My East Coast Connection tells me that Los Angeles transit workers are striking again, and this time it mechanical. So now we can't buy food or ride the bus. Whatever. The transit folks striked in 2000, and no one cared; I doubt this time will be any different.

Very few people ride mass transit in Los Angeles, when compared to cities like New York and... uh, other mass transit cities. Almost everyone drives cars, and luckily freeways can't go on strike (although they can get clogged with traffic).

I'm 100% in favor of workers being able to strike, and I'm also 100% in favor of companies being able to fire striking workers if they think that's the most profitable way to go. Workers who are truly underpaid and getting a raw deal shouldn't have any problem wringing concessions from their employers, because their employers will be forced to hire other people at market price to do the same work. If, however, employers are able to fire the strikers and replace them with cheaper labor, then the strikers were in fact overpaid -- just let the market handle it.

Of course, MTA (Metro Transit Authority) workers are nearly as well protected as direct government employees; they can strike forever with very little chance of being fired. That protection distorts the market, and it means that they will likely end up getting paid more than they're worth. But only if anyone notices they've stopped coming to work.

As I've written before, mass transit in Los Angeles is a joke (specifically light rail, but similar arguments can be made for other forms as well, to lesser degrees).



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