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Armchair Strike Solver

12:15 PM -- NEW YORK -- The talk of the town here today is, of course, the New York City transit strike. (See Transit Union Calls for Strike in Divided Vote.)

Like any transaction involving labor leaders, lawyers, and government bureaucrats, the NYC transit strike is handicapped by having the worst possible combination of people at the bargaining table.

Here's what I see as the ridiculous positions on both sides:

  • The (non) Transport Workers Union is not only asking for a raise (reasonable), but they demand that they keep their pension retirement age at 55 (unreasonable). Is there anybody left in America that gets to retire at age 55 with a pension? Not only that, but some newspapers are reporting that the union is demanding that the minimum retirement age be dropped to 50!

  • On the other side, the MTA has slowly inched up on the meagerly pay raises, last offering about 3.5% per year, according to most reports. Inflation is currently running at about 3%, so that ain't much of a raise.

    Here's my solution: The MTA should bump the raise up to 4% annually over three years. And the Transit Union should split the difference on the pension issue (say, retire at 60, rather than 62 as the MTA wants -- but not 55). The immediate gratification of a bigger pay raise should ease the pain of having to work until at least 60 like everybody else in the world, no?

    Better yet, with the strike potentially costing the city an estimated $400M a day -- everybody gets to keep their jobs!

    — R. Scott Raynovich, Editor in Chief, Light Reading

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