Friday, September 19, 2008

Dan the MAN!

Dan "the man" Onorato has taken his lumps on several issues lately. Probably the biggest lumps have come from the 1o% drink tax (of which I am a big really I am.). As if that wasn't enough, the (in my mind) selfish members of Amalgamated Transit Union 85 have made his life even worse as of late. They, apparently, are willing to put the Port Authority in Bankruptcy so they can maintain ridiculous pension benefits that equal millions upon millions of dollars in costs, and healthcare benefits that they pay practically nothing for, and that cost the Port Authority $29million a year.

I don't want to downplay the important role unions have had in bringing labor practices to where they are today, with the checks and balances and safety measures that have been implemented as a result of organized labor. Unfortunately, there has been a huge role reversal in the last 30 years. Unions were once progressive organizations who were committed to worker's well being. Now they have become ultra-conservative organizations who are more interested in how much people make vs. their welfare.

I want to say kudos to Dan Onorato for coming up with a plan to change the way things are run in the county, coming up with a plan to fund mass transit, and then showing "tough love" to the Port Authority by refusing to release that funding until they come up with a new contract that reduces labor costs and makes the Port Authority a more efficient operation.

It is a sad statement about our region that seemingly everyone in position to make a decision (except for Dan the Man) must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. The mindset of the Port Authority union, Bar and Restraunt Owners, and local government are all one in the same; they share a general unwillingness to change, even for the good of the region.

Dan the man said it best in this quote from the Post Gazette: "... he [Dan Onorato] expended considerable political goodwill in getting behind the unpopular taxes, and he also said riders had done their part by absorbing fare increases and service cuts. Now, he said, it's the union's turn."

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