Isn’t that what Occupy Wall Street is all about, a free ride?
While most average American’s would refer to this as ‘theft of services’, the Occupy slugs and their union counterparts staged a ‘subway fare strike’ in New York City this morning.
From the Occupy Wall Street website (emphasis mine):
This morning before rush hour, teams of activists, many from Occupy Wall Street, in conjunction with rank and file workers from the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Amalgamated Transit Union, opened up more than 20 stations across the city for free entry. As of 10:30 AM, the majority remain open. No property was damaged. Teams have chained open service gates and taped up turnstiles in a coordinated response to escalating service cuts, fare hikes, racist policing, assaults on transit workers’ working conditions and livelihoods — and the profiteering of the super-rich by way of a system they’ve rigged in their favor.
For the last several years, riders of public transit have been under attack. The cost of our Metrocards has been increasing, while train and bus service has been steadily reduced. Budget cuts have precipitated station closings and staff/safety reductions. Police routinely single out young black and Latino men for searches at the turnstile. Layoffs and attrition means cutting staff levels to the bare minimum, reducing services for seniors and disabled riders. At the same time, MTA workers have been laid off and have had their benefits drastically reduced. Contract negotiations are completely stalled.
The image above is of a semi-realistic looking sign that commuters saw in subway stations this morning. Gothamist has a rough transcript of the text on the bottom half which allegedly reads:
“The MTA is determined to make the highest profit off your commute. We apologize for the recent service cuts and fare hikes but they were necessary […] our friends on Wall Street. Enter this station for free through the service entrance. Be prepared for expanded free service until the resolution of contract negotiations in favor of TWU Local 100.”
So union workers are threatening the MTA to bow to their demands, or they and OWS will continue letting people ride for free? Isn’t that like a store worker asking a manager for a raise, and letting customers take items for free until the manager agrees?
New York Daily News reports the union’s support of OWS:
Transport Workers Union Local 100 is in contract negotiations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which maintains its $16 billion budget has no extra dough for even cost-of-living increases.
Local 100 has come out in support of the OWS message that the working and middle classes have suffered because of the financial industry’s excesses and fraud.
A majority of Occupy fans on Facebook are loving the thievery with one saying, “I love it!!!! Rob the rich and feed the poor lol robin hood style.”
But at least one Occupier saw the stunt for what it is:
A real “fare strike” would be people walking to their destinations, not stealing rides. Yes, it is theft of services, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that feeds the anti-OWS lunatics — strikes me as a bad idea.
The real question is, what purpose would Occupiers have in a free subway ride? They’re not exactly heading out to their place of employment.