I can't say that my friends' list has been flooded with howls of outrage, but a few people are very miffed.
- "TTC strike... sucks ass. i really don't think they should be allowed to strike, because a-they're an essential service. b- they're partially funded by our tax dollars. c-they JUST fucking raised the prices.
"... them striking is akin to a 3 year old throwing a temper tantrum. eventually they'll get what they want, just because everyone is sick of dealing with them. they need to find some kind of better tactic to deal with their issues, rather than finding one that alienates the entire city..."
- "I don't live in a nice area, and I work far far away, so I am left FUCKED ... I am stuck either walking an hour and a half at around midnight through the seedy Lansdowne and Bloor area, or I stay at home and not work and not write my exams and not pay my rent this month, or I am to ride my bike through the heavily trafficked streets of Toronto...
"And for what? So that the transit unions can raise their average pay of $25 per hour and get rid of the penalties for being late or early to stops?"
It's not the half-truths that strike me (though I note the current top wage is under $25.00 per hour, and that the TTC makes this city vastly more liveable and so should be "partially funded by our taxes dollars" (a lot more than it is, in my opinion) or that the fact the TTC management just raised prices, not the union - but all that is beside my point), so much as it is the this evidence that principle sometimes means so little to people, when they are personally inconvenienced.
The TTC is an important service - indeed, it is arguably an essential service over the long run; taking a half-million cars off our roads is a Good Thing, for All of Us - but it is not an essential service in the way that ambulances or doctors and nurses are essential.
In a capitalist society, the only power workers have is the ability to withdraw their labour. Without the right to strike, employees would be at the mercy of their employers - in terms of wages, in terms of job security, in terms - essentially - of their very lives. In a capitalist society, the right to strike makes the difference between freedom and (de facto) slavery.
And for those I've heard describe driving a bus or streetcar as a "cushy" job, give me a break. Fighting traffic, dealing with drunks and crazies all day long is not cushy. It is hard, stressful work that requires constant attention both the road and to the passengers one is ferrying about the city. TTC drivers are reasonably well-paid, I suppose, but 50K a year is not going to make anyone in Toronto rich.
All right, fire away ...