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NEW YORK — More than 7 million people in and around New York City were forced to walk, find a cab, drive into work or just work from home Tuesday after more than 30,000 Transport Workers Union members walked off the job.

Following days of acrimonious labor talks and one strike deadline extension, subways and buses ground to a halt shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday. Authorities began locking turnstiles and shuttering subway entrances shortly after the strike, which is illegal under New York State law, began. The city braced for a rush hour filled with disorder by placing police officers en masse around the city, among other preparations.

At one subway booth, a handwritten sign read, "Strike in Effect. Station Closed. Happy Holidays!!!!"

At Penn Station — a major hub for commuter trains coming in and out of New Jersey and for Amtrak — an announcement over the loudspeaker told people to "please exit the subway system."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg began putting into effect a sweeping emergency plan to reduce gridlock and keep certain streets open for emergency vehicles. It included requiring cars coming into Manhattan below 96th Street to have at least four occupants until 11 a.m. Police officers were checking each car and refusing to let those with fewer than four passengers continue into the heart of the city; some drivers were picking up random passengers off the street to meet the quota. However, vehicles traveling within Manhattan don't need to have four passengers.

Bloomberg, a subway rider himself who spent the night at the Office of Emergency Management headquarters, walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall in the morning in solidarity with the thousands of Brooklyn residents making their way in to work on foot amid freezing temperatures.

The temperature at 7:30 a.m. EST in the city was only 22 degrees, but felt like 10 degrees with the wind chill. Two dozen Santas from Brookstone's department store stood on the bridge to greet commuters as they walked or biked across the bridge.

Commuter frustration was evident both before the strike and after it was called.

Darryl Padilla, a 20-year-old club promoter, was trying to get on the train at Penn Station when he found out that the strike had begun. He didn't have enough cash to take a cab to his home on the northern tip of Manhattan.

"I didn't think they were going to shut down. I can't take a cab," he said.

"I think they all should get fired," said Eddie Goncalves, a doorman trying to get home after his overnight shift. He said he expected to spend an extra $30 per day in cab and train fares.

"Enough is enough," said Craig DeRosa, who relies on the subway to get to work. "Their benefits are as rich as you see anywhere in this country and they are still complaining. I don't get it."

In Queens, Brunilda Ayala said she had no sympathy for the union after the bus strike began in her neighborhood.

"How can you give a raise to a bus driver who would make three old ladies walk home in the cold?" asked Ayala, 57.

Huge lines formed at ticket booths for the commuter railroads that stayed in operation, and Manhattan-bound traffic backed up at many bridges and tunnels as police turned away cars with fewer than four people. Meanwhile, transit workers took to the picket lines with signs that read "We Move NY. Respect Us!"

Commuters, scrounging for ways to get to work, lined up for cabs and gathered in clusters on designated spots throughout the city for company vans and buses to shuttle them to their offices.

"There were hundreds of people waiting for cabs, pulling doors left and right," said taxi driver Angel Aponte, who left his meter off and charged $10 per person.

The strike is New York's citywide mass transit walkout first since an 11-day strike in 1980.

The union called the strike after a late round of negotiations broke down Monday night. Union President Roger Toussaint said the union board voted overwhelmingly to call the strike, the city's first in more than 25 years.

It is illegal for mass transit workers to strike in New York, which means the 33,000 bus and subway employees will incur huge fines — two days' pay for each day on strike.

"This is a fight over dignity and respect on the job, a concept that is very alien to the MTA," Toussaint said in announcing the strike. "Transit workers are tired of being underappreciated and disrespected."

The news drew an angry response from the mayor, governor and head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow called the strike "a slap in the face" to all New Yorkers and said state lawyers will immediately head to court in seeking to block the walkout.

"This is not only an affront to the concept of public service, it is a cowardly attempt by Roger Toussaint and the TWU to bring the city to its knees to create leverage for their own bargaining position," said Bloomberg at a news conference.

Bloomberg has said the walkout could cost the city as much as $400 million a day, and would be particularly harsh at the height of the holiday shopping and tourist season. He said a strike would freeze traffic into "gridlock that will tie the record for all gridlocks."

"They have broken the trust of the people of New York," said Gov. George Pataki. "They have not only endangered our city and state's economy, but they are also recklessly endangering the health and safety of each and every New Yorker."

MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said the agency "put a fair offer" on the table before talks broke down. "Unfortunately, that offer has been rejected."

The union said the latest MTA offer included annual raises of 3 percent, 4 percent and 3.5 percent; the previous proposal included 3 percent raises each year. MTA workers earn between $47,000 and $55,000 annually. The MTA originally had demanded an 8 percent pay raise per year for their members.

Pension issues have been a major sticking point in the talks. The MTA wants to raise the age at which new employees become eligible for full pensions from 55 to 62, which the union says is unfair.

But Toussaint said the union wanted a better offer from the MTA, especially when the agency has a $1 billion surplus this year.

"With a $1 billion surplus, this contract between the MTA and the Transport Workers Union should have been a no-brainer," Toussaint said. "Sadly, that has not been the case."

The down-to-the-wire negotiations came as workers at two private bus lines in Queens walked off the job, a move meant to step up pressure on the MTA.

The contract expired Friday at midnight, but the two sides agreed to keep talking through the weekend and the union set a new deadline for Tuesday.

According to the MTA, about 4.5 million people ride the subways — which serve all five boroughs — on the average weekday and 1.4 billion each year, ranking New York fifth in the world in annual subway ridership. City buses serve Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island. About 2.4 million people ride the buses daily, and about 740 million ride them each year. New York ranks first among annual bus ridership in North America.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
8% annual raise? WTF? Thats unheard of in the private industry, without that person "making rank" at the same time. So why should they get it? Hell, even the 4% offer was excessive. This BS has to stop. Fire everyone of the 30,000 people, allow only those who give up their membership to come back to work. You cant let a few thouthand people hold a city hostage. Someone has to send a message that this cannot go on.
 

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Its amazing!! Someone that feels the same as me! I've felt this way everytime one of these "hostage" deals pops up its ugly head. What ever happened to "get ahead and move up by being better",rather than sit around and plot what to whine about next. Fire em !! Just my .02....Charlie
 

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Hmmm, I wouldnt be so harsh to critize the union. They only have one option when talks break down and they showed they would use it. If my company had a 1 billion dollar surplus but said they couldnt give me more money I would be highly upset with them. That and if i worked for 30 years and was about to hit retirement and then was told, sorry, we are changing the age requirement you have to work an extra 7 years I'd be upset too.

Now I am not saying they are entirely in the right in what they are asking 8% one time I'd say ok maybe with the cost of living up there, perhaps the 8% would put them in line where they should be at. However 8% every year over three years is a bit much.

Once again though if the only way i could be taken seriously is to strike thats jsut what i would have to do. While it inconviences a few million people those few million people are going to put pressure on the MTA to give in to their demands. Ethically not the best course of action but what else can they do.:dunno:
 

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drgreenthum said:
Hmmm, I wouldnt be so harsh to critize the union. They only have one option when talks break down and they showed they would use it. If my company had a 1 billion dollar surplus but said they couldnt give me more money I would be highly upset with them. That and if i worked for 30 years and was about to hit retirement and then was told, sorry, we are changing the age requirement you have to work an extra 7 years I'd be upset too.

Now I am not saying they are entirely in the right in what they are asking 8% one time I'd say ok maybe with the cost of living up there, perhaps the 8% would put them in line where they should be at. However 8% every year over three years is a bit much.

Once again though if the only way i could be taken seriously is to strike thats jsut what i would have to do. While it inconviences a few million people those few million people are going to put pressure on the MTA to give in to their demands. Ethically not the best course of action but what else can they do.:dunno:
Thats the same logic that justifies using violence in a political process "How else are we supposed to get attention"
Look its a free market, and that includes the job market. The job pays what it pays, because thats what people are willing to do it for. If it wasnt enough, they would have problem hiring, and would have to offer more. So long as they dont have a problem hiring then the pay is fair.
For those who want more money, I got one thing to say. Take more responcibility. Cmon if they worked there for 30 years and havent advanced, that must mean they arent very good, dont you think?
Dont get me started on retirement. I got no pitty for anyone who doesnt save their own. You want to be sure you have enough to retire on when you want. Take care of it yourself. If you let someone else take care of it, then dont be suprised when it goes to crap. Especially, if you are the one pushing it to banckrupcy by demanding rediculous raises for no apparent reason what so ever.

My point is this. 7 million people should not have to suffer because 30,000 (thats 0.4%) think they are underpaid. Newsflash: Everyone thinks they are underpaid. I think I'm underpaid, as I'm sure does every person on this forum. Nothing new here.
 

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Vash, about the retirement policy. It was an agreement made with the employees when they started that if they stayed for a certain amount of time they would get retirement benefits MTA is trying to change that agreement. Now thats wrong. Not saying the "hostage" situation is right, but if it as a last resort i would do it.

Hell, where i work now our compensation plan is changed every year and while we dont have a union, every year we have to ban together and do something otherwise they take more away. I cant blame the union and know one would give two shits abou those workers and how they were getting screwed unless they went on strike. Now people will listen.

The freemarket system isnt perfect and those "with" tend to take advantage of those "without" that how unions started. It isnt neccesarily as easy as saying i'll quit this job and get another, people have families and rent to take care of. Also the "system" is designed that not everyone can moved up its not possible even if everyone was a genius there has to be laborers (sp?). Because they are laborers should they be shit on?

I'm not saying they struck for a good reason, none of us knows the exact plan that was put on the table. However if you were in their shoes and they told you that they were cutting- money,benefits,hours- take your pick what would you do. What if you were 54? Who is going to hire you? Get an education? by the time you are done you are still unemployable. Work construction? too old No business looking is looking for someone 50 plus that does not already have a ton of experience in the field they are applying for.

It seems noone cares about the workers only that they striked. So why do people care? because they are Inconvieneced. That is a selfish reason, so why get mad at the union when they do something for there own selfish reason? I read they should find a new job, well everyone else should find a new way to get to work. Yep its costing everyone a bunch of money, well if they didnt it would be costing the workers a bunch of money, and in a free market society everyone is out for themselves, so more power to them and what they can get done.

:2cents:
 

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Years ago,I did belong to a union,infact my employer paid for my dues to three different ones at the same time. I traveled alot,some states wanted this,some other wanted that,etc...I didnt like it then due to the "we have and are the power" by the local B.A.. Now,in a completly different line of work,self imployed,I have found one constant. My employees stay with me not because they have me over a barrel,like unions have done to the steel,automakers,etc and the list goes on and on. They stay with me because I treat them well and they are paid more than they could get else where. I expect alot,I admit,however I take care of my company and its employees. I dont believe its up to the employer to pay insurance,retirement,child care,gas to work,yadayada...I pay my people well,they can do what they want to with the money. If I have to pay all the other"non work crap" then I want people to eat what I tell them,go where I tell,and see who I tell them to see. Unions in my opinion do more damage than good at this point . Example-US postal,they pay out more in retired,and non-current employees every year than there whole payroll was 20 years ago. Unions have "negotiated" by force,rather than by common sense. All with the "buy american" or you are hurting your self motto. As far as a company making money...DUH!!! If I dont make money,I havent done my job. A company needs profits,what ever they are. Because I have my toys,and btw I pay for 'em. That doesnt mean that my newest employee should have me pay for his as well. Whew!! Charlie
 

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Forgot one thing.

Violence is a necessary evil. Not everyone is at peace with their neighbor and all lovey dubby with everyone. I hate to bring up Iraq, but think of the first war. Not saying whether i agree or disagree with any of it because that would be a whole new thread. However, when neighboring nation states were invaded, we tried to talk them into leaving. Unfortunately their are some people who take advantage of the fact that they can get away with whatever they want and no one is going to do anything but talk to them. Eventually they need a spanking.

Not everyone can discuss like we do:D
 

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SoCalRepsol said:
Years ago,I did belong to a union,infact my employer paid for my dues to three different ones at the same time. I traveled alot,some states wanted this,some other wanted that,etc...I didnt like it then due to the "we have and are the power" by the local B.A.. Now,in a completly different line of work,self imployed,I have found one constant. My employees stay with me not because they have me over a barrel,like unions have done to the steel,automakers,etc and the list goes on and on. They stay with me because I treat them well and they are paid more than they could get else where. I expect alot,I admit,however I take care of my company and its employees. I dont believe its up to the employer to pay insurance,retirement,child care,gas to work,yadayada...I pay my people well,they can do what they want to with the money. If I have to pay all the other"non work crap" then I want people to eat what I tell them,go where I tell,and see who I tell them to see. Unions in my opinion do more damage than good at this point . Example-US postal,they pay out more in retired,and non-current employees every year than there whole payroll was 20 years ago. Unions have "negotiated" by force,rather than by common sense. All with the "buy american" or you are hurting your self motto. As far as a company making money...DUH!!! If I dont make money,I havent done my job. A company needs profits,what ever they are. Because I have my toys,and btw I pay for 'em. That doesnt mean that my newest employee should have me pay for his as well. Whew!! Charlie
Sounds good socal, but it doesnt sound like you ever agreed to pay for that stuff either and if MTA never promised anything I would say f#ck the workers they knew what they were getting into.

Anyone they hire new, I agree should be given whatever MTA wants to give them and if they dont like it dont take the job. All I would like to see is if compainies promise something regardless of what it is they should stick to it. Not 20 years later say sorry I am not going ot give you what i said I was becasue it will hurt my bottom line. They shouldnt offer it if they cant give it.

Alright I am posting too much signing off :D
 

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Greenthumb:
You're rasing valid points, and I will be the first to admit, that I dont have first hand expirience in them. I'm 24, so I've never been 54. I also never had kids to feed. obviously those things could change my opinion.
Now I have no idea what the world was like 20 years ago, I was 4 and behind the iron curtain. Nowdays I would never accept a company retirement plan. They want to contribute, that fine with me, but its going in MY ACCOUNT, one that I have control over. I dont trust any company account to last, and I dont think SS will be there when I'm 65. Today, I cant see how anyone would think of it otherwise. maybe 20 years ago the future looked more certain. Then again maybe not.
Yes, I agree that the unions started for good reasons. They had a valid fight, and while I may not agree with their methodes, the end might just justify the means. They accomplished what they needed to. So what are they doing now?
Still I cant help but feel that the responcibility lies with the indevidual. After all they werent all born 54, and maybe they shouldve acted on something when they were younger. You know that whole plan for the future thing.
As for the whole line of "Those with take advantage of those without" it works both ways. Those without take advantage of those with as well (Isnt that whats happening here?). So what does that tell you? That everyone is out for themselves? thats not exactly news.
I see the same situation time and time again. People belong to some organization. The organization is hitting some tough times, so everyones slice gets smaller. Instead of doing the smart thing, and everyone pulling together to make the organization strive again, it becomes a bitter fight for what remains of its capital. You can see this with automakers, or US economy as a whole.

Oh, and I'll avoid the iraq topic because its sure to side track the conversation. Yes force is sometimes necessary. But it has to be force with a perpuse. If they would go on strike, with the demand to institure some changes that will increase profits and thus support the higher pay, my opinion would be tottally reversed.
 

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You do have a valid point there. Probably though,years ago,corp america was more affraid of unions than now. It probably started back with the air traffic controllers power grab and spanking...and its progressed. There does need to be a voice ,and there needs a balance. Heck,here in Cal..the teachers union probably among the more powerful still. Too much . The state pretty much kisses there a$$ politically all the time. Alas sometime there may be some sense here....ok,back to my cage(work) for a bit....I wanna go riding!! Charlie
 

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Vash,

Its just the promising stuff and then not deliverying. I agree with you it is hard to trust someone to hold your retirement in there hands, but thats the way it used to work. I also agree SS isnt going to be around alot longer, but old timers probably belived twenty years ago between pension and SS they woudl be taken care off, and its said they were (mislead?) about it all.

Your also right about it working both ways(Those with take advantage of those without), thing is we havent seen the offers and not living in NY with that cost of living I woudlnt know what is fair. All I was getting at is no one should rush to judgement of the workers becasue who knows who is taking advantage of who?

Lastly, about a company hitting hard times and everyone tighten their belts, it is great in theory and i would even participate in something like that. However if you read the news, say about airlines, and they are trying to cut everything but the CEOS are still making 200,000 to 2 million a year. Doesnt seem like they are chipping in.
 

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greenthumb:
Yes, I can see how they would be upset over being promised something and not getting it. But thats no reason to effectivly shut down the city. They got a job to do. In effect they promised to do it, and now they are not. Two wrongs dont make a right.
Its not like they were promised something concrete, and then someone took it away. They were promised a dream that didnt materialize. Well thats life. Promises are made to all of us that dont come true. Look at any politician during elections.
Yes there is a problem, but everyone decided to just make it worse instead of offering a solution.
I havent lived in NY either. I have no idea if 50k is something one can live on there (thats salary, not household income). You got to keep in mind that transit worker is not a high paying job. Never was. If they are pissed off cause they cant live the lifestyle that TV is promising them, they can take a damn number
"We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won't"

Ok on tightening belts. I have no inside expirience with the airline industry, but I do see one flipside to the coin you presented (It may not be a real one). Good managers/leaders are always in short supply. They are really the most thought out people in the world. You know that a good leader can make a difference between a thriving company and one that goes bankrupt, even with all other variables being equal. So it is in the companies interest to maintain those leaders, and that mean paying the outrageous salaries. Because it makes no difference to said manager if the airline goes bankrupt, they will have another job.

I am of course assuming that those CEO's are good leaders. They could be a waste of office space.
 

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Basically self-employeed, though one time I applied for position of shipper-receiver in a fabrication plant. I had lots of expereince in said field only a mix-up & another chap got the position so I was offered a lower paying fork lift operator's position. Well money is money.

After a few months I got the hang of how this firm worked & noted it would be four to six welders & welder-helpers taking on to two days or more to do the decking of a low-bed trailer, along with lousy work & same with B-trains & such.

Approached the Manager & said with one good helper I could do the same job in half time. Told if so then great, but if not then I was without a job as they had to hire another fork lift operator.

Took me a while to get up to doing the job in half time though the helper was from the shop & not as good as I would like to train myself. So requested I have some of the tools like power saws, impact wrenches, in my possession & not have to request them from some chap that handled that end in the main plant, & a decent helper & I would increase time even more.

Got both & within a few months (they helper being my rejections till I had one I preferred) & in a few months the two of us would deck two or two & a half low bed trailers or basically we greatly increased what I was already doing AND the work was so good that some of the customers would come in for some welding & such but would also ask if we would strip the trailer of present toren up & patched wood & put on new wood. They were pleased in our work. Note that all of these built were specifically for said customer & what the engineers could dream up to make them better so not pre-built. So they were always different in length, width, depth of wood planks, typed of tongue & groove, on the B-trains, & such. I even put the orders in & often rejected wood if not satisfactory. Never hesitated to work over-time & preferred to work outdoors both summer & winter as I was not bothered by welders & limited space plus all the planks & wood were within a few feet of where I was working on both sides of my working area. Sort of like my own little business with one helper that could almost do as good a job as myself as I showed him exactly how I did it & had him learn the same skills.

A hard core union raids our guild. Note I was happy with my $9.98 an hour in '78 & once my helper could do a good job I asked the firm & they upped his pay to $9.78 which was great to both of us.

With this hard-core union, that pushed its way in, along with a long long strike of around 5 months I came back to work with a wage increase being $13.34 which was simply out of question. Sure enough the firm folded up around two- three months later. So thank you unions as I had to look around & worked in helping building hot housed for $4.50 an hr.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That brings up an offtopic point. Finding a good helper can be the most frustrating thing in the world. I've been after an assistant for 2 years, and still cant find anyone that wouldnt help me instead of slowing me down. One lesson learned. Dont hire friends. It doesnt metter how cool they are as friends, you havent worked with them.
 

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Sort of know what you mean Vash though my jobs & prior businessses where I would hire people to work for us were pretty simple & basic---you could call them almost blue collar workers.

All I needed, at this plant, was a big kid that had power & was willing to go by my advise. Must have let go of four before I came across this one chap that use to booze a lot, trying to cut it, & had been in trouble with the RCMP like kicking in their doors & fighting them a few times. Like he was on parole.

Did not know a darn thing about power saws, impact wrenche, & other tools let along so much more. Still FINALLY he had someone that did not want to know about his troubles. His drinking simply halted & he did not touch drugs, plus stopped smoking as I did not like a smoker. Fact is he liked the challenge of doing things differently & pleased that in some cases I would reverse to helper as he took over my position especially when I did not have to advise him.

Our specail tools were kept in two logging-rig metal containers with two identical locks with only the Manage, my helper & myself having the key. It gave him some pride of trust. Even met his mother & she could not believe how he had changed since he started working for said firm & realized it was basically my help. Possibly because I had total trust in him & rather then to the lunch-room like the rest he got to sit with my friends in some part of the plant---sort of an exclusive group he begin to realize for we talked about h/guns, rifles for hunting, hunting, m/cs & snowmobiles---not booze parties or Union talk let alone bitching about the present jobs or the foreman AND he begin to realize he was almost like an assistant foreman & I was the foreman. He even got to look at the engineers draftings of ones that woud soon be started & even the engineers & myself discussing what was needed in the simple decking to even how sometimes I would suggest another depth of planking material.
 

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Hey, always good to hear about someones life being changed for the better.
Me I'm always struggling with age. No one wants to take orders from a 24 year old. Its getting easier as I get older, and I'm getting better at phrasing thing in ways that make people think its their own idea.
But its hard enough to find someone that doesnt get scared when the see a trig function, much less someone who thinks its "cool" to dream up a shaft that will use 2 snap rings instead of 3.



Alright seriously this is off topic. Unions damn it, unions
 

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I did have the advantage of being in my early to mid-40s while Eric, my helper, was in his mid-20s but was 6'2" with big hands & a powerful kid willing to learn & work. Pretty simple really though he did like to be with me when I would talk with the engineers over what they wanted in planking & how I sometimes felt it should be deeper planks or a more expensive wood. I think it gave him a feeling of being more then a helper for rarely did even a welder look over the plans in advance to even going upstairs to talk over the above.

When Foremen came around asking me to cut them some wood for something personal I would say no unless they could show me a letter from managent & told them only the manager, Eric & I had the keys to the tools & no he could not have those either---that pleased young Eric as we could say NO to a foreman. When on holidays they told me he almost spoke & harped as I did along with giving anyone close to our tools the warning to keep their hands off them. Obiously Eric realized he was the boss & his helper would be some welder-helper.

By the way with the help of the Govt he took up a welding to become a top rate welder & progressed well with another firm. Still he did not like unions after what went on at the plant we worked at.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I used to run this restaraunt for a wannabe mobster (most mobsters use a restarant for a cover, this guy used it for income and did the mobster thing cause he liked the life style)
One of the best aspect of the job was kicking people out for whatever reason. "What you dont like our food? I'm going to have to ask you to leave" "Its too expansive? Please come back when you have more money"

It was well and good untill I realized how far the mobster life style extended. I never want to be asked advice about a hit ever again.
 

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Vash said:
...Alright seriously this is off topic. Unions damn it, unions
Union Boss: "Not one of my union members will work for your railroad"
Dagny Taggart: "Will you put that in writing?"

I'm only half way into Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, but the NYC strike reminded me of that dialogue.

I personally think it is bogus when executives start slashing workers' pay when business goes sour, while their salaries stay intact. A good businessman/woman would reason that their own pay has to be cut first, because it is their responsibility for success and failure of the business. They should reason that workers' pay should get cut only when they cut expenses in more elastic areas, because a company can't afford to lose qualified workforce. If big bucks are important to the executives, then they need to have an incentive to improve company's performance and get their pay back to the original high salary. What's the monetary incentive if executive pay doesn't get cut?

As it is, they executives vs. unions seems like gang warfare, bloods vs. crips. Both sides resemble the gangsters. The public gets hurt in the crossfire.
 
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