Transit strikers deserve a fair deal

Bus riders who blame drivers are overlooking the real problems.

In the Wednesday article “Buses sit still while strike debate rolls on” in The Minnesota Daily, Britt Johnsen’s interview with Jenny Caesar creates an interesting distortion. If Caesar truly wants bus service restored, she should thank the bus drivers for their heroic attempt to save bus service, and indirectly to save all public services.

Caesar is so upset that the buses are not running that she is “outraged” at the bus drivers and overlooks the fact that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Metropolitan Council stopped the bus service – not the bus drivers.

I disagree with Caesar. I greatly appreciate the bus drivers who are heroically attempting to save public transit, and indirectly to resist Pawlenty’s attempts to eliminate all public services. If heroes such as the bus drivers weren’t resisting Pawlenty, Minnesota would have no public services at all – no schools; no libraries; no parks; no roads, plowing or upkeep; no help for the handicapped, children, elderly and underprivileged; no crisis assistance; no trash service; no recycling service. Public services are supposed to provide basic human needs – the minimum needs for survival in a civilized society.

Greedy barbarians believe that basic human needs should only be available to the wealthy. But a civilized society must have basic human needs provided and regulated as nonprofit public services, and the cost shared by all according to ability to pay.

Caesar said, “I’m so angry I don’t believe that the drivers should get their jobs back.” But I don’t blame the bus drivers for Pawlenty’s misuse of public funds. Pawlenty should be removed from office because his misuse of public funds has caused severe hardship for thousands of people every day.

There is plenty of money available to pay a fair salary and benefits for bus drivers – the money is just being distributed improperly. Pawlenty’s job is to administer tax revenue for the provision of public services and basic human needs – not to dismantle public services and give the money to his big-business money-gouging friends.

I want public bus service restored immediately, and the bus drivers’ contract requests should be granted because they are fair and reasonable.

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