NY Transit Union Risking Transit Workers' Jobs, Group Says

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

(Clarification: Fixes quote in fifth paragraph.)

(CNSNews.com) - A right to work group said New York City's transit workers union is not only holding the city "hostage" by authorizing an "illegal mass transit strike" that shut down bus and subway service, but the union is also risking the jobs of transit workers.

"Transportation Workers Union (TWU) officials are not only holding New York City and its economy hostage to their self-serving demands, but they are potentially jeopardizing the jobs of New York City's 30,000 mass transit workers," said Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation, which offers free legal aid to employees who suffer from compulsory unionism abuses.

"These union officials have a public-be-damned attitude and are holding a gun to the head of New York City's business owners and workers. The costs of this illegal strike to New York's working families will be enormous," said Gleason.

A New York state judge has already fined the Transport Workers Union $1 million a day for every day they are on strike, and the city could lose $1.6 billion if the strike lasts a full week. The union announced its decision to strike Tuesday morning around 3 a.m.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority may have no other choice "but to fire the illegal strikers in order to uphold the rule of law and to preserve New York's security and economic vitality," added Gleason, who pointed to President Ronald Reagan who took similar action in 1981 when "illegally striking air traffic controllers" refused to go back to work.

"This illegal strike is a direct result of the coercive privileges union officials have gained under New York law that empowers them to force workers into union affiliation - like it or not. As long as union officials in New York enjoy compulsory unionism privileges, individual workers, the economy, and the public in general will continue to pay the price," concluded Gleason.

New Yorkers, meanwhile, have been forced to find last-minute alternatives to get to and from work. They resorted to catching cabs at $10 a person instead of the usual running of the meter, carpooling at least four people per vehicle, biking to work, and even walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, which Bloomberg did the morning of the strike.

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