BART Strike: Your Thoughts?

strike_ridiculous
Photo by jdaisy

I guess we know how the person who wrote this message feels.

Alternet has a pretty good rundown of the two sides’ position. What are your thoughts? How is a lack of BART affecting you?

57 comments

  • It is unconscionable, unfair, and unsustainable that BART employees pay nothing toward their pensions and only a nominal amount toward their increasingly expensive health insurance. The burden on the ridership has to stop.

    Fewer than 3000 striking employees have brought economic havoc to a major metropolitan area, and are costing hundreds of thousands of middle class commuters time and money. BART unions are the new 1%.

    Fire every striking BART worker. Fire them all, and replace them with workers who are bound by a no-strike clause.

    • If Bart is that important to the local economy, it’s ridiculous to then assert that their employees are too *expensive*! You can make either point, but not both.

      • loinmaster

        Bart *is* important to the economy, but it’s workers are not exactly skilled laborers. You could replace them all with contractors and have new permanent employees trained in less than a month.

        Red button opens doors, green button closes dores. Done.

        • If a two-day strike had an opportunity cost of ~$75 million, I’d hate to think what a bunch of inexperienced people running a major train system would cost.

          • JBT

            Didn’t Ronald Reagan fire these air traffic controllers who went on strike and replaced all 13,000 of them thus destroying the union? Citizens got inconvenienced but life went on without any mishaps. Luckily for the union, we have a Democrat in the White House so they may not have to worry about that..

        • joseph morehead

          Some pf these so called skilled BART workers sit on their fat behinds and treat the BART customers with thinly disguised contempt. They are undereducated, unskilled and lazy and yet they expect more pay and benefits than almost any other comparable workers

      • martin

        Stupid Bart employees.They make Great money and medical and annual.Custodians make over $80000 a year. A monkey can do this work.Stations are dirty.Yoe should be happy with the great money you make.I cant ride Bart because i cant afford it its ti expensive.Supid employees. You have it made.

  • JC

    A couple of things. Apologies to MD, but the linked piece is not a good rundown of BART’s position if good equals fair portrayal of a side’s position; it’s an advocacy piece for the union’s position which also tells customers to shut up about how bad the commute is.

    The strike is hurting the local economy but, news flash, that’s what strikes do. We don’t have as many as we did say, 30 or more years ago and I think we’ve forgotten that the right to strike (and even affect the economy) is out there.

    What I think many customers find unacceptable is that the sides are not spending their days bargaining.

    • david vartanoff

      Actually the deal is that transit is a NECESSITY . That said, we do need a legal bar to strikes by transit workers just as we do for police, fire. As to worker rights, the answer is binding arbitration if the two sides fail to agree a deal. As an aside, BART should not even have the option of “free” healthcare as a perk. The sooner we get single payer universal coverage this will sort itself out. Beyond that, the fake overtime racket has to end–it may be legal but it is a ripoff.

      • Blair

        I AM SO SICK OF STUPID FUCKS BLAMING LABOR! YES STUPID FUCKS! The last BART Director resigned in disgrace well over a year ago, and because of her sweet ass deal of a contract IS STILL GETTING PAID 330K this year. SO SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT WORKERS PAYING OR NOT FOR THEIR HEALTHCARE.It is the fat cats in management that are getting rich, you complaining, ignorant, stupid, pukes.

        Oh, and I am walking home so I don’t have to get on a stupid bus with any of you stupid pukes.

        • To screaming BLAIR

          I have to pay for my own healthcare, and I have a college degree. Most people have to help fund their own healthcare. Why are unskilled BART employees getting their healthcare paid for? And you know what? Give me that job. I’ll be bored as hell but I’ll be making double what I’m making now working in academia. So you FUCK OFF, fuckin Blair. No sense, small pea brained BLAIR!

          You like that. The insults. You seem to. So fuck off. tits for brains.

          • SCREAMING BLAIR

            You mad, bro? Telling me I have a pc. of woman’s anatomy for brains is a compliment, and super classy, you little puke. Making judgements whether these workers are skilled or not is CLASSIST, you little puke. Maybe if you belonged to a labor union you wouldn’t have to pay for your healthcare, you little puke.(How about universal healthcare or is that offensive to your delicate sensibilities too?)

            I I I – ME ME ME, stop being so up your own ass and look logically at situations, you little puke. You are in academia? lord help the true pea brains YOU are teaching. You can’t begrudge others for the choices YOU make, which is what you are doing…you are saying “I have to pay for healthcare, I don’t make as much money as I should, therefore those darn *unskilled* workers should have to pay for their healthcare and shouldn’t make more money than me”. Super logical, you little puke. So, by the above comment you have proven that you are the pea brain. Way to go!

            Please note that your anger should be directed at management who is lining their pockets with sweet deal contracts they write for themselves. Talk about “unskilled” workers…

            • Horacio

              Thank you for speaking out loud bro. Now thanks to you we tax payers now that most bart workers are not only unskilled but stupid too.Keep up the good work with your stupid, uneducated foul mouth and I hope governor Brown fires you all.How dare you ask for more money that you already make? You people are lazy, unskiled,Lucky to have only a uncredited GED.and yet you are making more than a high school teacher.Your job is not only super easy but stupid.You guys should be making no more than $12.25 per hour.Teachers should be making what you are making. Roofers should make far more than you guys because their job is really dangerous. If Ronald Reagan was President he would have fire all of your asses and the union long time ago. Now, go ahead, reply to me with more stupid things because that is the only thing tha you and your kind seem to do perfectly.

        • Horacio

          The only stupid and fucked up person in this matter is you and the whole fucking world knows it now thanks to your foul stupid big ugly mouth. Thanks for that you idiot. And please do reply some more or you stupid shit so that we can know you better. you jack ass.

    • Horacio

      You sound like a very respectfull and educated citizen, therefore, respectfully I must tell you that you are completely wrong when you say that what customers find unacceptable is only that the two sides are not spending their days barganing.
      What customers are really upset is by the fact that thousands of very lazy, uneducated and unskilled workers who already make more money than a very hard working high school teacher, who spent many years in college and spent tons of money getting that degree, is seen this unworthy idiots demand more money and mor benefits. In all honesty; these people with their current skills; should be making no more than minimun wage.Sorry if I insulted your intelligence.

  • Hunter Bergschneider via Facebook

    a) we clearly need better transportation options. b) it’s not just the tech industry gentrifying this town. looks like public sector unionized labor is in the same boat.

  • Here’s the way I see it: if you don’t like the pay, why did you take the job in the first place? Nobody makes you work for BART. Find a better job. Because at the end of the day, Wal-Mart employees have it far worse than BART employees do.

  • Laura Minns via Facebook

    probably because WalMart employees don’t have a union to represent them?

    • Horacio

      Most likely walmart people would a much better job than these lazy, unskilled workers that at the time being are making more money than a high school teacher by jus having a GED and good conections inside the Bart system such as friends and family.As far as the unions are concern; they did a great job in the thirties but now they are corrupt, nothing but hell raising lobbyist and are truly a drain in our economy. I am sure that is partly why our economy sucks now a days

  • Unions are a good thing for workers. More people should be in them. Just because the majority of American workers are underpaid and taken advantage of doesn’t mean others should be. People should form unions. Maybe they think that if Bart can pay a departing executive a 300+k severence, they can afford to give them a raise. That being said, Bart employees should accept that everyone pays into pensions and healthcare, and that unless they agree to do so they are going to be hard pressed to find public support for their cause. I’m a MUNI driver; I pay for both and make less than them (and am bound by no-strike) and, living in Oakland, am affected by this. Both sides need to be spending long hours at least pretending to bargain. I don’t know why all the blame is falling on the workers though…BART officials are making it pretty clear they don’t exactly care how it’s affecting us, either.

    • Horacio

      It is not bart management you should be mad about. It is about those unskilled bart workers that are making more than you and even more than a High school teacher whith only a ged.With what they do ( which is far less than muni drivers who deal with very unruly people every day) they should be making no more than $12.25 per hour. Please understand. Never mind about bart management. Please be smart.

    • Horacio

      Most likely walmart people would a much better job than these lazy, unskilled workers that at the time being are making more money than a high school teacher by jus having a GED and good conections inside the Bart system such as friends and family.As far as the unions are concern; they did a great job in the thirties but now they are corrupt, nothing but hell raising lobbyist and are truly a drain in our economy. I am sure that is partly why our economy sucks now a days

  • Greg

    Management will approve massive funding to counteract a much less expensive contact cost, as a message to us all, you dummies.
    Will we be a sucker to these tactics?
    I don’t fall for such a ploy! Do you?
    I am a 39.5 year retired Teamster with a small pension to live on.
    Hype says:” these guys make too much and do nothing .
    Reality shows less than announced.
    Don’ listen to these Haters. They blast you with non facts in order to sway truth due to such opinions as: “My Dad was a scab and anyone else is wrong. Unions are the end of blind, dumb thinking!”.
    . Union workers should all be shot (they all have smoked joints!)…
    What a nice opinion from fellow American Scabbish slaves
    Union workers live well due to a history of sacrifices by our Parent’s.
    Live it up! , or live it down.

  • Eric Gregory via Facebook

    @Maurice That sort of thinking is exactly why private sector wages have been stagnant for the past 3-4 decades. If you don’t make any demands, you get exactly what you asked for.

    • Horacio

      Please stop being stupid. Now a days people is smarted than that. Maybe you type of thinking was brilliant in the sixties. Now unions are arrogant, stupid and we should do awy with them. It is a new world order.Read your homework please.

  • Dexter Wong

    Much of these comments run to “Fire all BART workers” or “Fire the BART Board.” That is like having Lemuel Boulware (GE CEO known for hard bargaining) and Harry Bridges (famous labor leader) carry out negotiations.

  • I sympathize with those coping with the BART strike, but my first thought about seeing the graffiti is if it is on textured bubbled hexagonal tile. They don’t manufacture it anymore and the vandal could be destroying an increasingly rare site.

    • Horacio

      Could you please speak in playin English? Do you support those way overly pay underskilled lazy workers who are making more than a high school teacher? that mostly have a ged? Then you are either very naive or a hater of the real working class of people who work their buts off and only make minimum wage.
      Those bart workers all should be fired to make room to good workers that will do a far better job than those lazly bart workers do now.

  • sarah

    Very proud of AC Transit, Muni and the Ferry(all other unmentioned transit as well) systems for steppin up that game for riders and themselves.

  • JBT

    Read this at SocialistWorker.Org

    A social worker named Abel Ferreira, who is associated with SEIU, said he was there to show his support for the BART strike:

    The operators have a complicated job, and it’s a highly skilled job, so why are they paid so little? You have these tech-industry 27-years-olds right out of college working for a start-up making $180,000, and you have the people who get them to work making $70,000…And a lot of the agents are paid far less than that, and you’re not hearing the whole story.

    In an interview, Joe, a city worker, spoke about the need for a more sustained strike:

    We get 12 furloughs, and each furlough saves them money. One day on strike without pay saves them money, so we should do it longer–for a week–to actually prove a point. Not everyone thinks we should go out longer, but a lot of folks do…The turnout was great. We had almost nobody cross, and over 90 percent showed up to picket lines. People who worked for the city used to be proud, but not anymore with the way they treat us.

    • To screaming BLAIR

      Wait what? What kind of skils do they have? Do you mean the engineers maintaining the train? or the people pushing buttons to answer your doors or sit in an information booth.

      So no. Not all BART employees are skilled.

    • St

      Also, only big corps pay 180k. Startups do not pay ta much due to scarcity of money even to people with tens of years of exerience. And I am not even talking about computer engineers not bring on 5-9 schedule, having to spend money and all available time on education, paying their own insurance, saving for pension etc.

      As a better illustration on can observe that the only people who can afford houses in bay area are folks working for google/fb, lucky startup founders, doctors, lawers, and… Bart workers. I guess everyone else is unskilled…

      Reardless, it’s not about fair/unfair/etc. bart workers work for the rest of the citizebs and they have the full right to fire them. And it seems that public opinion is geared towards that.

    • Horacio

      Stop lying. Operators jobs is not hard and you get paid by tax payers for all the training you get.You should all be fired like when Ronal Regan fired all those air controllers whos jobs is one thousand times more difficult than yours.If you don’t like working for bart, why don’t you quit and make room for more deserving workers like my self. If I was making what you are making, I will be highly asheme for asking any type of raise considering that you job; we all know by now is super easy. And this is a fact and I can proove it any time.

  • JBT

    Ok, BART Station Agents and Inspectors are not highly skilled but don’t they make over 60k?! Do they even need a high-school diploma to get these jobs? Then there are the BART Train Operators which make over 70k!! Plus they get free benefits and comprehensive health insurance for their entire family worth 50k! I don’t think an operator is highly skilled. Do you need an Associates degree to be an operator? Don’t you just need some kind of free special training from BART to be qualified for this job and if you passed then you are hired?

    Mr. Ferreira is comparing these workers to highly skilled programmers who paid their way thru college owing tens of thousands in student loans. And where did he get his $180k figure? Preposterous!

    And for Joe. Of course you shouldn’t get paid if you go on strike. Where do you think BART will get the money to pay you if there is no income from riders who use the BART that was halted because of your strike? That’s why you shouldn’t get paid more than you should (maybe even less), you can’t even understand simple logic!

    Every public employee has been hit by the recession. BART employees should not think that they are exempt from this. They are demanding way over inflation rate. 23% over 4 years which equates to 5.39% a year. Inflation this year is a lot less than 2%. They will not take 2%/yr, they will not pay additional premiums for their insurance plan, they want to taxpayer to pay 100% of their pension plan! If BART is not saving money because of the high cost of labor, then it will not have the money to improve BART and its safety. Whatever surplus the Union is claiming should be used to improve BART and not to give them more than 2% which they think they deserve.

    And if they think that the ex-GM was making too much and still getting paid after being fired because of a contract she made with BART, that’s not the Union’s problem, it was a board miscue and it’s being investigated but it’s irrelevant to the situation. The thinking of “I should be making this much money because so and so gets paid this much” is a lame and juvenile reasoning. You ask for a raise based on your merits and contributions to the company not because somebody else makes more than you.

  • The BART strike’s economic cost the Bay Area comes from what people do after they get off the train.

    The job of a BART operator is unskilled. BART gives them some training, but only a high school diploma/GED is required. The operator you see at the front of the train is not actually moving the train from station to station, they just operate the doors and herd people off the yellow safety strips. They are supposed to announce the upcoming stations; sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

    • Esquire415

      OMG! And they make over $70k for that plus the extra $50k in benefits? Where else can you find a position that pays so much for menial jobs? I’m not making that much as an IT guy until last month when I got a 2% salary adjustment and I pay for my health and dental (no vision) insurance plus max out my 401k every year so my take home pay isn’t much. However, I can still afford to live in the city. These BART employees say that they can’t live in the City with the salary they are getting. Maybe they can’t if they are a single parent with 6 kids but most of these people are married with dual income. If you can’t afford the city then you need to adapt by changing your lifestyle or move out to a nearby city that’s cheaper. Not everyone can have their cake and eat it too. They should take the 2% honorably, it’s already more than they deserve when they should be taking a paycut. The gravy train has ran its course and they have basked on it far too long. Are they idiots that they don’t realize they were overpaid to begin with and the board is trying to remedy that screw up (as they did with their ex-GM)?

      The BART Board messed up on their employees from the GM down to the janitors by paying them too much from the start. Now the employees got spoiled and want more. By unskilled laborers standard, BART employees have the best compensation and benefits package of any public agency. They shouldn’t be whining and complaining. BART had been overly generous for years. Their employees got it made. Now if they are a private agency, sure they can strike…but they are working for a public agency, they are protesting against the government, and they don’t represent the public. If they win this negotiation, all of us will be the losers.

      Here’s an article. Click the link to read more:
      http://www.pleasantonweekly.com/square/index.php?i=3&d=&t=10763

      “One thing is clear in the contract dispute between BART workers and management, the taxpayers are the losers.

      Given the “skills” required (not including the mechanics who maintain the trains and tracks); station agents and train drivers (chaperones may be a better term because the computers control the trains) are richly compensated with lavish benefit packages. The average salary for a BART worker is $83,000—when benefits and other costs are added in, it costs the agency $116,000 per employee. And the agency currently pays the employees’ share of the pension costs.

      The agencies’ unions are perfectly positioned to hold management and the public hostage—shut down the system—even in high vacation season during the 4th of July week—and traffic is in chaos.

      Of course, the former Oakland mayor and current governor deserves blame because he signed the law that allowed PUBLIC employees to unionize and strike. Even Democrat icon President Franklin Delano Roosevelt observed that public employees should not have the right to unionize because nobody represents the public. In 1937, FDR wrote the following in a letter to president of the Federation of Federal Employees:….(click link to read more)

  • Hey, everybody! Let’s stick to the points, have a healthy debate, and leave the name-calling to the kids. Thanks!

  • Paul

    Here’s a thought: As an economist, why doesn’t BART fire all that are on strike, and pay the new employees “market rate”? Market rate is the rate a company is able to find and keep qualified people working there. For example, Trying to hire an experienced C++ programmer $50k isn’t realistic because other companies are willing to pay them $80-$120k.

    What should the market rate be for positions that don’t require college degrees, and whose sole skills needed is the ability to open the door and talk clearly into the intercom? As in what is the intersection of that supply and demand curve, what is the lowest BART can pay an employee, that you’ll still be able to find lots of employees willing to work for those wages?

    Again, why do we NOT pay market rate for gov’t jobs? Is it mostly upper middle class liberals feeling bad for the working class, therefore they give them an extra hand out in the only place they can control, which is everyone’s tax dollars?

    • Horacio

      It would be nice if you put all of what you said in good old playing english so that we would know wich side you are on. As for me, I hate lazy, uneducated and highly unskilled Bart workers who are makin much more than an educated, hard working High school teacher who had to spent many years and lots of money getting that degree.

  • Y young

    Wow 20% raise or strike. That is crap the men and women that are fighting for ur right to work in the US and to have rights period , well they aren’t so lucky they make a measles 2000grand a month and the ones that get there limbs blown off they get to wait two years or more for they VA pay. And let’s see what happens if they strike we would have a whole lot more than a bunch of traffic jams. Ridiculous!!! ask for something responsible

  • Penny

    So many people decide based on the 10 seconds they spend noticing a BART worker as they enter and exit a train that the workers are unskilled and anybody can do their job…

    It’s nauseating how ignorant and self righteous people are!

    • Horacio

      Maybe you are the only nauseating person when it comes to being intelligent and yet you have not notice that about your self. Welcome to the world of stupidity my friend.

    • Horacio

      Honestly, what is really nauseating and sad is the existence of people like your self that are so miss informed. Please do a lillte research and investigation before you make such a astouning remark. This Bart workers whom you seem to like or at least feel so sorry for; not only have jus a GED, but also they are mostly uneducate, very rude to riders most of the time, And by the way They make more money thant a educated, hard working High school teacher who whom by the way; spent many years in college and tons of money to get that degree and make less than these people. And by the way: These bastards still want more.Please go back to school. Raise my case.

  • Ranger Rick

    What seems to have gotten lost in U.S. society long before BART management’s anti-union PR plants masquerading as news is that striking BART workers are in a sense much more a “we” rather than a “them”.

    Yes, many people are resentful that unionized BART workers appear to make a living wage and have benefits. But is that resentment truly best directed against the BART workers?

    The social contract in the U.S. has for several years been to outsource the shape and texture of our social benefits to for-profit employers. In this model we “don’t need” universal health care or other “us” constructs because (ahem) socially responsive corporations would provide each every “me” in the workforce with them.

    The companion piece is that one needs to get and save up all the figurative nuts one can during one’s working years because there are no meaningful national retirement benefits. Observe, however, the collapse and disappearance of many private retirement programs as companies declare bankruptcy, shed those retirement obligations, then magically reappear.

    Where they exist, such as Social Security, the government feels free to “borrow” the money for other purposes, then claim the program is going bankrupt.

    America’s “I’ve got mine, screw you” culture is meant to work only for the small handful of executives and other members of the corporate-insider class who are authorized to perpetrate legalized theft in the form of obscenely disproportionate salaries and benefits packages. The rest of us are supposed to know our place, take what is handed to us by the field boss, and count our blessings.

    The problem isn’t that BART’s unionized workforce wants too much, it’s that we’ve been manipulated into accepting too little. And lest we start asking the wrong questions, we’re encouraged to demonstrate our rugged individualism and self-reliance by directing our anger 180-degrees from where it rightfully belongs…

    • Horacio

      Please stop making stupid statements. Now a days people nows better than what you are saying so save your oxigent.

    • Horacio

      It is absolutly amazing. In all you super long dialog, you wrote so much and said so little. In one word; you said nothing. The deal here is, speaking intelligently, is that this, super uneducate, super lazy, and super rude bart workers whom only have a GED; are making much more money than a high school teacher who spent many years in college and tons of money getting that degree. And yet, these Bart bastards want more money yet. Capecci.

  • U people have no idea the the extensive training these operators receive. They have to operate those trains if the system fails. They need to understand it front to back. Police & fire fighters only need high school diplomas too I don’t hear you complain about their salaries

    • Horacio

      You are making my heart bleed. Then, I think you should quit and let me apply for your job. I will assure you that I can cope with your daily pain for the huge undiserving money you are getteing.

    • Horacio

      You seem to forget that We tax payers paid for all that training eventhough you only have a GED diploma. So you got Free training. High school teachers on the other hand, spent many years in college and spent tons of their own money and are actually making less than those uneducated bart workers, and yet these shameless bart workers, want more. And by the way, going back to your ridiculous statment; Bart workers don’t get shot at like the police and they don’t have to go into burning buildings like fire fighters, so please stop maiking such stupid comparisons. We readers know better than that.

  • Francis

    We need a no strike requirement on BART workers like most of the other transit unions!!!!

    The union is totally unreasonable. No one else gets full medical when they retire. Why should riders pay for something they don’t get.

    Plus the drivers are paid full time for making 2 runs a day. They need to work 8 hours for full time pay like the rest of us.

  • Neil

    If the Bart workers don’t like what the management is offering, they can quit their jobs and go find a another job that they do like. No one is making them stay. There are plenty of people who will take the Bart jobs with what Bart management is offering, Simple as that.

  • Dory

    ALL I GOT TO SAY IS FUCK BART! thank you all of you participating in the strike for giving the people the gift of being fucked. Now we have no rides to work or to school. I applaud you for being a bunch of greedy ass bastards. A lot of us work harder than you do and get paid less so thanks for being a bunch of whiners.

  • BART GOD

    Hey Unions …. You keep this crap up in this economy, and keep this media circus going… Companies will be scared away from hiring you ever again… Pretty soon striking is going to be illegal your demands are no different than anyone else who “haters their job” but guess what? You still have to work… FIRE THE UNION PERIOD!! Against UNIONS!!! 200 percent!!! Keep in mind they “might” renew this contract but within the next couple years when it’s up again don’t be surprised if BART seeks other options …. You are making it worse …

  • Dexter Wong

    Well, there is a settlement and BART service will resume Tuesday, so quit your complaints (until the next strike :-)).

    • Horacio

      That was a very stupid final comment on you behalf. At the end this bastards bart workers got most of what they wanted stolen from tax payers wallets. I hope this is a wake up call for all of us and if this happens ever again; lets fight to fight all of the bart workers and their unions. These are nothing but greedy bastards.

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