Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

Re: Santa Cruz Bus Drivers on Strike (post mortem)

Now that it is over and done with I have a lot of giggles reading this thread. It was kind of funny. Of course I would say so. I had Paratransit as an EXPENSIVE backup. They were overloaded and flaking but they held out. The Paratransit people held out real well considering what they were dealing with. So they really deserve some credit in all of this.

Anyway a lot of this seemed to have boiled down to the "whose ox is being gored" idea. Sadly I detect a hint of selfishness in all of this. Or maybe it is just unawareness of how things work. If I were a snarly political science type I could say "It Demonstgrated class boundaries". By that I mean there is a lot of tone around SCZ among some people tghat "Oh My Dad is Company Vice President and he DESERVES the $95K/YR he gets whereas the bus driver does not deserve the $50K/yr he gets." This being a high cost of living area everyone's income is going to be pushed up a bit If this isn't so you will really be hurtin' People want good jobs with reasonable benefits. Almost no one goes home tro family and friends and boast one got a low paying job. Well a friend did, but she pointed out that she had joined some activist thing and would be "doing good for the Planet" and all that jazz. She was the exception and not the rule. I remember myself even myself some years ago. I went walking in to my pretty lefty Brazilian friends waving the "offer letter" saying "I got 40, I got" and this was 1980ish and I was talking $40K/yr for being a middle level engineer.

Anyway at the time I was particularly rattled at the Transit Board who rejected their own negioators tentative settlement and decided not accept it. The Drivers and the Public who had gone to bed, or at the time off to help friends in the Gulf during the hurricanes down there came back or popped out of their "I have been turned into a fancy telephone operatror...mutter...mutter" mode and found out that the drivers had freaked at the offer being rejected amd went on strike.

So mostly I still lay much of the blame at the board. My feeling is UTU 23 should have come out and said "this is really egregious and awful and we can't go on this way so we are gone as of tommorrow". Now my suspicion having come from a family that had people in unions was that everyone was hoping the board would back down and an a 2:30PM fix to the collapsed 11th hour agreement would be found. But one of the board members had taken off for someplace or other and so it spun out and we had a strike.

An interesting spin in all of this missed by most people was that the meetings of the board were held in closed session and that was questionsable. Most meetings are supposed to take place under "Sunshine Provisions" and members of the public are supposed to at least look in on it in some way. There was no "terrorist threat" to justify closed door sessions and without transcripts.

So all in all I put this in geeky mode I declaim and state: I put 70% of the blame on the board for doing questionable things behind closed doors. I put 20% of the blame on the UTU for not at least allowing the drivers to at least quietly tell their riders there would be a strike tommorrow. I put 10% of the blame on the general public for not being aware with the tools at hand for raising their awareness.

There is a sort of metalevel ("next level up please" said in science fiction voice) question. It is how does one get entities like the UTU23 and the METRO out of the "Zero Sum Game" where one side feels that for the other side to do better means that our side does worse. So METRO felt if they gave an inch or more like a millimeter on the contract with UTU23 it would delay or impede the glorious METRO_BASE from being built. Some drivers thought the METRO_BASE was just a fancy frill and that's not true either. So how does one get such people together to work for the common good?

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