BART negotiations continue as unions withhold strike threat UPDATED

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Another BART strike could cripple the Bay Area.

With the 60-day cooling off period ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown coming to an end on Thursday, raising the specter of another Bay Area Rapid Transit shutdown, BART’s two main unions announced yesterday that they were holding off on calling a strike for now. [UPDATE 10/11: BART unions today issued a 72-hour strike notice, meaning they could strike on Monday].

“We’ve listened to the public and we share their concern about a disruption in service at the end of the cooling-off period.  We do not want to strike. That is why we’re not giving a 72-hour notice at this time, because we want to leave every opportunity open to try to get this deal done. Of course we are keeping all options on the table,” Service Employee International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 said in a joint statement.

Some media reports indicate that there has finally been some progress in the long-stalled negotiations, with a framework on pensions being agreed to, although the two sides still seem far apart on wages, benefits, and the length of the contract.

The unions cast it this way: “To this point of doing everything possible to avoid a strike: over the past 10 days, the unions have moved publicly three times, to BART’s zero times. If this were a score in the baseball playoffs – we, the Oakland A’s would be three and they, the Detroit Tigers would be zero. 

“At this point, if there is a disruption in service at the end of the cooling-off period, it will be for one reason and for one reason alone: our elected BART leadership has not shown leadership.”

BART Board President Tom Radulovich disputed that the concessions have been one-sided, but he said that, “They continue to want to negotiate in the media and we’re not really down with that.”

Asked to characterized where things stand and the prospects for resolving the impasse without another strike, Radulovich said, “We’re still cranking away and trying to get it done...It’s really not up to us whether there’s a strike or not. We just have to get this done.”

Meanwhile, while conservatives clamor to use the situation to get the Democrat-controlled Legislature to ban unions from striking (good luck with that one), Sup. John Avalos held a hearing yesterday at City Hall to examine some of the larger issues at play in the impasse, such as retirement security, that the Guardian covered in our July 9 issue.

Asked how the hearing went, Avalos told the Guardian, “We talked a lot about how BART has been villifying workers in the court of public opinion in an effort to weaken workers’ bargaining power.”

 

Comments

realized that they have little to no public sympathy for their position. It simply isn't realistic to expect taxpayers and farepayers to subsidize their free pensions and healthcare while they also have to pay for their own benefits.

Even the BART workers are starting to wake up and smell the coffee. Good.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 08, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

Don't be an idiot get informed and stop hating on workers that have benefits!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 1:02 am

Just benefits that are more affordable and more in line with what the rest of us get.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 7:39 am

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by beedi on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:39 am

bumpolicious

Posted by mbe on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 11:01 am

bump that baby

Posted by bramah on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:48 am
Posted by brap on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:47 am

The unions now pay 0% into their defined-benefit plans that guarantee 8% annual returns no matter what the stock market does , plans that only the 1-%ers have today.

They pay $92 a month for full healthcare coverage for themselves and all dependents. They retire at age 58 on average with pensions equivalent to 70% of their salaries (with those guaranteed 8% annual compounded returns) for life.

The public is asking itself: why do I have to pay for this?

Fortunately, I believe many BART union members now know that their juicy plans are unsustainable and will lead to bankruptcy eventually, a la Stockton and San Bernardino, in which the union members have lost their pensions entirely.

Union members are starting to face reality.

Posted by Jane on Oct. 08, 2013 @ 7:28 pm

In fairness, those benefits are nothing compared to the benefits enjoyed by BART's management.

Posted by SFRealist on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 6:30 am

problem here is that everyone at BART is overpaid in terms of both pay and benefits. Why is the average package at BART 117K a year?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 7:24 am

"Package" and "salary" are quite different, and BART median salaries are right around the area median wage. Bash them if you want, but these are working class people just like most of us.

Posted by Steven T. Jones on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 7:32 am

"Package" and "salary" are quite different, and BART median salaries are right around the area median wage. Bash them if you want, but these are working class people just like most of us.

Posted by Steven T. Jones on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 7:33 am

problem.

That said, the fact that their salaries are at the median may not be a reason to assess them as fair. If their skill level is below the emdian then so should their pay be. And remember, these trains drive themselves - the operators do very little.

And they also get OT pay, which many Bay Area workers on the same salary do not get.

Bottom line, BART workers are overpaid, the public know that, and do not support them.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 7:47 am

As a train operator I can assure you there is a heck of a lot more to driving these 30 year old trains than pushing door close buttons and making announcements. Not long ago I had to put out a fire on the trackway outside Hayward station. I've had to manually crank routes on the mainline when Central couldn't do it electrically. We all have to know how to do this, as well as troubleshoot train control problems, brakes that lock when the train is moving and by the way, that is a very dangerous situation, which could lead to a fire on the train. Your ignorance is astounding. We as train operstors are not asking for anything unreasonable. A fair contract and negotiations done in good faith.We are trained in emergency procedures, so that God forbid, you come into a station that has had a bomb go off, or there is any kind of chemical or biological warfare, the train operator is trained to respond. People's lives are in our hands when they are on our trains. The compensation we are asking for is justified.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:22 pm

The system was designed from the start for the trains to be automated, and they can do exactly what they are doing now without any operators.

Operators were deployed only because of union pressure under the guise of "safety". The skill level of the drivers is modest at best, and the simple fact is that they (you) are overpaid.

Sorry if the truth hurts but you'll get no sympathy here. You've had easy street - now welcome to reality.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 6:23 am

Your asking compensation is not justified. With BART workers getting paid 60k (or higher) a year with benefits, there is no justification for this strike. This Job requires no college degree. I appreciate the fact that trains do no drive themselves but you are making it out to be that you have a very difficult job that requires years of training. It does not. Wake up and realize that the Bay Area public does not care for your selfish pleas.

Where do you feel the compensation should come from? Tax payers? Higher Fares?

I know I am RIGHT when I BART workers deserve NO more compensation for what they do. It would not be right.

On a side note..
If BART workers continue to strike, Please let college grads like myself know. I will gladly take their current position without holding the public hostage.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 8:23 am

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by beedonit on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:41 am

your anger at those that convinced you that a college degree (perhaps paid for with debt) would unlock your pot of gold.

Organize your workplace if you want a better deal.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 11:24 am

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by jz on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 11:36 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

where people who work the hardest and have the most dangerous jobs earn the least.

Unless you define working hard as being a yes man for your boss, or in your case, your mother.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

spine or stomach to put your life or health on the line, then there are still many ways to make a buck, and especially in the Bay Area, where opportunities are unlimited if you can apply yourself.

But if you cannot or will not, then you should whine instead.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

real life

interrupting this cartoon conversation....

Posted by dma on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 11:06 am

that most Bay Area workers are underpaid, especially low to mid-level salaried employees. A wise person once told me that "working for a salary means working for free."

How far we have fallen. A $20 to $25 per hour job with benefits and retirement is becoming so rare that other working class people or professional class wannabes resent those that have held on to a decent wage for their labor.

A generation ago, no striver would have envied a bus driver, a train operator, a teacher, or a public sector functionary. Now, either you are one of the small percentage that hit it rich (and those that are will pit us against each other) or you get stuck in a low paying job with poor benefits and no retirement.

Yippee for the American Dream where train operators have become pariahs and thieves are celebrated.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

Mr. Train Operator,

Good on you that you get a decent wage/salary.

The problem is your benefits, You have a defined-benefit pension plan that has built-in 7% guaranteed compounded annual return built into it. And because this unsustainable return must be met, General Funds (tax coffers) have to be dipped into to meet your retirement costs, thus taking money away from schools, from hospitals, from road-building etc. Your pension deal was crafted in the 1990s, when it was assumed that the stock market would keep rising indefinitely. But the market rose 0% in 2000-2010. And hence you are bleeding the tax coffers dry.

Eventually BART will go bankrupt as a result and you will loose your retirement benefits entirely unless you start covering some of your pension costs (you pay 0% now) and more of your healthcare costs (you pay $92 a month for yourself and all dependents now). The taxpayers are paying about $400 a month to cover you alone.

I suggest you read about Stockton. Read about San Bernardino. Read about Detroit.

There, the workers refused any give-backs. And now they have nothing.

I wish your defined-benefit pension plan (promising guaranteed returns no matter what the stock market does) were sustainable. But at this point I, and many others, are concerned because your pension needs are taking money away from the poor and needy.

Please do not strike on Friday. The public does not have your back.

Posted by Jane on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 6:20 am

What's this "compounded annual return"? Aren't pensions annuities? Based on salary rate and years of service?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 2:31 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

That's true of defined contribution plans, but that shouldn't be the case in the context of a defined benefit plan. Individual accounts are maintained, but that's mostly so an employee who leaves before retirement age can withdraw their contributions. And I'm pretty sure those wouldn't guarantee 7% compounded annually.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

Which i don't care about only as long as the workers are responsible for any shortfall and not the taxpayers and farepayers.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

We should probably have more correct information floating around, though.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:16 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

Well, oversimplifications are easy to understand. :P

It's not like I disagree, but people should know exactly what they're getting into, no more, no less. It's actually slightly less bad than you think, anyway.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 5:40 pm
Posted by b on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

If there is someone willing to do your job for elss money than you are getting, then you are overpaid by definition.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 6:25 am

for the plutocrats. Ayn Rand is dead. If she were alive, she wouldn't fuck you, but she would fuck you over.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 7:43 am

because you believe that you shouldn't get the best value?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 8:28 am

Wage slavery is a drag and so is your neoliberal philosophy.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 9:34 am

One barber charges $15 and another charges $20. They give you an identical haircut. You choose the more expensive one?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 9:55 am
Posted by bs on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

What is the point? You think their benefits are free and have no value?

Their benefits cost a fortune - why would that ever NOT be a consideration in evaluating compensation? Makes no sense...

Posted by Guest on Oct. 09, 2013 @ 4:34 pm
Posted by bsm on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

60k 60k 60k

Posted by dmma on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 11:03 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 12:03 pm
Posted by gher on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 1:12 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

i'm just sparking these little vignettes

to bump worse troll bs lower down, to the second page of the comments

Posted by hge on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

The same thing you always do, and changing your handle from Racer doesn't mask the same lame tactic.

I'm just proving how and why it doesn't work.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

second page, it becomes clear that you are wrong

Posted by hullaballooo on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

3rd or 4th or 5th page, which there often is. Not everyone suffers from this difficulty you appear to have with multi-page comments.

Of course, with Disqus, there is only one page, so what will you do then?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

it means that i can continue to count on your unwitting assistance

Posted by htpm on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

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