Social Theory and the 2005 NYC Transit Union Strike

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Social Theory and the 2005 Transit Union Strike (NYC) The public vs. private sphere is a prominent theme in C. Wright Mill’s ‘The Sociological Imagination. The private sphere (biographical context) is represented by the individual’s ‘troubles’; the factors that ‘…have to do with his self and with those limited areas of social life of which he is directly and personally aware’ (Lemert, 350). The public sphere (historical context) is represented by ‘issues’; it breaks free from the limited sphere of one’s troubles and allows for ‘…the organization…with the ways in which various milieu overlap and interpenetrate to form the larger structure of social and historical life’ (Lemert, 351). Therefore, Mills is encouraging the practice of the private sphere spilling into the public sphere to create maximum progress in society. The private vs. public sphere theme of the sociological imagination is the motivation of the MTA transit workers to go on strike in late 2005. The private sphere of the MTA transit workers is represented by the personal characteristics of the MTA transit workers. Most of the workers behind the strike worked routes that ran within the five boroughs of the NYC metro area. A significant portion of this population is multi-ethnic: a great deal of African Americans and Hispanics are residents. Therefore, MTA managers hire more of the same workers. In contrast, more whites work the commuter rails going in and out of the city: this represents the greater percentage of whites that live outside the city. The public sphere is influenced by the private sphere. More specifically, the MTA managers before the strike practiced unequal wage pay and pension benefits between the city transit workers and the commuter workers. More specifically, the commuter workers were receiving more benefits than city workers. With this said, the MTA city workers used

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