2004 Minneapolis Transit Strike linkage

DateGoogle Rank
20040315 - 8pm1!
20040315 - 6am71

This is a collection of the links I’ve pointed to regarding the 2004 Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area transit strike. I intend to keep it updated with things I’ve linked from on the front page. Also be sure to check out the Metro Transit Strike Blog, the Pioneer Press’ Strike Article Archive, or Workday Minnesota’s archive for more information. The Commuter Connection’s Transit Strike Emergency Kit is also a useful collection of links, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 has information too.

Friday, 23. April

Thursday, 22. April

Tuesday, 20. April

Monday, 19. April

Sunday, 18. April

Saturday, 17. April

  • The union accepted the contract and the Buses will roll Monday. The article has the details, but the big thing is that the union accepted a deal where new hires will not get retiree health benefits. [press-patch]
  • Friday, 16. April

  • The Metro Transit union committee recommends workers accept offer to end the strike. The voting will conclude later today, and if the union accepts the proposal, and then the Met Council okays it, the buses could be running on Sunday. [daily]
  • Meanwhile, the Drivers expect close vote on the contract, but this article has details on the proposal. After looking at the details, I see why. It’s not a sweetheart deal for the union, but nobody expected that. I guess the big question is whether it’s good enough. The executive board seems to think so, but now it’s up to the drivers. [press-patch]
  • Thursday, 15. April

    Wednesday, 14. April

    Tuesday, 13. April

    Monday, 12. April

    Sunday, 11. April

    Friday, 9. April

    Thursday, 8. April

    Tuesday, 6. April

    Monday, 5. April

    Saturday, 3. April

    Thursday, 1. April

    Tuesday, 30. March

    Monday, 29. March

    Wednesday, 24. March

    Tuesday, 23. March

    Monday, 22. March

    Sunday, 21. March

    Thursday, 18. March

    Wednesday, 17. March

    Tuesday, 16. March

    Sunday, 14. March

    Saturday 13. March

    Friday, 12. March

    The big problem here is one that the rest of the country will be facing, too. With retirement age set at 65, boomers are going to be retiring soon (within the next ten years). That means that there are going to be a lot of retirees. When the average life-expectancy was closer to 70, you’d have sixteen working people for every retired person, and that’s a level of taxation that people can live with (about 2 percent). It also means that the amount of money needed for retirees is relatively small, since the average retiree isn’t going to be alive that much longer.

    But as that ratio of working to non-working people shifts (today it’s 3.3 people working for every retiree, and will be 2 to 1 by 2020), the burden on those who are still working becomes heavier. This got a lot of press a few years back when people were talking about the Social Security Crisis. Social Security paid more than $450 billion in benefits last year, with a tax-rate of 12.4 percent. That’s about 1⁄8 of your salary that’s currently going to pay retiree benefits. If nothing is done, Social Security and Medicare will be almost ¾ of the federal budget by 2060. See CATO’s quick facts for more.

    Beyond there being more retirees, they’re living longer. In order to self-fund your retirement, which you’ll need to plan for if you assume the system will break down, you need set more money aside while you’re working. Or if you’re counting on your employer taking care of your retirement, as the bus drivers are, your employer needs to set aside that additional money, and the sooner you start, the better your chance of getting enough put away.

    And in his ham-handed way, that’s the problem that Peter Bell (and Tim Pawlenty) is trying to deal with. If they promise to maintain the drivers’ health benefits at current levels, it will mean some additional cost now, but the big additional costs are coming down the road, and something has to be done. Again, using numbers for Social Security, dealing with the shortfall today costs about an additional two percent (bumping the tax rate to around 15% from the current 12.4), but if put off until 2075 it would require a jump to over 20% *. Now this isn’t talking about the costs to the Metro Council, since their numbers are going to correspond more to medical expenses, rather than just retirement, but I think that makes the problem worse than using the number for Social Security, rather than better.

    Just to make it clear, I think the Met Council needs to move on their position a bit. Shutting down the buses isn’t an acceptable solution. But they also need to take a long, hard look at the costs of offering benefits to retirees, and figure out some way to pay for those. If the state government (their major source of funding) doesn’t give them the money, they have to cut costs, and that’s what they’re trying to do. I don’t have the answer to the problem, and that’s part of why I think this will be a long strike.

    Thursday, 11. March

    Wednesday, 10. March

    Yeah, I realize I’m talking an awful lot about the transit strike here in Minneapolis, and that may not wind everybody’s watch, but it’s interesting to me. Today is also the first day where I have a real need for the buses, since I’ve got a couple things I need to do where a bus would be quicker and cheaper than getting in the car and worrying about parking, but I’ll figure it out. No real choice, is there?

    I also find myself thinking about the U of M’s transitway. Before that was built, I’d use the U’s inter-campus buses sometimes, since they stopped at a few places along Como Avenue. There were also a lot of students on Como who’d ride the bus to school. But now that they run along the transitway, the buses are less useful unless you’re already on one of the campuses. Of course the buses are there for students, rather than the general population, but I never really felt guilty about mooching a ride on the free shuttle when it fit my needs.

    Tuesday, 9. March

    Monday, 8. March

    Sunday, 7. March

    Friday, 5. March

    Thursday, 4. March

    Wednesday, 3. March

    Tuesday, 2. March

    Monday, 1. March

    Saturday, 28. February

    Sunday, 22. February

    Tuesday, 17. February

    Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:58:09.