Dec 21, 2005

NYC Transit Strike: Day 2

It took me a little longer to get to work today but it wasn't terrible. Door to door it was 1 hour and 45 minutes. God bless the Green Bus Line--a non-MTA Queens to Manhattan express bus that I've been taking with my wife, Marion who works around the corner from me in Manhattan.

The bone of contention is the contribution that management expects the union members to contribute to their pension funds. They required 2% before and now it's up to 6%. I usually fall on the side of labor in these disputes but this time I think labor is being silly. They asked for an unbelievable 8% pay rate (average salary is 55K/year--I know people who have two college degrees who don't make that much!) which they seem to now see is not going to happen--although they might get 4% which is a bit more than the cost of living right now. They asked to keep their retirement age at 55 instead of a raise in the age to 62..which management was all too willing to hand them. I mean who retires at 55 anymore?

I wonder if their pension contribution is tax free money--like one contributes to a 401K fund? As someone who has a pension fund and who contributed to a 401K for a short time while I was in radio--I know that the key is to crunch the numbers to try to take home the same amount as you would if you contributed nothing. That usually falls somewhere in the 8-10% range...so if management is asking for 6%--THAT'S LITERALLY NEXT TO NOTHING. Friends who have no pensions but contribute to a 401K all say they'd trade it in for a 2% buy in and retirment at 62.

My commute home was a nightmare. I waited for that express bus for over an hour before selling out to a cab driver for $10/person--so $20 since my wife was also freezing with me. Walked in my door at 9:45 after leaving my office at roughly 7PM.

1 comment:

Greg Popcak said...

Hey Mike,

You're turning Republican on me. ;-)

Just kidding about te Republican comment, but I agree with you.

Greg

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