Working people are again on strike

In New York City on Tuesday, more than 8,000 school bus drivers walked off the job. It’s the first time school bus drivers have gone on strike in New York City in 33 years – and it’s the largest bus drivers’ union in the nation. The union claims bus drivers’ jobs are in danger as the city puts their contract up for bid in an effort to reduce costs.

On average, the drivers make $35,000 a year – with starting pay at $14 an hour – barely enough to get by, especially in New York City. These school bus drivers in New York City are facing the same problem as police officers in Camden and sanitation workers in Detroit. This is made worse by their cities teetering on the edge of bankruptcy since Wall Street crashed our economy – and the Bush Housing Bubble loaded everyone with debt. Now, looking to get their balance sheets in order, cities are cutting public services and selling our commons off to private corporations that don’t like unions and don’t give a damn about paying their workers a living wage.

Luckily, as we've seen over the last few years in Wisconsin, Ohio, at WalMarts across the nation, at fast food joints in New York City, and at shipping ports on the east and west coasts – American people are saying enough is enough, and are going on strike. And as we know, progressive change in America has always moved forward by the efforts of organized working people.


Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 19 weeks ago

I did a little fact checking. They start at $14.00 but in just 6 years there wage more then doubles to $29.00 plus benifts. The bus budget has exploded from 100 million in 1979 to a whopping 1.1 billion today. It costs the city of New York $6,900.00 per child per year to bus them. On an average children attend school just over 200 days a year so that about $35.00 per child per day. That is the problem. Hire Bain Capital and I bet they get that cost down to $20.00 / day no problem LOL. But just think it cost the city of New York $20,700 to drive a family of Three children to school a year. No way more then the benifits wait we still have to buy the bus, insure it, put fuel in it tec etc. If you add up the 12 years each child attends school that is $248,400.00 plus plus then add inflation. This makes me wonder how much the real costs of education is all in. We just took them to and from school. WOW

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 19 weeks ago

Sorry my math is wrong the $6,900 includes the bus fuel etc. Opps

Brode's picture
Brode 10 years 19 weeks ago

A lot of what I write in my own blog relates directly to the disparity of workers. In my latest post (just today, as a matter of fact), I address specific laws that could be written to restore the balance of power, income, and wealth.

It's not directly related to this strike, but I believe that if the private sector problems are dealt with, then the public sector will follow suit because the government will have to offer wages and benefits that are competitive with businesses (a trend that has been proven through the economic development throughout the history of our nation).

This post can be found at

Thom, you may also find my post about Atlas Shrugged to be intriguing, as well. That can be found here:

I've been a long-time listener. I first started listening when you took the show over from the great Al Franken (now a Senator). I have great respect for you and your show, and I hope that your message can grow even bigger and spread even farther than it already has.

America NEEDS you, Thom! Thank you for all your hard work!

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 10 years 19 weeks ago

!!! welcome to the new "minimum wage america". Face it folks we are prisoners of continually manipulated financial system and it all really boils down to the markets and corporate profitability!! It's an employers market and until the whole lot of us wakes up to reunite and quit feeding the beast it will be so!!! The rich will get richer on the backs of those who lay the golden eggs and they will continue to blow smoke up your fanny making every excuse under the sun as to why they can't give you and upgrade from pabst and mac and cheese to say t-bone once or twice a week as they go out and buy another Benz and write it off as business expense!!!lol we are screeeeeeeeewwwwd!!!!

HalFonts's picture
HalFonts 10 years 19 weeks ago

I have some faith that business can, when pressed hold costs to a budget and make some hard decisions. However that limited principle, does not justify total deregulation with humungous corporations in collusion with government (the worlds largest bureaucracy) -- serving only themselves at the expense of the workers and people.

IF we are to run anything as complex as the US country, it must be run intelligently with all sectors doing their share, using their best skills, with respect for other sectors, within overall best-practice principles.

Any well run project, involves many sectors, all similarly critical to the success of the overall project. We can not have any one sector serving only itself at the expense of the whole. That simply doesn't work for the overall best result. Without Workers, Management and Finance for example can achieve nothing -- all sectors are essential.

Where necessary, intelligent regulation or procedures must maintain balance. That's where Government should serve the whole, rather than only part or itself.

Bwin 10 years 19 weeks ago

I think the kids are cheering and the parents are griping. Good for the bus drivers. I hope they start getting paid what they're worth.

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 19 weeks ago

Dow I guess you did't my comment after only 6 years a bus driver makes $29.00 / hour Plus benifits. That is far from a minimum wage.

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 10 years 19 weeks ago

actually i did. mine is more a poke at the whole of things. think about it. the only wages that have seemed to keep up with inflation are in fact government job. In theory as is my understanding minimum wage today should be in the hood of say $14-$17 and hour and yet more and more jobs that use to pay good living wage back in the 70s or 80s now pay even less. I drove for 3 years a concrete mixer top pay after 5 years non union $20 and if you did not work 50-60 a week you could possibly find yourself out of a job. sure the OT was great but try and do 6 days a week on a random schedule working anywhere from 10-14 hours a day and have the threat of losing your job dangling over your head. in the meantime? back when i was driving, union drivers top rate? $25 and that one little notion that you wouldn't get fired just out of the blue for telling the boss your feeling way burned out and need a break! It may seem simple, drive, but it truly takes a special breed of person to want to drive anything let alone toting snot nose rowdy disrespectful little kids around all day!!!lol driving kids around? hmmm, i couldn't do it for less then $40! just sayin'!

MarkCarberry 10 years 19 weeks ago

It's true that it was Bush's housing bubble but Obama had plenty of chances to bring the culprits to trial but instead gifted trillions of dollars to the banksters. It is Obama's responsility now as he choose to "look forword, not back" and he is part of the same crowd. The economic crisis is manufactured and can be remedied by putting the banksters responsible in jail, fining the banks real fines, re-directing a trillion or so dollars to the people/states that need it rather than the approximately 21 trillion given or "loaned" to the Goldman Sachs of this world. If the Federal Reserve can dole out so much to so few it can also help the American people.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 10 years 19 weeks ago

We're just going to have to be American patriots, and bring those freedom-hating 1% thieves to justice.

akunard's picture
akunard 10 years 19 weeks ago

It was the BARNEY FRANK housing bubble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

delster's picture
delster 10 years 19 weeks ago

Since Karl Marx lived a lavish life style was his Communist Manifesto a warning to capitalist's or an endorcement of communism. There is a little bit of communism in everyone who borrows a cup of sugar from their neighbor. Old time barn raisings, hravest cooperations, etc. For the coproate beast

to ask the workers to scarifice for the lifestyle of beamer pilots makes little sense and validates communist points of view. The corporate world needs to be shaken down. Anti trust violations need to be enacted. I don't think it is about money, I think the money is a way to control with more absolute power. Money corrupts. Power corupts absolute.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 19 weeks ago

I also did a little fact checking!

"Between 1979 and 2007 incomes of the top 1% of Americans GREW by an average of 275%."

"Since 1979 the average pre-tax income for the bottom 90% of households has DECREASED by $900, while that of the top 1% increased by over $700,000, as federal taxation became LESS PROGRESSIVE."

"From 1973 to 2011, worker productivity grew 80%, while median hourly compensation, grew by just one-eighth that amount."

A while back I think I heard Thom mention something about worker productivity and wages becoming increasingly out of whack with each other, so much so that the average worker should currently be making about $100,000 a year with a 30 hour work week. Instead the non-union environment we suffer with in this country has made it possible for the very few to build massive fortunes at the expense of the very many. If our Government can't find a way to legislate against this rapidly growing economic inequality, then widespread UNIONIZATION is our only hope, with Democratic SOCIALISM the ultimate answer.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 19 weeks ago
Quote MikeCarberry: "It's true that it was Bush's housing bubble but Obama had plenty of chances to bring the culprits to trial but instead gifted trillions of dollars to the banksters. It is Obama's responsility now as he choose to "look forword, not back" and he is part of the same crowd. The economic crisis is manufactured and can be remedied by putting the banksters responsible in jail, fining the banks real fines, re-directing a trillion or so dollars to the people/states that need it rather than the approximately 21 trillion given or "loaned" to the Goldman Sachs of this world. If the Federal Reserve can dole out so much to so few it can also help the American people."

Very, very good point!!!!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 19 weeks ago

I salute the bus drivers. Strikes are an appropriate response to the abusive business practices of employers, whether those employers are from the private sector or state or local government.

- Aliceinwonderland

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 19 weeks ago

It is as if the Conservatives live in a parallel universe to the progressives where employers feel they have the right to pay the lowest wages they can to increase their profit margin, with no regard for the worker. I will not start name calling, especially those like Kend. As he has reminded me he has a heart, a brain I am not so sure of. Too start with the vast majority of the children on these buses have special needs. The vast majority of the kids with no handicap take alternative means of transportation. But like all good CONservatives they cry foul without knowing all the facts. Does anyone out there that actually works with his or her hands believe after 6 years of driving children around New York, that $29 hour is is excessive? I suppose if you run a sweat shop manned with illegals you would think this is an outrage that someone should make a living wage when entrusted with the safety of our most vulnerable asset, our children! Then again those who would complain are actually against any UNION JOB! Every CONservative Republican I have ever met has stated they have the right to pay their employees whatever they want, so as to make the most profit from the workers work. So typical, it sounds like Kend and other Neo CONservatives that have left their comments here. Ask the parents of the young and handicapped children if $29. an hour is to much, to make sure their kids are safe traveling to and from school and I think we already know the answer to that question. If any idiot out there thinks busing children around N.Y. or here in S. Cal. is an easy kick back job for a starting wage of $14 an hour, you obviously know less than I give you credit for. Hell, most parents have a hard time driving just their own brats around town. Why is it the CONservatives always see labor as an easy mark to criticize and feel the UNION WORKERS are always making too much. Why, because the unionized workers generally vote DEMOCRAT in elections and that pisses off the CONservatives in every way imaginable! I doubt you would hear one word from the CONservatives if the workers were non-union and making $8 an hour! I really do not think an increase of $2 an hour a year for driving children around N.Y. is unreasonable. The buses we see hauling adults on their routes around S. Cal. make about the same amount after 6 years of service. I guess if your use to paying minimum wage in a sweat shop, paying more than $8 an hour like Wal-Mart is an outrage! I get so tired of the CONservatives decrying the wages the blue collar workers make who are in a union is to high! How much do Canadian bus drivers make? Of course if they are civil servants or union workers you would think minimum wage is too high of a wage! And your calculations for a family of three are not even based on any factual statistics, like most CONservatives you grab figures out of your, well I guess you can imagine where I think you pulled these stats from. And to make a statement like Bain Capital could do it for less, leaves no doubt that you are as greedy as Rummey's partners at B.C. are, when it comes to the American Worker. Stay in Canada they obviously appreciate you more than we would if you were down here in the States. And after your remarks please do not give me the line that you take good care of your employees and they really like working for you! Ha! And to think they actually get benefits for themselves, that must drive people like the CONservatives crazy! Hell, what ever happened to good old slave labor like they have in China where good ole' Bain Capital sent most of the jobs from the companies they shut down for greater profit in their pockets! Nothing like a two tier society where you have the people who are doing well off the sweat of the workers and you have the poor class of the working class. Must sound like a great society for people like yourself and the rest of CONservatives who comment here.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 19 weeks ago

With all due respect gang I do truly believe we should refrain from using divisive language. By this I mean the words "Liberal" and "Conservative". In fact, I do believe we can all make much more progress and agree if we eliminate any other group label that comes with corporate assigned ways of thinking. We can do this friends. We are all intelligent and disciplined enough to brake out of the programmed box the media has built for us.

In my ideal, improved paradigm no one considers themselves or anyone else a Liberal, Conservative, Republican, Democrat, Black, White, Right, Left, Up, Down, Progressive, Communist, Socialist, Marxist, Blue, Red, Green, or Polka Dot. Everyone should consider themselves US--We The People--and depending on the issue or question--Right or Wrong. Oh, I'll even approve of Smart and Stupid. They are far less insulting labels; and, in more situations than not more accurate descriptions of people.

Ginning up emotions by giving into idealistic labels prevents us from thinking clearly and resolving issues. I'm sure all of you know a very Liberal thinking Conservative or a very Conservative thinking Liberal. Hell, you might even be one of these yourself. Why? BECAUSE THESE LABELS MEAN NOTHING!! lol

All I'm suggesting is that maybe we can make a little faster progress if we avoid the pitfalls the real adversaries set before us to make us trip over each other rather then move forward together. There really are no Conservatives or Liberals. They are made up fictitious titles that the establishment dealt out so we can get mad and call each other names. Controlling us demands that we waste energy fighting and hating each other.We fall for it because it is easier to blame each other than it is to work together; yet overcoming our Corporate Masters demand that we work together.

My suggestion--loose the labels. Please!

Just a little idea!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 19 weeks ago

At least those bus drivers, at $35,000 a year, do way more work than those conniving sinecure CEOs and other top executives making $35 million a year (a thousand times more). You could dump all those top execs and put their underpaid secretaries in their slots and they would do just as well or even better in many cases. The more the rich yell about those at the bottom making peanuts for pay the more they have us on the defensive. We need to be more on the offense about how much these top execs get paid. Keep the pressure on making them pay their fair share of taxes..the more they make...the more they have to pay.... and stop them from evading taxes using their offshore accounts and other tricks they use.

bobcox's picture
bobcox 10 years 19 weeks ago

One more nail in yhe peoples right to work in groups for mutual benifitt coffin.

With regard to CO2 increase in the atmosphere: Human hemoglobin cannot handle too high CO2 concentration. 30 minutes at 5% Co2 is probab;y fatal (Needs confirmation as to LD50 rate). Turtles can exist 20 minutes under water and other existing reptiles can exist for similar periods but humans will lose conscuoisness in about 3 monutes or less.

Kend's picture
Kend 10 years 19 weeks ago

Kenw, Thom was trying to make it sound like these poor bus drivers only make $14,00 / hr and although that is true in a few short years thier wage doubles. $29.00 isn't bad is it?

carolonthecoast's picture
carolonthecoast 10 years 19 weeks ago

I would love to see just one day where everyone who makes under $50,000/year doesn't go to work. No waitresses, garbage pick up, housekeeping, bus drivers, check out clerks, the list goes on...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 19 weeks ago

DAnneMarc said "There really are no Conservatives or Liberals. They are made up fictitious titles that the establishment dealt out so we can get mad and call each other names". I've heard this sentiment before and respectfully disagree.

We are living in an ideologically divided society, like it or not. Thom has identified two distinctly different world views and philosophies that fit these labels to a T. Conservatives operate under the assumption that all people are inherently evil and must be controlled under a "strict-father", authoritarian socioeconomic order or status quo that keeps women, poor folks and minorities "in their place". Progressives reject the notion that people are evil and believe in a social order that is much more inclusive, that offers an even playing field giving everyone a fair shot at upward mobility. There might be variations of this theme among individuals and their philosophies but I still think these labels have a legitimate place in our language.

I do agree that toxic media uses various tactics to keep us distracted and divided. It benefits us to minimize its negative impact on our thoughts and actions by exposing it to the light of day. But I can't dismiss those two particular categories as simply a product of divisive propaganda. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 19 weeks ago

OK Aliceinwonderland, you may have a valid point. Perhaps a complete ban of the words "Liberal" and "Conservative" would be impractical and unhelpful.

However, I still cringe anything someone tosses out these Labels with hostility and blanket negative statements. No two people are created alike and all people are created equal.

Personally, I might be considered by many as being left of left. I don't consider myself that way. I refuse to allow anyone to pigeonhole me into any category or label. Once there I know I become a target for slander and ridicule. I refuse to allow it to happen to myself and prefer not to inflict or take advantage of anyone else that way whom I disagree with. I've met far too many people from the far right that I like and respect too much to call a name of any kind other than the one their parents gave them.

I believe everyone deserves equal respect; especially, those who we completely disagree with. After all, none of us is always right. If it wasn't for people who disagree with us, our mistakes would go undetected and never corrected. Wouldn't that be a tragedy? If anyone ever disrespects you because you're a woman--or for any other reason--they are a Jerk. Don't blame an entire ideological entity for the actions of a few. I assure you if you look long enough you will find a bigger Jerk amongst the ranks of the other side. Why alienate an entire group for the actions of a few or one?

I work in the field for clients of every sector, Bankers, Doctors, Lawyers, Realtors, Architects, Designers, Investment Brokers, CPA's, as well as for Auto Mechanics, Teachers, Warehouse Workers, Bus Dispatchers, Contractors, Building Material Vendors, and even Sweat Shop Workers. I can assure you that no matter what field or economic level, once you get any one of these people alone in a room they are all quite human, kind, gracious, understanding, and reasonable. I've made a career out of learning how to work with anyone to resolve problems that have far more complexity than any discussed in this forum.

I've made a living out of resolving these problems quickly and I think I know how to effectively deal with all sorts of people. Trust me when I say, using Labels in essence insinuates blame for various "predetermined world views" that are out of the control of the very people being Labeled. It instantly causes a reaction of distaste, places the other person on the defensive, and prevents the use of critical thought to resolve a problem. It's the same as refering to black people as black and white people as white. It's a natural reaction when you blame the victim for their problem; even, when it is their fault. No one wants to be perceived as belonging to a group that is looked down upon!

"World Views" or perspective as I prefer to call it is a gift not an liability. No one, be they "Liberal", or "Conservative" are responsible for any of our problems. Money and greed is responsible. "Liberal" and "Conservative" are terms we've been brainwashed into using to identify the Scapegoats who we waste our time blaming for the actions of the Greedy 1% few who have, and are, stealing our money. We are a society programmed to blame other victims rather than launch organized efforts of the majority to effect change.

You are more than right, Alice, in defending your right to use "Liberal" and "Conservative" in your opinions. I recognize and defend your right; and, everyone else's right to do so. Just keep in mind that every time I see these Labels used to condemn, ridicule, or generalize any group negatively I can't help but perceive the Label user as a Puppet.

And yes, that goes for Thom as well!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 19 weeks ago


A couple of days ago I heard a caller suggest making assault weapons available in vending machines. You probably naturally assumed he was being irrational. You are right!

I submit that it is the use of these Labels that offended and generated that incredibly good example of the type of irrational thought in that caller that I'm talking about in my previous post.

I respectfully submit that his response was one more of self defense than rational thinking.

I also respectfully submit that using these Labels, though good for ratings by stirring up emotions like Rush Limbaugh routinely does, are not doing our Country very much good.

Perhaps you can discuss this topic on your show sometime?

PS. I apologize for comparing you to Rush Limbaugh.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 10 years 19 weeks ago

The labels you do not like are a method of identifying those with political beliefs that are completely different from each other. Perhaps you ladies should ask Hartmann to stop using these labels. As far as hostility, I watched a program yesterday on PBS/Frontline, where the first four years of Obama's Presidency where shown. Believe me he was seen as a man that was angry and name calling when it came to the constant blocking tactics the Republicans were using to cripple his attempt to pass healthcare and the Banksters were even more disrespectful when they refused to come to his speech on Wall St. after Obama had given them what they asked for. He was pissed beyond words and he had no trouble being forceful in his expressions and words. The comments made here are not for finding solutions to our problems, we are here to make our separate points! The remarks made here have less affect than blowing into the wind when it comes to policy changes in Washington. If you want to change Washington, go march, nobody but the few people that comment here ever reads this blog! Or you could go on the international web blogs that discuss world problems. I doubt that Hartmann reads the comments made here. As far as not being lady like while making comments, that is one thing I will not apologize for. If you think I am overly offensive contact the webmaster for this blog. As NoFraud stated in his last comment before signing off permanently, this blog and the comments made here by nitwits are irrelevant and actually accomplishes nothing. This comment section is a group of people saying what they feel, Women in general are less confrontational due to the hormonal difference between the female and male human. That is just a fact of life that you see as sexist, on the contrary I am just pointing out the difference between different people and how they express themselves. No one person or persons has the right to tell another how to express themselves. What one person calls hostile another sees it as just being straight and forceful. And calling Obama, Ms. Obama is not a sexist comment, it is meant to imply he is not aggressive as he should be when dealing with the Republicans and the fact they have no problem being aggressive when it comes to dealing with the President.

Yu Ban's picture
Yu Ban 10 years 19 weeks ago

BACK to the Topic:

The REAL reason is the 40% increase in bus routes just since 2002. From 5,000 routes to 7,000.

Consolidating and privatizing of schools under Mayor Bloomberg led to more buses carrying the same number of students farther to more destinations. That is the tradeoff for closing neigborhood schools and trying charter schools.

"The fraud of failed schools and the "need" for school choice is behind this dilemma. Each day, thousands of children are needlessly sent out of their neighborhood in a con game that carries the premise that schools are notably better a few miles away."

I know this is happening in the criminal conspiracy called Wisconsin state government under Scott Walker; huge tax breaks were larded out to billionaire business owners, leading to cuts in tax breaks for poor families and to schools. Closed schools require more and longer bus routes to the consolated schools, but fewer teachers now needed, paid at the shocking astronomical wasteful rate of exactly the median teacher pay for the United States.

The bus drivers AVERAGE about $38,000 a year, said Michael Cordiello, president of Local 1181. The agreement Bloomberg is tearing up has been in place for 47 years.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 19 weeks ago

Ken, thanks for that great advice. I really appreciate the effort blowing all that wind back in my direction.

I would never suggest you change any thing you do. I love your comments the way they are!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go powder my nose and polish my nails.


PS I did ask Hartmann to stop exactly like you suggested. Please read comment #25

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 19 weeks ago

Mr. Ware, who said anything about you acting or not acting "lady like"? Huh?!

You are always stating loud & clear how you reserve the right to call people out on their B.S. Yet you don't seem willing to be called out on your own. Excuse me, but I reserve that right same as you. And no, I'm not complaining to the webmaster about you; don't be silly. I respect your right to act like a jerk if that's what you insist on doing. But frankly, I resent it when I hear men stereotyping women, because they don't know what they're talking about. There may well be gender differences; I don't have a problem with that. But nobody likes being pigeonholed. I just don't think it's cool to stereotype people, and that's all I am saying. I happen to know, and have known, scores of aggressive women who are accomplished, brave souls living life on their own terms and who don't take crap from anyone. They're all over the place, on the planet where I reside at least.

Your notion of what it means to be female is old school and passe'.

What's more, gender is not a black & white sort of phenomenon. There are many shades of gray. Anyone who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area between the fifties and the eighties, as I have, would know that... unless they spent those years in a bubble.

I reject the notion that we are a bunch of nitwits and that these discussions have no value. If that's how you feel about this blog, perhaps you need to find other extracurricular activities more worthy of your regal attention.

- Alicelinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 19 weeks ago

Carolonthecoast says "I would love to see just one day where everyone who makes under $50,000/year doesn't go to work. No waitresses, garbage pick up, housekeeping, bus drivers, check out clerks, the list goes on..."

And I say, AMEN sister! If I had a penny for every time that fantasy has crossed my mind, I'd be among the infamous one percent.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 19 weeks ago

Kend the nosy Canadian says: "...these poor bus drivers only make $14,00 / hr and although that is true in a few short years thier wage doubles. $29.00 isn't bad is it?"

Yeah Kend, what's a few "short" years working your butt off for poverty wages?! I'm sure glad I don't work for YOU.

Within the past couple weeks, my husband and had to go to the local hospital and have blood samples drawn for medical tests our doctor ordered. Earlier this week we got the bill: SIXTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS.

Mister Kinook, you take way too much for granted.

Have a nice day. - Aliceinwonderland

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