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Bus Stop

The MTA bargains in bad faith and makes unacceptable proposals.

November 02, 2003|Neil Silver | Neil Silver is president of ATU Local 1277, which represents 2,800 MTA mechanics, service attendants and retirees.

This is why union members as diverse as mechanics, service attendants, drivers, Teamster drivers, supermarket clerks and county deputy sheriffs are conducting job actions: We are fighting for adequate and affordable medical coverage for ourselves and our families.

Striking is not an action easily or lightly taken. It is stressful and economically threatening. Under no circumstances is it a political ploy. Our union is in the midst of an election campaign. Why would any union leader want a strike in the middle of it? Do you think that one man could single-handedly bring the MTA -- much less mass transit throughout Los Angeles -- to a halt? No, it is the members of our union who are rising up and demanding what is right for them and their families.

Sometimes a strike is necessary, because to do nothing, to accept declining health coverage at a higher cost, is worse. If we give in now, we will not have the health-care benefits we expect -- and have earned -- when we retire. And we all will be retirees some day.

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