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Striking out

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The next time public employees in Los Angeles or California want to go on strike, they ought to reflect on what just happened to transit workers in New York – and reconsider. Although union and government officials are careful to say that the 60-hour strike had no winners and losers, the evidence suggests otherwise. The union struck, demanding a contract – it now returns to the bargaining table without one. As one of its executive board members complained, “We got nothing. Absolutely nothing.” So what happened? Well, times and circumstances have changed for public employees. In this day of wireless communication and telecommuting, more New Yorkers were able to make do without transit access, thereby weakening the union’s hand. And those forced to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in the December cold weren’t exactly feeling sympathy for the strikers. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake That’s especially true seeing that the strikers were fighting to preserve benefits that are practically unheard of in the private sector – generous pensions and premium-free health insurance. The union was losing the battle of public opinion. Public-employee strikes are tricky business. By their nature, they punish the very people whose support public unions need to prevail. And at a time when government workers tend to do better than the rest of us, that’s going to arouse more anger than support. If local public-employee unions want to know how not to handle their next contract dispute, their counterparts in New York have provided the perfect example.last_img

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