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So BART is on strike. Again.

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  • So BART is on strike. Again.




    Now that BART workers are on strike, hundreds of thousands of frustrated commuters are asking: When will it end?

    If Friday was any indication, not anytime soon.

    The bargaining table was empty as negotiators finished the work week on an indefinite break that stretched on for more than 36 hours. It was not clear if talks would resume this weekend or when trains could start running again, though workers would have to signal the end of a strike by Sunday afternoon to get trains running by the Monday commute.

    [....]

    "We're in the end game. The way out of this is: Who can take the strike longer" -- management or the unions? said Norm Brand, a San Francisco-based mediator who has helped with more than 3,000 labor disputes and other disagreements. "I think it's a pretty hard standoff."

    [....]

    There remained two big sticking points between BART and the two unions representing 2,300 blue-collar employees.

    First, management was offering a 12 percent raise over four years, while unions were seeking a 15.9 percent pay increase. BART's average union worker currently makes $76,500 in gross salary.

    Second, unions were looking to hold onto longtime "work rules" that have helped employees earn large overtime checks and keep control over their job hours. Management says the 470-page work rule book is full of freebies that cost BART a large amount of money, such as allowing train operators to run just two roundtrips during a daylong shift.

    [....]

    But BART Director Zakhary Mallet said management should play "hardball with the union to see who blinks first."

    "To me, that means not letting the strike dictate what happens at the bargaining table," Mallet said. "If we made a best, last and final offer, we should stick to that."






    This sounds oddly familiar.


    I get amused by those who can either make light of, or take in stride, or indeed capitalize on such a situation.

    For example:
    Worse than the commute: "The worst part about the #BARTStrike is listening to wealthy, young SFers complain about the strike."

    Pot calling kettle: " 'Can you believe the salary these BART guys get to drive a train?' -someone whose job is making internet ads more clickable."

    And my personal favorite:
    Cashing in: "Wait out the heinous #BartStrike commute & stop by for Happy Hour! Drink specials & snacks 5PM-8PM"

    May as well!
    Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
    No one will be denied:
    Big law suits and bathroom toots;
    We're all getting Dixie-fried.
    But somewhere Hank and Lefty
    Are rollin' in their graves
    While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

  • #2
    $76K for the average worker and they STILL strike?

    This is the problem with unions. They've gone way beyond securing worker safety and fair wages.
    "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

    -John Locke

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by scott View Post
      $76K for the average worker and they STILL strike?

      This is the problem with unions. They've gone way beyond securing worker safety and fair wages.
      I keep seeing that figure bandied about, but no one has sourced it. BART employees in certain classifications routinely make more than their base salary because there has been a hiring freeze in place for a long time, and the train operators and station agents are required to work overtime on a regular basis. Lots of it.

      Over the past 4 years the union has made major concessions and the employees sustained real-wage DECREASES because everyone took a hit for the bad economy. Well, except the guy management paid several million dollars to "negotiate" the new contract (which he has failed to do) and try to avoid making good on the promises they made at the time of the last prior negotiations.

      BART management has a really good propaganda arm.
      "Think as I think," said a man,
      "Or you are abominably wicked;
      You are a toad."
      And after I had thought of it,
      I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
        I keep seeing that figure bandied about, but no one has sourced it. BART employees in certain classifications routinely make more than their base salary because there has been a hiring freeze in place for a long time, and the train operators and station agents are required to work overtime on a regular basis. Lots of it.

        Over the past 4 years the union has made major concessions and the employees sustained real-wage DECREASES because everyone took a hit for the bad economy. Well, except the guy management paid several million dollars to "negotiate" the new contract (which he has failed to do) and try to avoid making good on the promises they made at the time of the last prior negotiations.

        BART management has a really good propaganda arm.
        The union themselves claim that it's $64,000, which is still an awful lot to run a train or drive a bus.
        Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
        No one will be denied:
        Big law suits and bathroom toots;
        We're all getting Dixie-fried.
        But somewhere Hank and Lefty
        Are rollin' in their graves
        While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Adam View Post
          The union themselves claim that it's $64,000, which is still an awful lot to run a train or drive a bus.
          "Average," by definition, includes the highest-paid employees. Do you have a problem with engineers (by which I mean people with graduate degrees in engineering, not train operators) making $150K/year in a part of the country where wages and cost of living is among the highest in the US? BART cleaners, maintenance people etc make about the same as those jobs command anywhere in the Bay Area. Train operators make more - and more than their base salary, as I mentioned above, due to understaffing and the overtime that causes.

          Base salaries for transit operators are comparable to other cities of the same size.
          "Think as I think," said a man,
          "Or you are abominably wicked;
          You are a toad."
          And after I had thought of it,
          I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
            "Average," by definition, includes the highest-paid employees. Do you have a problem with engineers (by which I mean people with graduate degrees in engineering, not train operators) making $150K/year in a part of the country where wages and cost of living is among the highest in the US? BART cleaners, maintenance people etc make about the same as those jobs command anywhere in the Bay Area. Train operators make more - and more than their base salary, as I mentioned above, due to understaffing and the overtime that causes.

            Base salaries for transit operators are comparable to other cities of the same size.
            I have no problem with that as itself, assuming that such a person is doing the actual engineering and isn't a ticket-taker or whatever, but I have a hard time believing that someone with an engineering degree is in the union instead of in management.
            Bask in the warmth of the Deep South
            No one will be denied:
            Big law suits and bathroom toots;
            We're all getting Dixie-fried.
            But somewhere Hank and Lefty
            Are rollin' in their graves
            While kudzu vines grow over signs that read "Jesus Saves."

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Adam View Post
              I have no problem with that as itself, assuming that such a person is doing the actual engineering and isn't a ticket-taker or whatever, but I have a hard time believing that someone with an engineering degree is in the union instead of in management.
              This is a unionized area. The interns and residents - graduate medical doctors - are union members. AFAIK, so are the engineers at the transit agencies.

              If a transit operator is making $64000/year and working 60 hours a week to earn that, he's making about $20/hour.

              People in the Bay Area generally probably earn $20K to $25K more per year for any given job than the same job pays in Nashville. Economic reality.
              "Think as I think," said a man,
              "Or you are abominably wicked;
              You are a toad."
              And after I had thought of it,
              I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                ...cost of living is among the highest in the US?
                Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                This is a unionized area. The interns and residents - graduate medical doctors - are union members.
                Coincidence or cause and effect?
                We are so fucked.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                  "Average," by definition, includes the highest-paid employees. Do you have a problem with engineers (by which I mean people with graduate degrees in engineering, not train operators) making $150K/year in a part of the country where wages and cost of living is among the highest in the US? BART cleaners, maintenance people etc make about the same as those jobs command anywhere in the Bay Area. Train operators make more - and more than their base salary, as I mentioned above, due to understaffing and the overtime that causes.

                  Base salaries for transit operators are comparable to other cities of the same size.
                  I'd like to see some substantiation for the "understaffing" since the article notes union rules that have locked in lavish overtime for the workers. It seems that this is the way they want it. And what's with that part that allows only two roundtrips in a daylong shift?

                  From the article, about the concessions:

                  But the unions have already agreed to pay more for benefits, accepting management's offer to raise pension contributions from zero to 4 percent and monthly health care premiums from $92 to $144.
                  Healthcare costs are going up for EVERYONE except those that are very low on the economic scale. There's nothing unfair about the premiums going up. 4% pension contributions? That's a universal concession everyone is making. So why the need for this sign?



                  If anything is unfair, it's the burden these unrealistic compensation levels are putting on the taxpayers. But unions don't care about them. Taxpayers are just rubes that owe them.
                  "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                  -John Locke

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gary m View Post
                    Coincidence or cause and effect?
                    Another way of saying "high standard of living." You think that's a bad thing?
                    "Think as I think," said a man,
                    "Or you are abominably wicked;
                    You are a toad."
                    And after I had thought of it,
                    I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                      Another way of saying "high standard of living." You think that's a bad thing?
                      You think high cost of living equates to high standard of living?
                      "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                      -John Locke

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by scott View Post
                        You think high cost of living equates to high standard of living?
                        No, but they often go hand-in-hand. You can have a high standard of living in a low-cost area (although usually only for a very limited segment of the population). If it's low cost of living, it's usually because the wages for construction, public sector and service industries are low.

                        But for the most part, it's The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
                        "Think as I think," said a man,
                        "Or you are abominably wicked;
                        You are a toad."
                        And after I had thought of it,
                        I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                          No, but they often go hand-in-hand. You can have a high standard of living in a low-cost area (although usually only for a very limited segment of the population). If it's low cost of living, it's usually because the wages for construction, public sector and service industries are low.

                          But for the most part, it's The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
                          I think you're just biased in favor of anything union, even when they are obviously well-paid and strike to get even more.
                          "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                          -John Locke

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by scott View Post
                            I think you're just biased in favor of anything union, even when they are obviously well-paid and strike to get even more.
                            Their pay scale is in line with other major metropolitan areas. And they haven't had a raise at all in at least four years. Their prior contract had voluntary give-backs because of the economy. You're just biased AGAINST anything union, even when they are obviously getting screwed.
                            "Think as I think," said a man,
                            "Or you are abominably wicked;
                            You are a toad."
                            And after I had thought of it,
                            I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                              Their pay scale is in line with other major metropolitan areas. And they haven't had a raise at all in at least four years. Their prior contract had voluntary give-backs because of the economy. You're just biased AGAINST anything union, even when they are obviously getting screwed.
                              How many industries have had a raise during the past 4 years?
                              Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                              Robert Southwell, S.J.

                              Comment

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