Aug. 4, 2013, coverage of potential BART strike 2.0: BART Strike Deadline Update: Talks Go Down to the Wire, Again

Update: California Secretary of Labor Marty Morgenstern announced at about 10:50 p.m. in Oakland that BART’s two striking unions have agreed to return to work as negotiations with management continue. Train service is to resume at 3 p.m. Friday. More details: Strike is over, for now: Unions agree to return to work while talks continue

Find more coverage on Wednesday’s strike.

Find more coverage on Tuesday’s strike.

Find more coverage on Monday’s strike.

An eastbound BART train departs San Francisco's 24th Street/Mission station.
An eastbound BART train departs San Francisco’s 24th Street/Mission station.

The latest (12:01 a.m. Monday):

  • BART’s two main unions have announced that talks have failed and they are on strike. It’s BART’s first strike since 1997.
  • Unions say members will stay on the job after the midnight deadline to complete all scheduled runs.
  • Earlier, contract talks between BART management and the two main unions — Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 — came to an end about 8:30 p.m. this evening. The two sides met with a state-appointed mediator for about 5½ hours at Caltrans District 4 headquarters in Oakland. BART reportedly says it will have no new offers this evening for the unions.
  • After unions left the negotiations, ATU Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant apologized for the actions she said workers had been forced to take. “We came here as a last-ditch effort as requested by the governor’s office, to sit down with this employer to try and see if they would present us with a proposal that we could work with.”
  • Josie Mooney, head of the BART chapter of the SEIU Local 1021, said: “In the event they change their mind and want to offer a proposal that we can represent to our members as a fair and equitable contract proposal, we will be waiting until midnight.”
  • And the statement from BART negotiator Rick Rice after the talks broke up: “While we do not have official word from the unions about a strike we must caution riders that a strike may commence after the end of regularly scheduled service today. We have a long way to go but we can’t get any closer if we aren’t at the table. We reached tentative agreements on 11 items today and we should use that momentum to reach a deal. Walking away doesn’t do any good. The public doesn’t deserve to be punished. We are sorry they have decided to strike despite the fact we are willing to negotiate. The District is prepared to return to talks and get this finished. We would have worked all night long.”
  • As union leaders suggested in their comments, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has taken an active interest in the negotiations. By way of the Associated Press:

    Marty Morgenstern, Brown’s secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, requested that
    talks continue between Service Employees International Union Local 1021, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and BART representatives, Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said Sunday.

    Westrup added that the governor will not call for a “cooling off period” and state mediators will continue assisting the negotiating parties as the unions’ contracts are set to expire at midnight.

    “BART and its labor unions owe the public a swift resolution of their differences,” Westrup said. “All parties should be at the table doing their best to find common ground.”

  • San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee also commented on the possible strike: “I join Gov. Brown in urging BART union and management leaders to return to the bargaining table.”
  • BART has apparently doubled its salary proposal, from 4 percent over four years to 8 percent. But they delivered that proposed increase at the end of the day Saturday after union negotiators had departed talks in Oakland. Unions, which agreed to no salary increase in 2009, have been seeking an increase of 23 percent over the life of the contract.
  • The unions question whether BART’s offer is all the agency says it is. From Michael Cabanatuan and John King in the San Francisco Chronicle:

    Union officials disagree (that BART has doubled its offer). The extra 1 percent pay per year that BART offered in the latest proposal is contingent, they said, on factors ranging from ambitious ridership increases and sales tax revenues to reductions in the number of employees seeking Family Medical Leave Act absences.

    “On the surface it looks like a raise,” (Antonette) Bryant (president of ATU Local 1555) said. “But it’s not really a raise. It certainly leaves us in the red — 3 to 4 percent lower than our wages now.”

  • In other BART-related salary news: The Bay Area News Group’s Thomas Peele reported Saturday that the transit agency owes its top-tier employees almost $8 million in accrued vacation pay. In fact, some employees have so much vacation time stacked that they’ll be paid for a year or more after leaving the job. That group used to include ousted General Manager Dorothy Dugger, who was paid $330,000 in accrued vacation pay last year.
  • Crowds from San Francisco's LGBT Pride celebration throng BART's Civic Center station on Sunday. (KQED/Deb Svoboda)
    Crowds from San Francisco’s LGBT Pride celebration throng BART’s Civic Center station on Sunday. (KQED/Deb Svoboda)

    Meantime, BART is taking some heat (via Twitter anyway) for sticking to a Sunday schedule –fewer trains, no direct Richmond or Fremont service from San Francisco — even as today’s huge Pride crowd descended on the city (and a smaller crowd headed out to the Oakland Coliseum to see the A’s beat the St. Louis Cardinals). BART announced it was the largest Sunday ridership in the system’s history.

* * *
If the strike happens: We’ll see as many as 200,000 people looking for another way to get to work or school or the airport (the 400,000 figure we see in connection with BART weekday ridership refers to individual fare-gate entries, not individual riders). And even though that’s estimated to be just 5 percent of the people who travel around the Bay Area every day, that will be enough to create commute chaos (or BARTocalypse, according to our super-intern Alex Emslie). Things will be especially tough in the BART-dependent East Bay. The best resource we’ve seen for transit alternatives is’s BART Strike Info page. If you’re trying to figure out how to get around in a BART-less world Monday, check there first.

* * *

Will AC Transit strike? The East Bay’s principal bus transit agency is facing a driver walkout that could also occur at midnight. (Latest statistics from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission show AC Transit has about 190,000 passenger boardings each weekday.) The chief effect would be to make the commute from the East Bay even more nightmarish than it will be with BART shut down. AC Transit reported Sunday there is some movement toward a settlement, and the agency’s board is set to meet late this afternoon in Oakland to discuss the contract situation.

[View the story “BART Strike Deadline Update” on Storify]

  • JFK

    Good report. Someone with courage should free the BART workers from their selfish labor union and let them choose their own destiny, freely.

    • Miresslemes1989

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      Right, but there’s a big difference between something being
      uncomfortable and it being impossible, and I was simply presenting the
      information in case someone was interested. Some may be, many will not, I
      get that. Even converting a small percentage of trips can have a big
      positive impact on congestion, however, so I don’t see the harm in
      simply presenting the information and am frankly surprised that anyone
      would be offended by it.

    • chrisfs

      I think you have a very distorted view on the share of power here. The union was voted in freely by the workers it represents, and can be voted out at any point in time by those same workers. Without a union, workers would have no bargaining power, as the company could just fired them at will and replace them with lower paid workers.

      • GoodGod

        And this is a bad thing for the paying public?

        • chrisfs

          Yes because the fares stay the same (or keep going up), only where that money goes to is changed. If you thought a salary cut for workers meant cheaper fares for you, you are sadly mistaken.

          Poorly paid workers meant poor maintenance. less clean cars, more broken fare machines etc,

          • Karen

            Bart workers are not paid for the quality of work they put out and they are not “poorly paid workers” for that matter. Their current compensation is more than generous for the work they put in. I’m sorry, I don’t see how caving in to these “robbers” are going to make Bart riders experience better. I’m sick of the Unions trying to make it as if the Unions are doing the public a favor.

          • chrisfs

            Do you have some kind of objective way to compare the work the workers do with their salary? Do you have a list of how long it takes to fix something or clean a car and whether that’s good or bad? Is it harder or easier than the BART board of director’s job , or a banker’s job ?

            If you want to get better system, you need to pay them.

          • Andrew Susanto

            and you think raising the workers salary will not make them raise their salary as well? HAHAHA where did you get that idea?
            Both management and Workers are greedy, Public is getting screwed because of two cats fighting for their Fish

          • chrisfs

            “and you think raising the workers salary will not make them raise their salary as well?”,

            Yes Andrew, as you say. I think raising their salaries will make them raise their salaries….

            If you meant raising their salaries will cause them to raise fares (words, they can be tricky, tricky things ), workers aren’t in control of fares. The BART board of directors is in charge of setting fares and they will do what they do for many factors and salaries is only one of them, and salaries of workers (apart from management and the directors themselves) is even a smaller factor.

          • Andrew Susanto

            Smaller factor? and what makes you think raising the workers salary will make everyone else happy and somehow now they are costing everyone else money instead by striking and hurt 200 K people in process?

            Increase salary means Bart has to cover more expenses and this will resulting in everyone else pay for it.

            it is not rocket science either knowing that increase expenses = increase fares.

            The slowly process of increasing fares will becomes faster than ever by incresing salaries

          • Brian D.

            hey chrisfs: check most stations, machines are broken all the time! elevators and escalators are out ALL the time! BART cars STINK, are filthy and are so run down, and poorly maintained! some of us refuse to sit, and stand the whole commute, even with seats available! Switching from upholstered seats to plastic, would help, and assisting in cleaning the cars out. Try riding on the NY subway system for awhile. Their cars are old, use plastic seats, and still maintain a level of sanitation that BART only had in its first few years of operation.

          • bobsoper

            That’s entirely the fault of management which is in charge of directing the resources to where they’re needed. Where are all these anti-union shills coming from?

      • Brian D.

        That is the reality of the U.S. It happens every day, in every private sector company. Perform to or better than a set of standards, or face unemployment. If the organization is not “profitable”, employees are the first to go! BART is short $250,000,000 this year alone!, this shortfall is being made up by the taxpayers! Time to look at work rules, hourly compensation FOR ALL EMPLOYEES, and begin thinning the herd!

        • bobsoper

          Spoken like a true lackey for the rich.

  • Prinzrob

    Don’t forget about bicycling as a great (and predictable) option for commuting, and bikes+transit can be combined for longer distance commutes. The East Bay Bicycle Coalition has put together the following resource for East Bay and Transbay bike commute options throughout the strike:

    • Chasity Flanders

      Explain to me how I would bike to work from Fremont to Daly City?

      • Prinzrob

        Hi @chasityflanders:disqus. I get that you are being sarcastic, but you could for instance bike from Fremont over the Dumbarton Bridge bike path to the Menlo Park or Palo Alto Caltrain stations (about 15 miles) and then take the train up to Daly City from there. We know folks from the Fremont Freewheelers bike club who make this same commute by bike almost every week. 15 miles is a long way to go, I know, but not if you think about it as combining your commute + gym time. It might even take you less time than a car commute in BART strike congestion.

        Beyond that, I’m not a zealot and know that plenty of people have long commutes that are not easily converted into a bike or bike+transit alternative. However, the idea shouldn’t be discounted out of hand, and as I stated earlier the information is available at so people can be informed of their options. There are tens of thousands of drivers on our streets every morning with commutes of 5 miles or less which could very easily be converted into bike trips, saving those people money and saving the rest of the drivers on the road time by not adding to the congestion. Encouraging more of the people who can make a bike commute to do so even benefits you as a driver, so it’s a win-win!

        • Chris J

          That, frankly, is the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard. You talk about a 15 mile bike ride through windy bay breezes as casually as a walk to the corner store. Seriously! Some people don’t even ENJOY biking or don’t feel SAFE biking so get off your high horse…or tall handlebars and get real.

          While I agree that biking would be better for us all in terms of carbon footprint, general health, etc., do not PRESUME in your casual manner that you have presented a workable solution. It MIGHT work for a few dozen people, but the population here isn’t ready for your starry-eyed optimism.

          Nice try, though, and I respect your attempt regardless.

          • Prinzrob

            Right, but there’s a big difference between something being uncomfortable and it being impossible, and I was simply presenting the information in case someone was interested. Some may be, many will not, I get that. Even converting a small percentage of trips can have a big positive impact on congestion, however, so I don’t see the harm in simply presenting the information and am frankly surprised that anyone would be offended by it.

            Other people have as long or even longer commutes than @chasityflanders:disqus, and I of course wouldn’t presume casually that they could make them by bike. The reality is that many people have much shorter commutes, though, and are still making them by car every day. All I am doing is providing information so that they can personally make an informed decision based on their own criteria.

        • Prinzrob

          There’s more info on the Dumbarton Bridge bike route from Fremont to Palo Alto here:

          I’m not saying it is pleasant and certainly not insisting that it is the right solution for everyone, but anybody who is thinking about trying it out can get tips on what to expect at the link above.

      • Chris J

        Well, obviously these bike riders think that you’re willing to spend 4-5 hours a day on your one-way commute, swimming part of it with water wings.

        • Prinzrob

          Please, I’m not suggesting anything unreasonable so stop with the antagonism. Every person who gets on a bike Monday instead of into their car will make the congestion that much more bearable for everyone else. If a bike doesn’t work for you then fine.

          • Chris J

            I mentioned, quite sincerely, that I respected your attempt to encourage biking. I bike to work…often. Suggesting to Chastity a 15 mile bike ride was certainly a little silly, you have to admit. I agree that there are a lot of folks with short less-than-five mile commutes who would do better with biking. Sorry to be so antagonistic.

          • Prinzrob

            Thanks, and I apologize if my Dumbarton Bridge suggestion came across as presumptuous.

  • Ginger

    Go union!!!

    • Chris J

      Yesss…none of these guys earn enough money sitting on their asses as it stands, so yeah…go union.

      • Mikey

        Wow and what do you do idiot. Most jobs have workers sit down but these guys have to deal with morons like you!

        • Chris J

          I stand on my feet 8 hours a day, part of the job. I’m a very polite fellow and I don’t resent the ticket or station agents earning what they earn.

          I think BART workers are doing pretty damned well. That’s all. And no name calling necessary, pal.

        • eraserhead12

          “to deal with”–oh you mean, sitting in their glass booths being totally unhelpful whilst they jabber to their bff’s on their cell phones? when they say “I don’t care, I ain’t doin nothing ’bout it” after I told them I was repeatedly harassed by hustlers when trying to buy a ticket?

          taking the entire bay area hostage because they have the power to do so–effectively hurting the environment, local business owners, other transit systems/freeways, blue-collar workers who can’t simply telecommute, millions in lost productivity/revenue–and we’re the morons. I get you.

    • kylekyle

      Right! Go union — straight to hell!!!

  • Be realistic

    Do you know what happens when the majority of people don’t show up for work and whine about their job like a two year old. They get fired. Stand up for what’s right and fair, and do it in a grown up fashion. Don’t try to exploit and bully people to get your way. You know who this will hurt in the end, the middle and lower class. Have some self respect. Look at the stastics of your jobs pay/benefits and the skills you have vs other jobs skills and the pay & work they do then please come back and complain about your $62,000 starting salary. I am a sure others would love to take it.

    • chrisfs

      So what is standing up for what’s right in a grown up fashion ? Negotiations have gone on for months. During the worse of the recession BART workers took no raises, (even though rent and other things went up). How are they not going to get screwed? They have tried asking politely, it didn’t work.

      • Andrew Susanto

        They are not getting screwed, try to find other job, and that’s what we called getting screwed, you haven’t been fired yet and your pay is above average, and you think it is getting screwed? LOL very laughable. If you think you can survive with your education level anywhere else with the same pay, you can try. Management need to be fired for giving themselves more than 150 K salaries, but Workers who strike and Costing 200 k people their jobs and money doesn’t deserve any better but curses

        • chrisfs

          They haven’t had a raise for five years and they have even had a bunch of givebacks. They have this job, they applied along with a bunch of other people, they got hired, they work their job, they negotiated their salary. Bad times come, they voluntarily take no reason, things are getting better and they would like a raise again. Simple as that.

          (oh and there’s some safety issues, like better lights when working in the tunnels and stuff)

          Sorry if for some weird reason, you’re upset about that and want them to earn something less because their education level is not what you expect it to be….

          So you’re angry at management, where are the posts that you are angry at management, other than this obscure comment on a local tv station blog ?

          Costing 200k people their jobs ??? Exactly who has gotten fired because of a BART strike beyond their control and wouldn’t that be their employer’s fault ? And wouldn’t an employer like that fire people for just breathing wrong ?

          So if they have been negotiating for months (on top of their regular job), and keeping the trains running and that hasn’t got anywhere, what’s the next step ?
          If there’s no teeth, then management (the same management that gave themselves 150k) can just ignore them, what is going to happen if the workers can only talk. They can talk until they are blue in the face, if they can’t strike, they’ll be making a lot lower wage. The reason they aren’t making minimum wage is because they can strike if they need to.

          Even then they don’t strike often. Last time was in 1997, 16 years ago.

          No one wants to strike, but if you want decent pay for decent work, the option needs to be there.

          Maybe you need to step back and take a look at a bigger picture.

          • Andrew Susanto

            Costing means money by getting other means of transportation, companies are losing productivity and productivity means money, are you really that dumb? If they don’t like their job quit, just like the rest of people does, dont blackmail the whole community with your twisted spoiled little Act.

            If Nurses hasnt had raise for 5 years should they be on Strike as well, leaving people who is sick unatttended and should it be your family, and maybe there is other facilities that will cost you 200 % would you be angry? or you would be saying” oh hey its okay my family is in trouble as long as you are getting ur raise? Lol there are always consequences in Striking and it cost everyone else the money because of your benefits.

            Indeed they can strike when they need to at the cost of everyone else, is that right thing to do? or is it really selfish act to do?
            and no you should take a step back and see the bigger picture

          • chrisfs

            That’s costing money, not ‘costing their jobs’. It’s an important difference.

            And nurses are unionized and they do strike, and they make arrangements for the critically ill. They were on strike earlier this year.

            But what you want is for workers to have absolutely no way to negotiate for their job. They can be paid whatever management wants or quit. (the same management you hate for giving themselves 150k). What happens with that, is that people quit and you only get the people who are desperate and willing to work for low wages running and repairing the trains and tracks. (and teaching your kids and running your radio stations, and cleaning your hotel room and baking your bread, and building your car and your house etc ). And that’s a bad idea. BART workers are standing up for themselves.

            And they aren’t my benefits, I don’t work for BART.

          • Andrew Susanto

            Working is a job Money is also came from a job, when you screwed them they have less things they can do with less money everything is connected unlike your small little mind. yes do they leave people stranded? NO! they are still being treated, there are plenty of people who doesn’t go to work or can’t go to work at all. What do you do about it, give them a lift? Which part of your participation help them? And for your information your job isnt low wage please stop making stupid claims. There are way lower wages than yours and work harder and more. yeah and how do you think and who do you think pay for all their claims?
            Like I said before in many companies you don’t like your job you don’t like your PAY F ING QUIT!!!!! If you think of highly of yourself you should be able to get the same paid job elsewhere? CAN YOU?!

          • Andrew Susanto

            Lol and how do you know people aren’t losing their jobs for being late and for work interview, are you god?

            Low wages low wages low wages, thats all you say go check some reality its not low wages.

            Nurses on strike and still have arrangements for the critically ill, do you make arrangement for people who paid 50 $ a day to get to work and go home?

          • Brian D.

            Management at BART is part of the problem. They are also UNIONIZED! Management and Supervisory people are suppose to be EXEMPT employees, not unionized. This also needs to be changed!

      • Brian D.

        chrissfs: you continue to say “no raise”, well most of us consider receiving Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) as a raise, since we are making more money than we did before the COLA. BART employees received a 1% raise the first day of the strike! Don’t post BS, stick with facts, not what you have been spoon fed by union bosses that are great in painting an inaccurate picture of reality!

  • schenone13

    And just exactly where do these OVER PAID, underworked entitled government employees think these proposed monies are going to come from ? The same place that ALL the city, county, state and nationally HUGHLY underfunded government pension monies are gonna come from.
    I am tired of gettin boned with the government being complicit to the act. If they don’t like their jobs and attendant comprehensive compensation package, they should quit, and watch just how long it takes to fill them.

    UNIONS ARE GOOD ! They are the ones who brought us the 40 hour work week/week-ends, our standard of living ; seiu is giving them a dirty/tainted image. Management needs to pull the reins way in with these extortionists.

    • Frank

      We are not exactly talking about a 40 hour work week and slave labor wages anymore or are we? Let these poor overworked and underpaid bart and city workes find a job in the real world and see what they are really worth!

      • schenone13

        I recently completed a class at city college of san francisco which suffers from the same kind of irresponsible brain dead employee compensation. My instructor works MUCH less than 52 weeks per year, less than 32 hours per week and is paid OVER $90 K per year in salary alone.

        If you want to get REALLY outraged contact for the entire payroll at CCSF. This is public information and is available through the sunshine ordinances which is how I got it.

        • pc

          Teachers don’t operate the same way other workers do. At CCSF full time teachers are in the classroom 25 hours. This is very exhausting work talking in front of a group of 25-30 people every day. Aside from contact hours with students, you have to prepare classes, do office work, attend meetings and join committees. It’s not as easy as you think.

          • schenone13

            Wait, let me go grab my violin. Most would take your extremely generous 25 hour week crucifix deal in a heart beat. Tell were do I sign up ?

          • chrisfs

            There’s plenty of teaching jobs available. Keep in mind, your job doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom. Every teacher I know works 40 hours or often more, grading papers, creating assignments and other things. If that’s what you want to do, there’s plenty of jobs.

          • above

            Point taken. There may be some teachers who who might still “create assignments”, and grade papers, but didn’t they sort of know that some of that was to be expected before they got into that line of work ?
            I am aware of several individuals who have teaching credentials, are not employeed in that capacity. One of them who would have been willing to cut off an appendage to get a job, any job at CCSF.
            I do not accept your suggestion that there are in fact “plenty of jobs” ; as a matter of fact I find it laughable in a state wherein the unemployment rate is 10%.

          • chrisfs

            Are you the same person as schenone13 ? Your points are completely different. He said most people would take a “25 hour week” job, claiming that it was easy. I pointed out it was not easy and people who are teachers know it’s not easy. That’s not the point. It’s people like schenone13 who mistakenly claim it’s easy. If you know several people with teaching credentials who aren;t teaching, you may want to ask them why. The people with teaching credentials that aren’t teaching that I know say it’s because the hours are too long for not enough pay.

            The unemployment rate in CA is 10%, but for the SF Bay Area, it’s 5.4%.


            As for teaching jobs, here’s hundreds if not thousands. If schenone13 was asking for him/herself, they would only need to get one of them.






            Of course this would mean you would have to stop complaining about the BART strike long enough to actually apply for those jobs.

          • Andrew Susanto

            haha its okay I believe they are both dumb, they compare a teacher job to pressing buttons job LOL

          • johnny

            Look, don’t get me wrong.
            I am all for people getting a working wage, particularly in the bay area.
            I BELIEVE in Unions.
            I support collective bargaining.
            I am not blind, nor ignorant, and have common sense
            My point is, there are a lot of overpaid public service employees out there, who do a crumby job, have a shit*y attitude and aren’t worth what they are getting now ! And when I say, “getting now” I mean salary, benefits, pension, bullet proof job security, etc. Call S.F. government, many act like they are doing you a big favor versus their job
            Some of the government BS I read about in the Chronicle, at my expense makes me bristle.
            To reiterate, I would be willing to bet, if they put these existing job up for grabs, you would have a line of applicants that stretched to Bakersfield ; wanna bet ?
            Speaking of the Chronicle, Robert Reich (former Sec. of Labor, Clinton Admin) has been pounding away in his Sunday column for a long time on the growing disparities that have been going on for the last 2-3 DECADES.
            Let me be clear, without doubt, the bloating at the top both in private industry, public sector even professional sports is ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGEOUS & RIDICULOUS !
            Tune next week for the next installment of :
            “How the World Turns”, brought to you by Pepto Mismall

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    • Mudflapman

      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 credit/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:

      “ Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. ..

      Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that “under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government.”

      And, yes, I said taxpayers are the losers. Consider the excellent reporting of the Bay Area News Group that has shown just how lacking the oversight of management by the elected Board of Directors has been. Like too many public agencies, there is no limit on how much vacation time can be accrued by senior management. BART gives six weeks after 19 years plus 13 holidays. That is almost nine weeks off every year.

      Some agencies allow employees to sell back unused vacation and take it as cash, while others, like BART, simply allow it to accrue. My former employer established a firm limit—once that was hit—no additional vacation would accrue. That’s a common practice in the private sector because once vacation is earned, by law, it must be paid.

      Former BART general manager Dorothy Dugger, who was forced out and pocketed a handsome settlement because the board fouled up firing her, remained on the payroll for two additional years after she stepped down as GM. That’s a board oversight issue and one that obviously needs to be addressed. BART’s vacation liability for 290 senior employees, according to BANG reporting, is 135,000 hours or 69 years at BART’s 37.5-hour work week.

      It is entirely fair to ask who is minding the store? Clearly, nobody. I say we need an overhaul, they should all get fired!

    • Mel A. M

      Spoken like a true manager.. Ha!

      • Andrew Susanto

        spoken like a true idiot! ha!

  • Joe

    They are public sector workers. Hopefully everyone wants BART to be efficient as possible. But, assuming a given level of efficiency, every extra dollar they earn is either a dollar more for passengers or tax-payers (do you want to pay?) or a dollar less for education, social welfare, and the like. In these times, there are far more worthy causes. Screw em.

  • Librarybeadlady

    I have been commuting from East Bay to SF for over thirty years during which time we have faced the threat of BART and AC Transit strikes several times–actually only twice with AC Transit. Nobody wins if there is a strike. Commuters are screwed during the strike and after (with fare increases –BART employees and families ride free–and increased taxes.) Union members lose wages. Only the district wins because they save when they are not operating. For me, the big question is why don’t they escalate talks sooner? We of the private sector, especially in the last 5 years, are lucky to receive a 1% pay raise-and that includes cost of living. Most of us have to pay into a 401K with some employer contribution, but most of us do not receive the employer contribution. Medical insurance premiums have been increasing in double-digit percentages the past few years. Most of us pay a portion or the entirety of our health insurance premiums. So BART unions, are you living in an alternate universe? The recession may be over for some, but it is not over and the economy will probably never return to that of the 80’s or 90’s. How about a compromise? And BART management, how about trying just a little harder to avert a strike? I realize you lose nothing if there is a strike, except that we will be certain to vote in new directors.

    • chrisfs

      I don’t see the point of arguing that since you don’t get something from an employer, no one should. That’s a quick way to the bottom. Workers in Bangladesh don’t get full weekends or safety gear, why should we ? Unless you have a specific insight into BART finances, you can’t say what BART can and can’t afford. You can consider the way the finances are spread out. Should a lot of money go to the top and workers get paid not so much, or should the revenue go to make sure the workers get decent health insurance and a pension since they do most of the important work ?
      The same is true in your situation. Why aren’t you getting compensated better? In the private sector, the stock market has been soaring for the last year and CEO pay hasn’t dropped, and senior management pay hasn’t either. Why not stand for yourself instead of of ripping on other people who stand up for themselves ?

      • Roseanne

        You are so stupid! No one here is saying that no one should get a decent salary and benefits. They’re saying the BART pay and benefits are obscene and unwarranted for a bunch of high school graduates who lucked out and jumped on the gravy train. If they are not happy with what they are getting let them try to get another job making even HALF their ridiculous salary. There are thousands of people who would apply for their jobs — too bad they can’t all be fired. They are greedy and lazy and don’t care about anything but fattening their own wallets and planning their privileged retirement. And ten weeks vacation — obscene when 90 percent of the US is lucky to get two or three. Read through these posts and you will see that 98 percent of the people ate against their greedy demands.

        • kylekyle

          And they aren’t just standing up for their own greedy demands they are making the whole Bay are part of their demands. Most workers don’t have the option of screwing the rest of the population I. Order to get what they want. BART workers care zero about whether someone else loses pay or their job because they can’t get to work. GREED plain and simple.

        • chrisfs

          Here’s the current BART contract

          It says they get three weeks to start and after 20 years they get 6 weeks (Page 34). Nowhere does it say 10 weeks. Someone made that up.

          Whether it was ignorance or intentionally slamming the workers, I don’t know, but you sure picked it up and didn’t question. It seems that you are less interested in facts and more interested in complaining. I wonder what else you are saying is just made up. Them getting a decent retirement isn’t going to hurt you any

          • Ranger Bagel

            Further, BART unions are pushing for safer work environments that counter crime and accidents. That directly benefits commuters.

          • Brian D.

            thanx, been looking for a copy all week. Now will really be able to nail things down for the Board!

      • bobsoper

        “Why not stand for yourself instead of ripping on other people who stand up for themselves?”
        Well said, chrisfs. I’m perplexed at all of the idiotic anti-union sentiment in these comments threads… either the BART board has hired a PR firm to flood them with anti-worker comments (a real possibility– sock-puppets are rampant these days), or a major percentage of our population have had their brains turned to mush by Fox News & Rush Limbaugh.
        Looking at comments like those of “MAH” below… I think it’s probably some PR hack churning out anti-union baloney (and up-ratings– you’ll note that all of them are nearly always anonymous “guest votes”) using several different screen names.

  • DAVID S.

    go back to the tables or take a cool off period of a few days then go back to the table. seriously it’s not like any of these employees are not replaceable.. lol people with college degrees and years of education can’t get a job and these idiots voted for a strike. although a strike many times is simply a chess play or who blinks first, this time it is simply bad timing. no one will empathize with your cause should you go on strike in these hard times, NO ONE!!

    • Geta job

      Maybe all you people complaining should start a union…

      • Joseph

        The rest of us are not interested in extorting money from the public like BART workers. We live in the real world not the unsustainable world of public “workers” sucking on the public teat. We have some personal pride and aren’t lazy greedy jerks who suck and suck and suck with insatiable greed.

    • GoodGod

      Exactly, well put! This whole strike makes me sick, sick and more sick.

      I just got back to work after being out of work for 7 months. It’s a humbling experience. Still work for 2000 wages after gaining a couple of degrees and certificates. Can you say cut in pay as well. I’m trying to better my position in the workplace. These guys are just trying to bully their way into a raise. No Respect…. It would feel different if it wasn’t way above the average pay (almost double) for someone in the trades that sweats day in day out for a living.

  • hollie

    Striking is childish. PPl are struggling to find work and get by so if you workers dont like your job then quit and let some one else take over.. Were adults so act like it

  • MAH

    When is the citizenry of the Bay Area going to wake up and say enough. Many government workers are over compensated, receiving benefits that few, if any in the private sector receive. Our elected officials are gutless and cave to the unions but make a show of refusing a few of the nearly two dozen outrageous demands of the union demagogues. Rise up citizens. Get mad as hell. Tell them – “I am not going to take it any more.”.

  • MarsCar

    I am so tired of hearing blabbering overpaid transit workers cry about their wages. Most people would be happy with a 4% raise! Now the over taxed citizens will have to pay for this strike on top of the 3.5% tax we already pay. What exactly has our money bought us? Bart employees are definitely not going to issue taxpayers a refund. Nor will they pay all the citizens who will loose 3 days pay because they cannot get to work. Taxpayers have prepaid BART employees and they owe us continuous uninterrupted transportation and they should refund taxpayers for this strike.

    • jamesapril

      Agreed. They’re greedy and that’s all there is to it. They went home at 8:30 Sunday. Clearly they want to strike, despite their official whining. Get rid of the unions, private sector employees with no-strike contract clauses.

    • Brian D.

      Agree, time to have Driver Less Trains, robotic station agents, and mass computerization of the whole system! If we are going to pay for something, lets get a good return on our dollars!

  • worKkerbee

    these Bart workers get 10 weeks vacation per year! I get 10 days, i think these people should join the real world

    • chrisfs

      They don’t get 10 weeks of vacation uniformly, and even if they did, I would like you to join the rest of the real world (Europe, Canada etc), in which that’s not an uncommon amount of time. Too many workers here, who are more than happy to support the company line of ‘low pay and non benefits is all we can afford, or we have to fire you’. Too scared to fight for what they need.

      • Fire them all

        You are clearly a BART union troll. BART workers get outrageous pay and benefits. Why do you think they should be paid more than most people? You act like they’re in need of this raise to survive but they only want this raise and outrageous payment of their employee share of pension. No one gets that so paying that for BART workers does nothing to raise the lot of the rest of the world. They are lazy, greedy, people who should be fired. Do you have any idea how long it would take to replace them with people who want to work and not just rack up big money and extravagant benefits. They would be mobbed with willing workers to take the jobs. And what a crock when they whine that this strike is about “safety”. Bull! It’s about greed.

        • chrisfs

          I’m not related to BART at all. Plenty of people here are either mgmts trolls or just ignorant or angry about BART being down for a few days. Here’s the last contract

          Show me the 10 weeks of vacation and the huge salaries. You won’t see it because it’s not there. They start with three and after 20 years get 6 weeks. Do you want a transit system run like McDonalds?

          • Brian D.

            Yes, I would like BART run like McDonald’s. Maximum product output with the lowest cost!
            McDonald’s is self funding, for PAY and benefits, and annual maintenance, as well as new capitalization projects. They pay the employees well, with good benefits, and are recognize for the efficient manner in which they operate. Their employees are not rude, will go out of their way to help/assist you, and still provide a product that is beneficial to the population, and is competitive! So YES, run BART like McDonald’s.

      • Brian D.

        @chrissfs, they get 6 weeks, after working a single month, and may take it after 6 months of continuous employment. I worked for the same employer for 15 years, continuous service, and I only received 3 weeks. I and BART also got national holidays, BART gets state holidays as well. I received 7 days (after 15 years) of sick time per year, BART receive 10. If you know Europe, then you know, they get 4 weeks. A single month, but they are expected to work until the job gets done! If that is 40 or if it is 80 hours per week, that is what they work. MOST don’t get overtime, (some do), some get OT in the form of more vacation (Holiday) time. Of course, they are having massive financial problems (Greece, Spain, Italy), and now they are being asked to rein in on these benefits. Just like what is happening at BART. Help pay for your medical, pension, retirement medical, 401(k), etc.. Know your stuff, before you post, and don’t be a mouth piece of the union.

  • Brian D.

    the median salary in the Bay Area, in 2012, was $48,000 per year. BART employees receive $113,000 per year. That is a 235% disparity to those who pay their compensation. I have to live on a fixed income, pension and my Social Security. Where do you think I am going to get the 23% INCREASE they are asking for?
    Time for Driverless Trains, since it is legal in CA, for driverless cars, and at SFO they are using driverless trains. Time to embrace technology to decrease operating costs at BART! Let BART Management, know you support driverless trains, and embrace technology, to lower their operating costs!

    • GoodGod

      That’s what I’m talking about…. Not fair for those of us on fixed income or that haven’t seen raises for over 10 years. Who exactly do these people think they are? This doesn’t just got for BART employees. This could go for say… I don’t know the gas companies. These guys are going to kill our country

      • chrisfs

        Then you need to talk about getting your own fixed income raised in tune with the cost of living and not trying to bring everyone else down to your level

        • Brian D.

          Hope you never reach the age of retirement, so you don’t have to eat your own words!

          • chrisfs

            I have a grandfather who worked hard all his life and he is doing fine, We talk a lot and he says he’s done alright in the Army and a job afterwards and that government services are important and he’s happy to pay taxes for them. Owns a house free and clear, has got someone to look after him. I’ll take his word over yours.

          • Andrew

            Brian is angry because he made some unwise choices in his life. Try to be nice to him. SS retirement benefits have COLA adjustments, no one ever expects you to live on the same benefit amount you were receiving 5 years ago so why should any workers wages be frozen that long? Pretend as if your child gave up his holidays, weekends, school plays for his kids, worked in horrible weather conditions and workplace hazards. I think you would change your tune.

          • Brian D.

            @Andrew, I am not angry at all! I made many good choices in my life, and retiring was one of them.
            Yes, I receive COLA, so did BART over the past 5 years (Monday, fist day of the strike, they all received a 1% increase). This is not about “catching up”, this is about getting more for the same amount of work. Their incomes were all raised, while the recession was in full swing!
            Horrible weather conditions? Telephone and Electrical repair people go out in hurricanes to fix snapped wires. When I worked we also worked outdoors, regardless of weather! Don’t put items into the conversation that don’t belong.
            Work place hazards? Dealing with the public is an issue in itself, but that is why their are BART Police, city officers, and county officers. You can’t control everyone, and anticipate what they are going to do, but a station agent, in a plexiglass cubicle does not need a bullet proof screen. How many have been shot while in the booth? A: 0 (zero) over 40 years. They don’t handle cash, they don’t need a $2 million cube!

          • Brian D.

            Good to hear about your grandfather. This is not staying even to where you start. BART had received COLA increases over the past 5 years. As your grandfather can attest to, he receives them, so do I! But we don’t receive a 23% increase on top of our COLA’s.

    • chrisfs

      Why do you think cutting the salary of Bart workers is going to stop fare increases ? If you are worried about where the increase for a salary that keeps up with cost of living comes from why aren’t you worried about where money for overhauling the system and buying brand new driverless cars and the signalling equipment that comes with that is going to come from. Do you think that a switch to driverless cars (which would take years), is going to suddenly lower your fares? In the mean time, workers need a decent deal.

      • Brian D.

        If you look at the income statement of BART (Budget 2013), you will clearly see that LABOR takes the lions share of the cost of operating the system. Fares do not cover these costs, and are made up by TAX PAYERS. BART is so heavily reliant on outside sources (Federal, State, and county) grants, that the system would collapse without them. With both the Fed and State out of money, and cutting back on transportation grants for public transportation agencies, it is only going to be a short while before BART begins another round of “lets get it from the locals”. Your says chrissf, which might mean your in San Francisco, you will be asked for increase sales tax, increase property taxes (and if you don’t own, the landlord will pass on to you in rent increases) and might cause the city to have to cut its own services to meet their demands. Is this what you truly want! If you are working, and your employer is giving you annual raises to meet inflation, fantastic, but retired folks don’t get these, even though Social Security is indexed to inflation, they continue to take the raise to pay for additional Medicare Premium charges, leaving us unchanged in the money we receive. The BART labor system is broken, and is need of repair. One place, as I suggested, is in Driverless trains, and yes you are correct it will take time to implement. BART is already schedule to replace its fleet, so adding the additional capacity, is just a printed circuit board, a few “video” devices, a few heat sensors and a new computer at central dispatch.
        I am not concerned about fare increases, since I only use the system two or three times a year. I am worried about the extra tax burden I will incur, since not working, takes a larger bite out of what I have annually to live on. I worked from 16 onward. I paid into Social Security from the start. I paid into my pension fund. I have reached the age to let the younger folks work. I can go back, but why should I? It was promised to us, that we could retire, and receive these benefits, if we all paid into them!

        • Andrew

          Do you really trust your life to a printed circuit board? You are a very foolish man if you do.

          • Brian D.

            Yes, since I fly a great deal, airplanes use them all the time. Cars will have them shortly. So yes, I would trust them, since if they cannot pass internal diagnostics, they send out an error message, and depending on type, will shut down the train, till it is repaired!
            Fortunately I know a number of train operators. Not going to point fingers, but I cannot tell you the number of times these guys went to work still drunk from the night before, to operate trains.
            So to further answer your question, I would rather trust a circuit board, than a drunk human.

    • hadEnuff

      Average pay of High School Grads is abut 30,000. What BART employees are demanding is tantamount to economic terrorism. Prison industry Gerry Brown needs to replace these workers. Of course this liberal fascist is supported by these unions and its minimally educated thugs. These people shame the history of the first union organizers and have come full circle from the oppressed to oppressors. Who do you think is most dependent upon BART. Right- the real working class, elderly and poor. Who pays for the extravagant salaries of these workers as as well as the thugs of BART Management? Fire everyone, management and staff.

    • chrisfs

      So when are you going to get around to admitting that the $113,000 is something you made up ?

      • Brian D.

        Not going to, since it is not “made up” it is a fact. Go to “Public Employee Salaries – BART”, and you can see for yourself. BART Board of Directors, considers (rightfully so) that employee compensation is a package of ALL salary, overtime, medical/dental/vision/, retirement/pension, etc. If you can handle the math, it is easy to verify what the Board is saying. So, BART employees, compensation package is $113,000 per year on average.

  • jade

    BART workers get $113,000 per year, and they are COMPLAINING????? Greedy!!!!

    • chrisfs

      Where did you get that number? Bart workers make an average of $60,000.

      • Brian D.

        go to public workers compensation, BART, and you will have a complete listing of every employee who works for BART. Top Down. Mercury News also has it listed, and I think Contra Costa Times (not sure). You can even type your name in, and get your complete compensation package! costs to the system, and what is costs taxpayers!

        • chrisfs

          That database includes management (including top management) and BART police which aren’t striking. No wonder your numbers are completely off. Now the question is my mind is did you do that on purpose, or did you just screw up ?

          • Brian D.

            chrisfs: they aren’t. employees are employees! if you raise the cost of LABOR by 23% (latest I’ve heard 20.2%) you merely need to take the present number and multiply it by 120.2% to get the new budgeted LABOR costs. It is not wizardry, it is just the way its works. The whole BART system of employment and pay is broke! It all needs to be overhauled! I could do it, but I am sure the outcome would not be to your liking. BART Board of Directors, needs to review the whole employee system, and re-tune it to the reality of today!

  • david

    Greedy BART workers who should be grateful for their already high salaries. They make more than teachers or many college professors: that is pathetic! Enough is enough!

  • Penny

    the bart workers striking are not the managers, who are making 6-figure salaries, but the regular workers — you know, the ones dealing with naked maniacs, pooping addicts and scary solitary late night shifts in a little booth without the bullet proof glass you’d expect to find in a metropolitan area known for its weaponized populace. making the same salaries as your average office worker, maybe less.

    the managers and higher-ups probably LOVE reading all this vitriol from the public — just the kind of spin needed to knock the real issues out of the public’s mind.

    • Brian D.

      and they only need a high school degree or equivalent to get the job!? WTF. Maybe a change in hiring practice, all BART employees must have an AA degree, in a business or transportation or public service arena. That might be a step closer to getting people who are critical thinkers and can understand the bigger picture of what is going on.

      • Penny

        i’m not sure i know what you’re getting at — you want it to be harder to get a job at bart?

        college degrees doesn’t mean they’ll be workers that won’t strike.

        • Brian D.

          You are correct, it does not mean they won’t strike. It means, you can/could have a more reasonable discussion with them, so they understand the bigger picture. Many folks in the bay area have not recovered from the real estate implosion. Many families have lost major income from it, and or a spouse/partner has lost their job (9% unemployment). People are just trying to get back on their feet, while the whole time BART employees did not lose salary income (albeit they froze wages for 4 years – but that’s not losing your job, and having to take another that pays 30-50% less than before). I know of to many families around me, that are strongly daily just to put food on the table.

      • Andrew

        You are so right. I just wonder how many degree holding pencil-pushers sit in their office planning 3 martini lunches and playing Candy Crush all day while making 6 figure salaries? OH, they deserve that pay for partying for 4 years at college? No one ever attacks the college grad because they worked hard at school to “earn” what they have coming to them? What a crock! I competed and tested with over 300 applicants to earn one of 15 spots in a training program to become a locomotive engineer. Of the 15 trainees who started the 20 month program only 8 graduated. 8 out of 300, you know why? To ensure public safety. The train is not a joke. If the guy at McDonalds prepares your Big Mac incorrectly (at least 25% of the time) you will not die. If a locomotive engineer makes one small mistake people DIE. Perhaps you are happy with the quality of unskilled labor in this country, if they were running the trains I would NEVER step foot on one. Oh by the way, I am a college graduate.

  • mo, a cute girl!

    UNFRICKING believable what they are striking for. Bullet proof glass & underground bathrooms reopened? I can’t stand the cavalier attitude of the bart workers. YES, management will make their money back but in this economy, the UNIONS should accept what they can.

    • Penny

      ok, how long would you work in a place with no bathrooms and the risk of being shot everyday? if you say you’d just quit i don’t think you’d be telling the truth… who can afford to quit??

      also, we are getting our information from the media. we don’t even know how much the average booth worker makes (the “averages” we keep reading include the salaries of people who are not striking and don’t work with the public).

      we don’t know all the details. if bart workers are risking all this horrendously bad press they might have a good reasons to.

      • Brian D.

        Good point on the information we are working with. I have researched this even before the strike. I can’t get detailed information, just rounded, averaged or approximate. It might help all of us, if DETAILS were available. And, just as a side note, Management pay should also be looked at closely.

    • chrisfs

      You’re objecting to bullet proof glass? seriously ? A person is stuck in a less than 10×10 room and you’re objecting to bullet proof glass ? And bathrooms?

      • Ranger Bagel

        A dude was shot at El Cerrito BART station four days ago.

  • Leslee Stewart

    For 1,200 workers to disrupt an essential service of transportation in the SF Bay Area is unconconscionable. Not only does this affect the working class but it negatively impacts the economy. Management would be wise to bring in replacement workers. There is no worker that cannot be replaced and to believe otherwise in this day and age is absurb. Those 1,200 BART union employees should be ashamed of themselves, but I am certain they are proud as peacocks to know the mess they’ve caused this morning. This action is undeserving of an increase. They need to apologize to the community, accept a reasonable wage increase currently on the table and to step up by contributing to their pension and health benefits. Keep in mind – they’re benefits, not entitlements.

  • mo, a cute girl!

    I work at one of the federal courthouses in SF. I am armed & take the risk of being shot every day. I’m also paid well for my service. The Bart ticket agents tend to do nothing in my opinion. Either they are there, asleep, on the phone or not there. Dealing with the general public can be dicey, but they are paid exceedingly well for the little they do.
    As far as the bathroom issue, they have police substations all over the Bart stations. I’m sure they can find a bathroom if they need to use one on their 4 hour shifts.
    I think the Bart workers are being greedy which is also fueled by the unions. The unions really don’t care about “us”.
    The bottom line is money & to hell with inconveniencing the general public. If they end the strike today or tomorrow, then I’ll believe the Bart workers are concerned about “us”.

    • chrisfs

      I see people at a courthouse who just sit around manning a metal detector that’s not necessary, or collecting papers and stamping them. So the same criticisms you are making on BART could very easily be made on anyone in the court system. When I go to fight my traffic ticket, clerks and security guards seem to be sitting on their butts doing not much. Of course, I don’t see what goes on behind the scenes, and you don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. You see a small fraction of employees for a few brief minutes and figure you know everything there is to know about BART.

      • mo, a cute girl!

        My job does not affect the Bay Area commute. Also, we are the first line of defense for the people working at 450. So, u camps continue to make assumptions & I stand by what I’ve said here.

        • Ranger Bagel

          The unfortunate pinhole of your assertion lies in the fact that you have made your opinion based on what it “seems” like BART employees do. I have seen ticket booth people work their butts off. Does that prove they always work their butts off? No, but it asserts that your assumptions are not universal. Where I work we have “campus safety” people sitting at front desks. You might think that they do nothing, but they are the eyes and ears of every office. They cannot be grinding away fully occupied all the time, lest they miss a serious problem.

          I’d rather have a BART booth person aware of their surroundings than bent over the booth desk oblivious to what’s going on in the station.

    • I suppose this might be a more cogent argument if BART were simply a fleet of ticket agents, instead of the hundreds of mechanics, maintenance workers and other employees that make up a complex regional system.

      • mo, a cute girl!

        Possibly, they all, collectively, should not have gone on strike. Nothing I’ve read on many blogs indicate they had to strike. Where are the replacement workers? Bart police can actually fill in if properly trained. Management knew about the possibility of a strike months ago.

        • Again, you seem to have the impression that the BART system is only operated and maintained by the people you yourself see. I’m not sure a BART policeman can or should perform repairs on a BART car.

          And the whole point of a labor strike is that it’s done collectively.

  • laborguru

    I’m so tired of both BART workers and Management using contract negotiations as an opportunity to take jabs at each other instead of putting the public’s interest first and working out an agreement that is balanced for both parties before the expiration of a current agreement. First, as someone who has functioned as a chief spokesperson representing companies, I have to say that how BART Management has historical negotiated contract (e.g. terms they’ve agreed to etc.) has been inept. Previously agreeing to allow the contract cycle for all their unions expire simultaneously was ill advised at best as just one example.

    That said, let’s be clear. BART employees and their unions need to get a grip on reality. They claim they haven’t had wage increases in several years which is technically true, but they also have been hit by the kind of healthcare cost increases and retirement benefit reduction that almost every private sector employee, both blue and white collar, has had to deal with over about the last 13 to 14 years. And safety as a contract issue? That’s not a contract issue. If safety is something that if the union is really concerned with, they should be engaged in on-going conversations with management about viable solution that improve unreasonable workplace safety risks. At this point, the union is using this distraction from their primary objectives on wages and benefits.

    We all know there’s two sides to every story, and as I’ve indicated, BART Management isn’t without their own sins. Frankly I have much more sympathy for Oakland City Workers, that gave true concessions as part of their last contract, staging a one day striike than BART employees.

    The bottom line is management needs to get an offer on the table that balances the needs of taxpayer with the needs of their employees, and the union needs to “get real”. If BART employee get e reasonable offer and decided to walk, the public needs to be patient and management needs to keep them off work for a month or so and I’ll bet most of them will be ready to come back to what a darn good job after missing a pay check or two.

  • chrisfs

    BART a major transit system and they should be paid accordingly. BART is not a non
    profit, it’s not a volunteer system, it’s a professional transit system.
    The same argument comes up all the time. ‘well people in (transit,
    education, sanitation, ) should be happy for their salary’, as if
    important system should be run on the cheap with people happy to work
    for what a part time retail clerk makes, because serving your community is all the reward you need.
    That’s bs that undercuts yourself and serves no one but company owners. The landlord isn’t going to take your sense of community involvement as partial payment for rent. PG&E isn’t either. You certainly can’t (God forbid) take a vacation trip on the glowing feeling of having helped people get to work without a car.

    If you’re upset about how much BART employees make, maybe you should
    examine your own situation and ask whether you are getting what you are
    worth .

    • Scott

      Dude. What are you blind. Bart employees salary and benefits have been publicly and (in your word choice) objectively displayed to the public. I come from Minnesota, a very union state. I understand that you are upholding the American right to hav prosperity and unions have certainly provided that for us. But yours statement does not take into account the dry hard objective facts that have been laid out for the public. So here is a question for you. If the Bart employees get the ‘raise’ that they deserve, what is going to happen to the bankrupt Bart that can’t support the cost of repairing an aging mass transit system? I am willing to pay higher fairs and taxes if it means a safer and modernized Bart but the system can’t afford to cut Bart police, not fix railways, provide maintenance and pay 100% of pension plans. By the way, more Bart police and a modernized Bart also means a safer Bart for its own employees.

      • chrisfs

        Bart has a surplus. A request for a raise after 5 years of no increases is not going to bankrupt the system. You’ll need to post something to prove otherwise.

        • chrisfs is a union troll

          BART doesn’t have a net surplus, by any definition.

          They have slightly more money in their operating accounts than they expected, but they have deficits in many other areas so they are still a net money loser that has to be funded by taxpayers.

          • chrisfs

            Do you have a link for that or are you just making stuff up ? Calling names doesn’t mean anything.

          • chrisfs

            Doesn’t matter if you call me a troll or not. I’m giving facts backed up by sources. You’re not. Who’s the troll ?

            Here’s a quote from an article below :

            “BART does not have a “deficit,” as the Board says. BART faces a massive budget surplus of more than $1.2 billion over the next 10 years.
            And we don’t make half what they say we make. I’ve worked for BART for 22 years. My salary is $63,000 a year. If I were to retire today, I would get a pension of $2,100 a month—and we don’t get Social Security, just our pensions.

            BART workers haven’t had a raise in 4 years, since BART imposed a hiring freeze in 2009.

            Read more: BART Strike: Another Instance of Media Portraying Workers as Greedy | The Nation

          • Brian D.

            You changed the wording of what was being said. It is not a surplus, it is a SHORTFALL! The Nation, has been posting erroneous comments since this all began. They report the hype, not the facts. BART needs to replace 100% of its fleet (it is over 40 years old – manufacture stop producing these trains 25 years ago – parts are expensive, if they can be found, and presently BART has entered into creating parts they can no longer find). The control system of BART is also 25 years old, and with new extensions, must be replaced to handle the extra load. It is anticipated, to accomplish just these two items, BART is going to require a $6,600,000,000 infusion of cash! Where do you propose they get the money? I wish they were run like McDonald’s!
            BART workers have received COLA (Cost of Living Adjustments) every year!
            BART has hired workers continually since 2009. You really need to check your sources and stop just listening to the union BS. Get the facts first, then articulate. They have not had a 1 to 1 replacement, as management has found alternatives to a human.
            Your salary, as you state, is $15,000 more than the people who pay it! on average.

        • Brian D.

          BART has a budgeted $800,000 shortfall for 2013, that is offset by a $250 million taxpayer Grant. If you go to BART Financial Statements – Income Statement 2013, you will see the number for yourself, and realize, you don’t know what you are talking about.

        • Brian D.

          BART also has an unfunded, $660,000,000 pension liability presently! It will rise to well over a billion dollars in the coming decade. TAXPAYERS are going to have to make up the difference, if BART continues on the present course it is on. BART and us TAXPAYERS can’t afford these expensive employees!

    • Roseanne

      BART workers are not getting what they are worth. They are getting what they can extort from the public by threatening and actively striking — actively hurting poor workers who are desperate to get to their jobs so they can feed their family. Fire them all and see how quickly they can be replaced with people who want to work. You clearly either work for BART or the union.

      • chrisfs

        Last time BART went on strike was 1997, so if they mean to extort, that wouldn’t make much sense. As I read it, they haven’t had a cost of living raise in four years. They aren’t the ones hurting poor workers, it’s bosses of the poor workers who refuse to pay a decent wage, and you’re more than happy to blame BART for it, when they stand up.

    • Brian D.

      Once again, chrissfs, you are talking without knowing the facts. Go work for JCPenney, Sears or Crate&Barrel, and realize that Retail Clerks (non union) part time make about $10 – $13 per hour. Full time with benefits (not if you work for Wal-Mart) can make up to $16 per hour. These jobs are considered, blue collar non skilled workers. You don’t need an education, and you don’t need a lot of training. BART pays $51.03 per hour. Not even close to retail clerks full time.

  • Carolynrhiggins

    This is a nightmare for Bay Area commuters! I can’t believe it went this far! But for those poor stranded commuters, I just heard of a company in Walnut Creek offering FREE workspace for stranded commuters during the strike. I hope that helps!

  • mo, a cute girl!


  • Mel

    They just simply suck! On the day the price goes up! they Strike and we the dam riders have to pay it no matter what they do…I have ten videos so far of what Bart workers do on a daily bases, Some sit and look pisst off, they have no PR skills what so ever and they don’t look or act friendly yet they as for more pay. WTF is going on? You don’t suffer we hard working riders do.

  • bomboozle

    BART management should not cave to union demands — forget the smoke and mirrors about bulletproof glass — the real issue here is money — the union walked away from an 8% increase in pay, insisting on a 25% increase. Give me a break — who in this economy even gets 8%?? Here’s a suggestion: take a page out of the playbook from the 80’s when the air traffic controllers went on strike. Give the union a final offer, give them 24 hours to accept or reject it, and then begin hiring replacements if they reject it. I suspect BART will be deluged with job applications!

  • amir

    is there going to be a strike tomorrow?

  • AA

    Zero towards their pension??? Really??? I wish Ronald Reagan was around to negotiate with this union.

  • Ishiqa -Unite HERE/Loc2 member

    Its so lame how non union workers are complaining of how much bart employees are getting paid and how they should feel privileged to have benefits and so on. Getting unionized is not an easy task. There is lost jobs, threats and a long battle. Those who don’t get raises for years should maybe get together and form a union to improve their own working conditions instead of complaining because someone else has it better. They fought for those wages and benefits and deserve it for standing up. To say going on strike does not benefit anyone is wrong. That is the last option but the most forceful. It shows power in numbers and it shows employers that their employees do make a difference. As far as bart employees wages, don’t forget about how they have to deal with violent homeless people on a daily basis. Ive seen homeless people take a dump on the bart train 2x already. Guess who has to clean it up. And the violence that goes on in the bart station is also a problem. People do drugs and fight and employees can get hurt doing their jobs. It’s a high risk job. Working behind a desk might be difficult but it is a lot safer than working at the Richmond bart station at night. The cab drivers don’t even go there for pick up after dark. I used to have to get off at del norte just to get a cab when i used to live up there. Im not defending SEIU, as I know that they have done many dirty dealings, but fighting for better working conditions and compensation for having to deal with the crap they have to go through is definitely progress in the labor movement. So instead of complaining about how the so called “real world” is so miserable, do something about it.

    • Brian D.

      I was a member of the United Federation of Atomic Workers. We dealt with some pretty nasty stuff, and were presented with a number of hazardous situations. I would take a homeless dump, over what I use to have to deal with. That is not hazardous, its disgusting YES! hazardous NO. Richmond as a City has lots of problems, so does Bay Point. Until locally cleaned up, it will not change. BART has its own police force, and through better deployment could tackle each of these situations. If they don’t have enough officers presently, local enforcement officers are available. Working at the post office is not hazardous, but when someone goes postal, it is a dangerous situation for all of us. The public in these places need further protection, if the employees do! And I don’t think it is necessary. The incidents, if you review the reports, are not “catastrophic”, problematic yes, but again better deployment of present officers could curtail most of these issues.

  • Rebecca

    It is a big problem to all the commuter especially peoples who work in San Francisco. Why you guy fix the problems. The citizens who work in San Francisco and they live in Coco county is the one suffering from this strike as well the Alameda residence and around the neighboring places. They are the one suffering they having difficulty commuting they are saying use the public transportation and you could see on the News It is LONG LINE that you could think that you could reach where are you supposed to be some just check in at the Hotel which is very expensive the lowest motel it will cost you $ 129.00 plus so if this will continue on the strike all your pay check just went to the place where you are staying. So please settle this strike so then you guy you get what you want how about this peoples who suffer from your strike, it is really bardin to all citizen.

  • schenone13

    I recently completed a class at city college of san francisco which suffers from the same kind of irresponsible brain dead employee compensation. My instructor works MUCH less than 52 weeks per year, less than 32 hours per week and is paid OVER $90 K per year in salary alone.

    If you want to get REALLY outraged contact for the entire payroll at CCSF. This is public information and is available through the sunshine ordinances which is how I got it.

  • schenone13

    For quite a while now Robert Reich (former sec of labor, clinton admin.) has been pointing out in his column in the Sunday S.F. Chronicle the stratification that has been taking place for decades between the bottom 99% and the top 1%, and the effects this has had on our society. Yes the bart workers would appear to be gluttons pigs at the public trough , but relatively speaking they are only trying to keep up, even if they DON”T deserve any more than the handsome compensation they are currently GIVEN. Their tact is counterproductive to organized labors necessary PLACE in our society !

  • Marc

    Worthless they all are. When was the last time you met a helpful , hard working BAR employee. Let’s replace them ASAP. I could fill 100 jobs with more talented people tomorrow.

  • Fernando J Peniche

    OK, may be I do not get it. Most of the BART employees only hava a high school diploma and they are all making over $130,000.00 a year. Most of them do not work because of unions or disability, and they want a raise????
    I think BART officials should be smarter then what they area and fire all of them, get rid of the @$&%^& Unions and start fresh with people than want and need to work

  • Fernando J Peniche

    Don’t you hate typing on an cell phone? OH well.

  • Mudflapman

    I dare these BART employees to quit and see if they can find a better job for unskilled workers. They will soon realize that the pasteur is not greener on the other side. They will also soon realize that they are not indispensable. Any John or Jane Doe can easily fill in their job with only a bit of (free) training and would be happy to do so. They got it made, thanks to the mess up of the BART Board. Public employees are not supposed to unionized to begin with but they were allowed to do so. The Union is abusing it! Can’t wait for the government to legalize a lot of immigrants in the country who would be more than willing to fill in for them for even less pay and less benefits. These workers have this sense of entitlement that they think they deserve. They are unskilled laborers, they can’t demand more than they are worth! Also Inflation has never kept up with them so a 2% raise/yr is actually very generous because what they need is a pay cut so we can improve BART and its safety. Otherwise, whatever savings or surplus BART has will only go to these overly paid workers making more than some of their college educated counterparts.

    If the Union wins…we will all (taxpayers) lose.

  • Mel A. M

    Managers failure to show respect in the process of negotiation led union leaders to act. They are truly to blame for the mess. Its like in a parent child relationship, Who has the control?? Thats right the parent does and in this case the parent is not the employees. The fact that all those people are willing to walk and not get paid a dime says a lot I think.. There must be something more that managers and their $399,000 laywer are not telling us. Yeah, thats right if you haven’t heard bart hired a top law firm to represent them in there negotiations. Where do you get that kind of money and why did you feel the need to??? People its time to ask our local, state leaders to find out! that money could have been used much better i think…?

  • Truda

    $62000 not enough for the workers ? If you don’t like that salary go look for another or other job! Striker are paralyzed whole Bart service for a few days – who will pay for that? Who will pay for people nerves and feelings? Who will compensate missing working days? I agree that every single person has to be questioned what that person or individual worth in a Bart service. If you are not worth it you has to be fired not laid off- fired! There is going to be plenty of available jobs soon on Bart website! Just keep eyes on it.


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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