The argument that the transit strikers are being selfish and flippant in their decision to go forward with the strike just does not ring true. The Los Angeles Unified School District has given its teachers a 3% pay increase in the last three years. This does not even come close to reflecting inflation rates in Los Angeles, one of the cities in America with the highest cost of living. LAUSD has also been threatening to chip away at health and other benefits now enjoyed by its staff. Over and over again this particular school district violates teachers’ rights and the teachers’ union makes more and more concessions, yet the teachers refuse to strike. When the topic is brought up, teachers always worry about the practicality of not having their income, etc. This despite the fact that teachers pay hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars a year to pay for basic necessities for their classrooms not provided by the schools.
Strikes are NOT entered into lightly. Most people DO NOT want to strike, and fear for their financial safety and security when doing so. Strikers are brave people who are fighting for not only their own rights but the rights of fellow workers in all segments of society. Calling them selfish is a spurious comment.
If I didn’t make it clear before, this strike, as all strikes, is going to set precedents for all workers in America. Strikes are SUPPOSED to inconvenience people. They are SUPPOSED to make things difficult. That is how people realize the importance of the strikers and their work. The more that the less powerful concede to those in power (such as choosing Kerry as the lesser of two evil politicians rather than choosing a non-partisan selfless hero who’d actually help people), the fewer rights and privileges we are all going to have. Some democracy.