Arguments for and against the TWU

Daily News columnists bring the hammer down on the TWU today. Let's start with Ronnie Polaneczky:

You ... have a bizarre notion that you're in some sort of profit-sharing relationship with SEPTA. Brown has pointed out that, while the economy is doing badly, SEPTA is not. Ridership is up, and the agency has gotten money from state and stimulus funds. So, your warped thinking goes, you're entitled to a fatter slice of the pie.

News flash: It's not your pie. It's ours. If SEPTA is flush, it's incumbent on the agency to plow that money back into new equipment, improved routes and - here's a fun idea - customer-service training for workers whose job protection keeps them from caring whether they snarl or smile at us.

Christine Flowers:

Even in normal times, the package that SEPTA workers have is a good one. In this depressed economy, with people looking for whatever work they can get and juggling two or more jobs, it's a blessing. So for the TWU to petulantly stamp its collective foot and demand even more when the city and the state are making drastic cuts (and SEPTA is suffering substantial losses in revenue) seems a bit, well, breathtakingly selfish.

Over at Young Philly Politics, Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg argues the other side:

Despite their poorly timed, late night decision to walk out, I support the TWU. The social compact that existed from the time of my great-grandfather, the working-class, trolley driving father of 12, all the way to my parents, is slipping away. With desperate poverty, crappy schools, and little to no manufacturing base, social mobility is less and less a realistic option for way too many families in America.

Every single job in Philadelphia that still pays decently, is secure, and doesn’t require a higher education, is an absolute blessing for our society, and is an avenue to empowerment for another family. Each one holds our society together. The higher we pay our janitors and security guards and nursing assistants and hotel workers and construction workers and SEPTA bus drivers and mechanics, the better off we all are. That is why I support the TWU.

The good news, at least, is that the Inquirer is reporting a settlement might be near.

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