14 June 2014

Philly transit workers strike for their rights

At midnight last night, workers from Philly's regional commuter rail system, run by SEPTA, went on strike after negotiations failed.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the two striking unions "offered to submit their labor dispute to binding arbitration [but] SEPTA declined arbitration." Apparently, the rich boss doesn't want to make himself beholden to the opinions of a third party. Is it a control thing?

At any rate, tens of thousands of daily commuters will now have to find a new way to get to and from work. That's more easily said then done, especially for lower-income workers. Even for the better off, driving into Philly each day won't be easy, especially with the increased demand for public parking.

This is a huge inconvenience. However, unlike many, I won't condemn the striking workers. SEPTA refused arbitration, and so the unions' only other options were to strike or roll over and allow the man to continue to walk all over them.

Article 23(4) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests." And so the SEPTA workers are simply fighting for their rights.

It's one way in which the people can wield a little bit of power.

So inconvenienced commuters would be better off blaming SEPTA. It didn't have to get to this point, but SEPTA let it happen.

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