four-year high. And, creditors didn't even have to ask! (Though, it's possible that they did and that Greenspan obliged.)

What did transit workers have to suffer to get "a three-year deal that would give [them] 10.5 percent in raises over the life of the contract?" They were maligned by city and state officials, scorned by the media and commuters alike, threatened with incarceration, and fined six days pay! WOW, what a deal!

Creditors are not only spared this indignation, but they lounge in the lap of luxury, greeted at every turn with irresistable lending opportunities.

Meanwhile, though under "the proposed [union] contract . . . new workers [are not required] to put money toward their pensions . . . employees [must] contribute 1.5 percent annually to their health plans." Some deal! If that 1.5% happens to be higher than the 3 or so percent annual raise after discounting annual inflation, transit workers get the SHAFT.

And for what? All because the MTA demanded various cuts in pension benefits for newly-hired workers, wanted to raise the retirement age for current workers to 62 from 55, and was apparently reluctant to recognize Martin Luther King Day as a company holiday. Mercy!

The MTA knew that they could concede these issues; they were just playing political HARDball.

After all, the concessions are a great prelude to increased fares in the spring and "[e]ventually [commuters] will end up paying for it," said one straphanger.

"I think so, because that's just the way it is. In New York, it's like that." Creditors get wooed, while workers and commuters get the SHAFT.

Originally posted to qrswave on Thu Dec 29, 2005 at 08:56 AM PST.

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