- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
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- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
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- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
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SEPTA Strike: I walked to work today
SEPTA is on strike.
I spent a lot of my walk to work today thinking about the strike. And although there is a lot more that could be said, more than anything I was happy that in this country--which has been ravaged by corporate interests and a rapid right-wing--that every day people still have some power to organize for change.
Don't get me wrong, the strike sucks. And more than anything this strike is going to hurt low-income and working folks a lot. At a time when things are already pretty bad. And I recognize my privilege to be able to deal relatively easily with a strike as an able-bodied person with no kids who lives four miles from work.
But the onus of the burden to end this strike is not on the workers of Local 234 but on SEPTA management. They are to blame for the inconvenience.
Yes it does annoy me that the strike happened just before rush hour. And the fact is we have all had many experiences with rude SEPTA drivers doesn't help. But the timing of the strike was likely strategic, and there are just as many nice drivers as there are rude ones. And rejecting an offer of a pretty pitiful pay increase for not-that-well-paid workers who do really important work makes sense to me (remember, according to the Inky, the highest paid, longest serving bus driver makes only about $50,000).
But that stuff is all beside the point anyhow.
More than anything you have to support this strike because you have to support unions.
As union density has declined, we have all suffered. We should ALL be in unions. We all need the help of our co-workers sometimes to bargain with bosses who are unfair. Can you imagine how much better "customer service" would be at just about any store if workers were paid and treated better?
And seriously, how often do you see a group of individuals organizing for collective action and making real change? How often? Not much in my opinion. Especially compared to the victories that very rich and very greedy corporations achieve.
SEPTA management may not be a corporation, but it's been run like one when it comes to top-heavy management. And it's an agency that has not often served the city of Philadelphia nearly as well as it should considering how many riders live here. Instead, it's been a suburban and republican patronage mill. Um, and visionary transit and economic development-oriented planning at SEPTA...how's that going?
The tendency of some people who are NOT right-wing folks at all to blame workers astounds me.
Like many Philadelphians, my own middle-class existence can be traced back to the economic stability that my father's union and his father's union before him provided to our family.
The right to organize, collectively bargain and strike if necessary is incredibly important. Lots of us have been able to build paths out of poverty and into the middle-class because of unions. And that path should not be cut off for anyone today.
We can have a conversation later about how much more organized labor needs to do to actually engage and organize the thousands of working class and low-income Philadelphians who have no hope right now of ever joining a union and who will suffer badly because of this strike. That's an important convo to have too.
But today, I support Local 234.