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Corporate media backs the bosses over TWU

January 10, 2003 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,

One lesson that the recent transit workers' struggle in New York City taught us is that the business-owned newspapers, from the New York Post to the New York Times, are on the side of the wealthy. The December 14 front page of the Post, for example, read: "Six good reasons why the TWU [Transport Workers Union] must abandon its lunatic strike."

There was no mention of the lunatics in the city government who want to unconstitutionally ban transit workers from even talking about a strike. Likewise, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was not called crazy, even though it created such hazardous conditions that two transit workers were killed recently in separate incidents within a 48-hour period.

The New York Daily News ran a December 13 article saying, "Ralph Kramden would have fainted with joy. City bus drivers make the highest hourly wage among the five largest transit systems in the country, and with seniority factored in can beef up their pay to $87,000 a year."

But missing from the article is how MTA employees work harder and earn less than both Long Island Rail Road and MetroNorth workers. The article also left out the fact that Mayor Michael Bloomberg could have funded the wage demands of the TWU out of his own pocket.

The New York Times--which many people believe to be an "enlightened" paper--had a December 14 editorial that said, "Some people--the poor, children, the elderly and the infirm--will suffer in immeasurable ways" from a transit strike. But obviously, the poor people on welfare working for pennies for the MTA would not have suffered if the TWU had struck and succeeded in winning a decent contract.

Bush Sr., Clinton and now Bush Jr. have allowed the hospitals, transit systems and schools of this country to rot while they wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on a military that bombs the hospitals, transit systems and schools of other nations. The mainstream press will not point out the real cause of suffering for workers and the poor precisely because it's business-owned.

But there are alternatives. Socialist Worker receives no money from corporations and argued in the last issue, "If transit workers strike, it will build the confidence of workers all over the country in fighting the idea that we need to sacrifice for their profits." That kind of reporting is much better than snide remarks about "lunatic" strikes.

Dominic Renda, New York City

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