The Winners and the Losers

No, I’m not talking about the Red Sox players heading from Boston to New York like the killer white rabbit has come to town. I’m talking about the strike by the New York City Transit Workers that just ended.

I’m amazed at the short sightedness of just about everyone involved. I was a bit shocked when I heard Mayor Bloomberg declare it as a “selfish and illegal strike” on the news. Not that he didn’t have a judge back him up on it because he did. However, it was a surprising choice of words, nonetheless.

If you look at the chaos that ensued, there were 7 million people who had large difficulties getting to work. Some 40% of stores along a stretch of 8th Avenue weren’t open, with only days before Christmas shopping season ended. The current estimates put the cost of the strike to businesses in New York to nearly $1 billion. And to top it off, the city administration is pushing for a fine of $1 million per day of the strike, which from what I’ve heard will essentially permanently destroy the Union representing the TWU. And thus, everybody loses.

The unfortunate thing here is that even after all of the back and forths that have gone on, these people are still going to have to work together. They still need to hammer out an agreement that works for everyone involved, and after the actions that both sides have taken, right or wrong, they will interfere with their negotiations.

What’s the moral of the story? “Never burn bridges” my friend.

No matter how much you hate the other guy, chances are that you will need him in the future, and even if you don’t, remember that he’s got friends. No matter how much it hurts, no matter how much you want to, don’t burn those bridges. When you start pissing people off that you still need in any way, shape or form, working with them isn’t going to be nearly as easy.

And one day, probably not to far from now, when you find yourself lying face down in the gutter with a knife in your back, and the other guy has the option of either calling 911 or kicking you in the stones, you’d better hope that he needs you for something. Because like an elephant, everyone remembers the bad things that have happened to them and the people who caused them.

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