Saturday, April 26, 2008

Handling A Transit Strike--New York Style

I feel terrible for all the Torontonians stranded and inconvenienced by the TTC strike. I remember well another TTC strike in 1992. I was working at King and Bay and living in North York. In the mornings, I was able to catch a ride most of the way downtown with one of my roommates who had a car. However, because of my unpredictable hours, I was on my own when it came to getting home in the evening. It took me almost THREE HOURS to walk home straight up Yonge Street. And as those of you familiar with Toronto's geography well know, my trek was almost entirely UPHILL! By the end of the third day, I had quads that could crush an anaconda.

The New York Transit System has been subject to strike action three times (you can find a history of these labor disputes here After a particularly nasty, twelve-day stoppage in 1966, legislation was passed making transit strikes illegal. There was an illegal, two-day transit strike the week before Christmas in December 2005. At the time, I was living in Midtown Manhattan and walked everywhere so I wasn't particularly inconvenienced. However, most people weren't as lucky as me and the city was thrown into a state of chaos during the busiest shopping week of the year. As part of the aftermath of the strike, the union was fined and its leader, Roger Toussaint, was sentenced to a jail term.

Ontario should follow the New York model--transit strikes should be declared illegal. And if a union breaks the law, its leader should be sentenced to time in jail, preferably with a hulking cellmate called "Bubba" determined to train his new "friend" to respond to the name "Princess."

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