Dear Willie Brown,
Hey. How are you?
I don't know if you read blogs or not, or if you consider the opinions of others a waste of time. By your reaction over the past 2 weeks, I'm inclined to think its the later. In case you didn't know, I've been writing a lot about you and your leadership and the way you handled the current SEPTA negotiations.
You have taken out ads saying that you're looking out for the "working man", that what you want is a "civil rights issue". You know what? I actually agree with you. I don't want to pay anything for my health insurance cost, I want my company to give me more money for my pension, and holy hell, a 19% raise GUARANTEED over 4 years?! Throw in a no lay-off clause, and I think its safe to say I'm set for life! That's the type of deal anyone working for a company these days would kill for, the type of deal I know countless people would want.
Sadly, I live in the world where you can't always get what you want. I live in a world where health care costs are rising so much that in order to keep health care services, not only did they need to raise our contribution, but they also raised our co-pays. The pension is the same, which is fine by me, but raises? Well, I can't say much about myself, but I know a lot of people who didn't get one this year because everyone is hurting this year. I even know people who got laid-off and outright fired by sneaky means by their companies.
Willie, you want the best for your members, and that's admirable and understandable. The fact that you are willing to risk not only your wages and money, but those of all your members to get what you want, the fact that you may actually be risking your jobs because they could simply fire you all (or at least quite a few) for not working... wow.
But I can't agree with your methods at all.
You've been working without a contract for 7 months, since March in fact. You talked with management until your contract expired, but I can only assume that you decided not to authorize a call for a strike because there is no way your workers could survive without a paycheck. So you waited and waited. You didn't talk to management at all, you just kept working. Over time, you spent money, union money, on newspaper ads and television ads, where you talked about how SEPTA wasn't willing to give you everything you wanted. You said that because they saw an increase in ridership, they should be able to give you more. Since March, they've been losing ridership and money.
So you waited and waited until the last week of October, conveniently enough, the weekend before the World Series, a Eagles vs Giants game, a sold-out concert, and more. You waited until you had the city by the balls and could squeeze as hard as possible to get what you wanted for your union. Then you threatened to walk out right as the games started. Then you agreed to talk past the deadline and not strike.
Now you, Willie Brown, the man who wants to look out for the "common man", the man who wants to make sure "civil rights" are respected... Now YOU have shown you don't care about any of that.
You went on strike at 12:01 AM without any warning of it, stranding thousands of commuters and leaving us to scramble at the last minute! You left the table when you were offered a 11% raise over 5 years, an 11% pension increase, and NO RISE in your health care benefits! YOU! YOU JERK! YOU GREEDY LITTLE PIG! YOU walked away from a compromise. YOU have decided it would no be in the interest of "the working man" to take the deal and STRIKE.
Willie Brown, you don't care about the working man. You don't care about us. All you care about is getting what you want and you don't care how. If union dues rise in turn, I wouldn't be surprised by that, either.
You've taken any chance, ANY CHANCE, of the common working man supporting your union and your cause away with your dirty tactics and the fact that you STRANDED THOUSANDS OF WORKERS AND PEOPLE!!!! You want our support? You lost it!
Right now, I hope YOU get fired. Not the members, but the ENTIRE TWU Local 234 leadership!
Willie, that's how I feel, and trust me, I'm one of the nicer ones.