The NY Times actually reported the worker’s side of the story. Although 33 grand a year is not much in NY, so I find it strange that the NY times takes the claim that “Pay is not what rankles them” without a grain of salt. A visit to the union web site will show you otherwise.
“Pay is not what rankles them, they insisted. The starting salary for transit workers is about $33,000, and senior workers can earn as much as $47,000 a year. What does bother them, they said, is how they are treated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. For example, under the current contract, workers have to notify the authority when they go to the doctor on a sick day. If they leave the doctor to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, they have to notify management again.
At the union’s headquarters on the West Side of Manhattan, Veronica Brown, a train cleaner who is a single mother and lives in the Bronx, said the authority’s current proposal would force her to pay for medication, and possible hospital stays, for her two asthmatic children. "I know we’re inconveniencing a lot of people," she said about a possible strike. "But what we’re fighting for is not just a wage issue. Health coverage is so important for us." … Earlier, at the Bronx train yard, workers said cleaning the subway was a dirty job. The cars are often stained with blood, human excrement and other bodily wastes. The tracks are caked with filth. “I get rashes and five or six colds a year because of the trash I deal with every day,” Dennis said. “And I have to call the transit authority every time I go to the doctor? Every time I go to get a pill?” The 21-year veteran was shaking his head. “It’s like saying, `Yes, master. Can I go get healthy, master?’ ” he said. “It’s a whole plantation mentality.””