Monday, April 24, 2006

Mildly Delusional

I find it sad when community leaders don’t realize they are irrelevant or, worse, detrimental to their cause. In a news story out of New York City, the head of the Transit Union, Roger Toussaint, will lead a march as he shows up for his 10 day jail sentence. At the same time, Rev. Al Sharpton has called the sentence (which also includes a $1,000 fine) an attempt to intimidate workers. He promised to hold a vigil for the first night Toussaint spends in jail.

How Toussaint still doesn’t realize his call for a strike hurt the union more than it helped shows he is just delusional. As a result of the strike, the union faces a $2.5 million fine and binding arbitration over the new contract. If the contract doesn’t result in an increase of at least $2.5 million dollars (which seems unlikely) to its members, then the actions were surely a mistake.

Sharpton on the other hand, continues to show that he just doesn’t get it. The law to prevent strikes in certain areas is not meant to intimidate workers but to protect workers from selfish actions of essential government employees. Other groups that are not allowed to strike include police officers, fire-fighters, and teachers; these are all personnel that the community depends on. The really maddening thing about this is that a strike by the Transit Union hurts low-income workers the most because they are the least able to afford other means of transportation.