The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) has an average of 50,000 daily riders on its buses. For some, this is their only method of transportation. Without it, they will struggle to get to work, to get to their doctor’s office, and to see their families. But riders don’t pay union dues, so their concerns have been ignored as COTA workers authorized a strike that commenced today despite a tentative agreement being reached at the last minute.
This strike is a demonstration of why collective bargaining reforms are needed. COTA workers refused to contribute an additional one percent to their pension plans in exchange for a total 7 percent increase in wages over the next 3 years. For anyone who is unemployed or working in the private sector, such a rejection is mind-boggling.
If the union truly cared about the people they are hired to serve it is hard to see how they could defend a strike that will wreck havoc for so many. Given the storms that have hammered the area and the impending Red, White & Boom event downtown, today’s strike is a bitter pill.
Without collective bargaining reform, however, unions are free to threaten strikes that harm citizens because they have very little to lose. Unfortunately, the victims of such union power plays are disproportionately those without other accessible means of transportation, often those with lower incomes.
Watch the video below to get a flavor of the attitude of union leadership: