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Friday, December 23, 2005

Chickens home to roost

Today TWU bus drivers earn, on average, $63,000 annually, while subway motormen make $54,000 and subway cleaners $40,000. Workers get full health benefits, make no contributions to insurance premiums and can retire after 25 years of service or at age 55 (at ½  salary, and cost of living increases each year - Me). The MTA has an unfunded pension liability of $1 billion. Given the strike, one might think the MTA is asking for significant givebacks of these perks. Hardly. It asked to push the retirement age back to 62 for new workers but dropped that demand and is now merely asking that they contribute 6% of their pre-tax salaries toward their pension for their first 10 years on the job, as well as pay 1% of salary for health insurance. By contrast, the TWU demanded that the MTA lower retirement age to 50 for its current workers and grant 8% wage increases over the next three years.

In heavily pro-union New York, these kinds of demands are not only taken seriously but often prevail. Nearly three-quarters of all government workers in the Greater New York area are unionized, the highest level of public-sector unionization of any major metropolitan region. With so much muscle, they typically earn 15% more on average in wages than private sector workers, according to a recent study by New York's Citizens Budget Commission. When porcine benefits packages are added into the mix, total compensation is often 50% greater. The cost of all this has become a huge burden. New York City's pension and benefits costs have soared 60%, or about $4 billion, in just four years. The transit system's pension costs alone have tripled since 2002, while the bill for health benefits is up 40%.

... But perhaps the best model is London, where, spurred by Margaret Thatcher, officials began an aggressive transit privatization program nearly 20 years ago. London's bus lines, though designed by the city, are now operated by some 40 private companies. Only on such a model can New York begin to rein in its high costs and stop repeated union blackmail. == "What Would Reagan Do?"

The idiot union's blog was shut down early when, by noon of the first day nearly 600 messages, almost all anonymous, filled the site, Some were laced with profanities; a few contained racist attacks on transit workers.+All that said, New York City has the government they deserve. -- "Some Crossed the Bridge. Others Were Simply Cross."  All that said, New Yorker have the government they deserve.
| E-MAIL Real King of France at 12/23/2005 10:29:00 AM PERMLINK Back Link (2) | HOME


"I did not vote for Obama but he is remarkable. In less than three weeks in office he has collected more than $150,000 in back taxes."
Gayle Miller
There will be a large migration of people and businesses from states and cities that have a crushing pension liability. It is very possible that these pensions will never be paid because there won't be tax revenue to pay them.

Looks like Bloomberg and Petaki both bent over to help Toussant achieve victory in his illegal strike. You're so right, New Yorkers have the government they deserve.

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