BART Strike Day 2

By Don Clyde, Dan Brekke, Lisa Aliferis, Lisa Pickoff-White and Alex Emslie

Back to the negotiating table

BART management and representatives from Service Employees International Union 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union 1555 resumed negotiations tonight, but neither side has released any new proposals. Last anyone has heard, BART offered an 8 percent salary increase over four years, and the unions had only reduced their offer of 23.2 percent. BART employees don’t currently pay anything toward their pensions, and they pay a $92 flat fee each month for health insurance.

The unions argue that BART’s 8 percent offer is partially dependent on boosted ridership, and demanding more for benefit contributions would turn the pay raise offer into a de facto pay cut. The unions also have repeatedly brought up safety concerns, including what they say is inadequate track lighting and protection for station agents.

So who is bringing the parties together?

The California labor secretary urged both sides to talk, and has sent in two new mediators, Anita I. Martinez, chair of the Public Employment Relations Board, and Loretta van der Pol, chief of the State Mediation and Conciliation Service.

State officials aren’t the only ones concerned about ending the strike.

The Bay Area Council, a business advocacy group, said late yesterday the strike could have a lasting impact on the Bay Area’s economy. The council’s economic institute estimates the strike is costing the Bay Area $73 million per day in lost wages.

“It’s a lot of money to be lost from an economy that’s just coming back,” Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman said. “This is going to have an impact. It will impact peoples’ wages. It’s going to impact tax revenues. This is serious stuff. This isn’t small.”

The last BART strike in 1997 lasted 6 days.

Tuesday traffic worsens

Line at the interim Transbay Terminal. (Almetria Vaba/KQED)
Line at the interim Transbay Terminal. (Almetria Vaba/KQED)

Tuesday has been a mess, with traffic snarling the Bay Bridge before 6 a.m. Golden Gate Ferries between Larkspur and San Francisco carried twice as many passengers Tuesday morning as Monday morning.

“The eye test suggests things are about the same today, with maybe a bit more traffic,” AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said late Tuesday afternoon. “Certainly there’s a feeling that because this is a holiday week, people may have had regularly scheduled vacations they took, so there’s the fear that the number of commuters could grow substantially in the coming days.”

We want you (to tell us about your commute)

If you’ve been following the BART strike and thinking to yourself that your commute is really newsworthy, now is your chance. KQED wants to hear your stories about a quirky or especially cumbersome commute during the BART strike. Call us at 415-553-8455. We might share your story on the air.

Waiting for the boat

With BART workers on strike, thousands of people in the Bay Area have turned to ferries to cross the bay. This morning it took KQED’s reporter Andrew Stelzer more than three minutes to bike from the beginning to the end of the queue at Oakland’d Jack London ferry terminal.

Confusion at SFO

What’s worse than jetlag? Flying into a transit strike.

The BART strike is causing some confusion for travelers flying into San Francisco International. The airport is providing free shuttle service to the Millbrae CalTrain station, but finding the shuttle can be challenging.

Joe Quinn from New York says he just arrived to visit friends in San Francisco.

“[I] Kept stopping at information station [after] information station to find out where I had to go,” he said. “Probably been walking around for about twenty minutes or so. There’s no real signage or anything telling you where to go or where things are located.”

Quinn said his friends sent him text messages that BART was down.

However, many other travellers said they didn’t know anything about the strike until they reached the BART entrance and found it closed.

Mike and Laura Cartner just arrived from Maryland for the their 20th anniversary: “There was nothing to tell us it was closed before we got here.”

To be fair, a recorded voice periodically announces BART is closed and tells passengers to go to an information booth for help. But it’s easy to miss in the din of the airport.

Best commute?

KQED’s Alex Emslie spoke with a man locally known as having the best commute ever. Stephen Linaweaver often paddles an old whitewater kayak across the Bay from Oakland to San Francisco. He’s made the trip about 100 times — and says it’s empowering.

“It makes a big difference, especially at the end of the day when you look up at the bridge or you look at BART, if there’s delays or it’s not running, and you just get on the water, and you’re going to get across probably before most folks who are in cars,” Linaweaver said.

Stephen Linaweaver paddles out from the South Beach Marina in SF after work. (Photo by Dan Suyeyasu of Oakland.)
Stephen Linaweaver paddles out from the South Beach Marina in SF after work. (Photo by Dan Suyeyasu of Oakland)

San Francisco Green Party member John-Marc Chandonia was inspired by photos of San Franciscans walking and biking through BART’s Transbay Tube in the late ’60s, a few years before trains started surging through the tunnel. He jokingly tweeted that BART should reopen the tube to pedestrians during the strike.

“Probably it would not be completely safe because there’s not a railing, for example, and they’d also have to turn off the third rail,” Chandonia said. “But it would be nice if it were possible today.”

So, not very plausible. … But Linaweaver is looking for paddling companions, and he’ll likely be on the water early tomorrow morning, weather permitting.

Car-sharing companies win big

It’s becoming clear that some of the big winners of the BART strike are car-sharing companies. Sidecar, Lyft and Avego began promoting their mobile apps and reaching out to drivers in their networks over the weekend.

Nick Allen, co-founder of Sidecar, said he saw a 50 percent increase in ridership on Monday.

“We see rides across the bridge and down in the Peninsula every day, and we’re seeing increased usage of that type because of the BART strike,” Allen told KQED’s Peter Jon Shuler.

To get drivers to participate, Sidecar offered extra incentives such as waiving its usual 20 percent of the take and allowing drivers to keep 100 percent. Lyft also waived its surcharge.

Oakland City and East Bay Parks

Meanwhile, Oakland city employees are back at work today after their one-day strike. But union officials say they could walk out again. Negotiations are scheduled to begin on Friday.

One Oakland parking enforcement officer crossed picket lines yesterday, though, according to the Oakland Tribune. The worker, driving a city-issued car, was spotted ticketing cars in the vicinity of Broadway and 40th Street. He refused to give his name to a reporter and said that he got paid well and didn’t support the strike. All of the citations will be automatically dismissed, the city announced this afternoon.

East Bay residents will be happy to know that East Bay Regional Parks will be open on the Fourth of July. Cliff Rocha, president of Local 2428 of AFSCME, which represents employees of the parks, said workers and managers have reached an agreement.

Update 11:30 a.m. Not sure this picture needs much explanation, but that’s the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza – in case you couldn’t immediately identify which toll plaza that was. The big rig got stuck around 8:45 a.m. and was pulled out by 11:30 a.m. It blocked at least three lanes of traffic at one point.

(Photo courtesy Golden Gate Bridge District via Bay City News)
(Photo courtesy Golden Gate Bridge District via Bay City News)

Update 9:00 a.m. KQED’s Matt Williams reports lines at the Jack London Square Ferry Terminal are much longer Tuesday morning than on the first day of the BART strike.

 An Alameda-Contra Costa (AC) Transit worker monitors the capacity of an AC Transit bus on July 2, 2013 in Oakland, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
An AC Transit worker monitors the capacity of a bus on July 2 in Oakland. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

KQED’s Andrew Stelzer spoke with ferry commuters Dominic Young and Jessie Groat.

“I live in Jack London Square, so I’m pretty fortunate that I can leave my apartment and still get right to work,” Young said. “But I woke up early today thinking I’d catch the 7:30, and I missed the cut by five people, and now I’m probably pushed back about a 45-minute wait. So, I’m a little frustrated, but I’m new to the Bay Area. … Taken BART every day for a few months. Guess I really take it for granted.”

Commuters wait in line at the the Jack London Square Ferry Terminal in Oakland on July 2, 2013. (Andrew Stelzer/KQED)
Commuters wait in line at the the Jack London Square Ferry Terminal in Oakland on July 2, 2013. (Andrew Stelzer/KQED)

“Thank God for the ferries,” Groat said. “This has at least put a positive thing on a very dismal situation. I think it’s unfortunate that the BART workers take it out on the backs of the AC Transit workers, the ferry workers. I know they’re getting their way, and these guys are here doing the job and picking up the pieces. So, unfortunate situation. It’s time to come to the table and get it done.”

At BART’s Millbrae station, commuter Carey Dare complained it was not quite clear where he was supposed to go to catch a bus to SFO. “My biggest complaint is that SamTrans didn’t tell anyone about this stop,” Dare said. “I had to find out about it from the SFO stop — the SFO website.”


Original post: Commuters, if you liked the commute mess yesterday, you’re going to love the chaos today.

More people are carpooling during the BART strike than normal. At the North Berkeley BART station, between 8-12 cars waited on July 1, 2013 to pick up carpoolers and take them to the Financial District of San Francisco. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
More people are carpooling during the BART strike than normal. At the North Berkeley BART station, between 8-12 cars waited on July 1, 2013 to pick up carpoolers and take them to the Financial District of San Francisco. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

It’s not clear how many people are telecommuting, how many people are starting their July Fourth holiday earlier, or how many people may have decided this whole living-in-the-Bay-Area thing isn’t for them and have taken to the mountains or retired into Buddhist monasteries.

But we do know there are lots and lots of people out on the roads who wish they had a BART train to ride (or that some of the other people on the road were on BART). Before sunrise this morning, the Bay Bridge metering lights were turned on — a good 40 minutes earlier than usual — and early commute traffic immediately backed up on all the approaches.

Our personal view of the experience: One staffer who took the casual carpool from North Berkeley BART was rolling by 6:14 a.m. and exiting on the Fremont Street ramp on the San Francisco side of the bridge by 6:32. That’s better than usual. But another staffer drove solo from the Grand Avenue area near downtown Oakland. He left at 5:45 a.m. and, stuck in the backup on the east side of the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, it took until a little after 7 to get across the bridge.

The really bad news in all this if you’re already sick of our BART-less commute purgatory: No one involved in the strike is talking yet. Although a state mediator said yesterday that he and Gov. Jerry Brown “expect” BART management and its two striking unions to resume negotiations, there’s no word yet on when that will happen.

***

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  • DubC

    They are acting like selfish children. They should be embarrassed, as many people in the Bay Area make less and don’t have nearly the same quality of benefits. The fact that they couldn’t come to an agreement in the three months leading up to the strike, or extend the current contract until an agreement is reached (like AC Transit) is inexcusable. It is especially troubling to only see about 10 union member striking in main parts of San Francisco. What happened? Did they all want to sleep in? Hope they are enjoying their time off while we all struggle. A-holes.

    • bobsoper

      If you were paying attention during previous contract talks, you’d know that the unions made huge concessions because of the 2009 economic downturn. If BART management were serious about ending this impasse, they would restart talks (which THEY walked out on) and make a serious and respectful offer.

      • Bob

        You’ve got to be kidding me…your defending the unions because during the worst recession since the Great Depression, the unions didn’t get as much as they wanted? A time where people were losin their jobs and homes, and those who were working were working for less money and cut hours? They’re complaining that they didn’t get ENOUGH? Now, (while still in a weak economy) they’re demanding 5% a year? I have NEVER gotten an increase of more than 2%. And I am in a union!
        This is nothing more than extortion. Furthermore, lets see how happy everyone is when Bart has to hike their fares due to high costs of employees….

        • bobsoper

          FYI, it’s not the fault of the unions that “people were losin their jobs and homes, and those who were working were working for less money and cut hours.” It’s the loss of unions that’s pushing down wages and living standards for everyone (except for the bandits at the top).
          Consider yourself lucky that you get to be in a union, and instead of bashing unions, why not work to get more people organized, so they can be protected from “losin their jobs and homes,” etc.

          • cool008

            I bet you are one of those over-paid greedy union worker. Bart should fire all of you. Hire someone who needs a job. Bart employees have no degree or any special skills that they should demand this kind of money. Whats wrong paying more for your benefits. Everyone else pays for it also. Cost of living didnt go up for you greedy worker only. You over-paid A-holes dont deserve any raise. If you have problem with your wages, then go look for another job.

          • bobsoper

            The ignorant union-bashing on these boards is breathtaking. I bet you didn’t even know that worker (and passenger) safety is one of the main items of contention in the negotiations… of course not. You’re one of those dolts who believe that if you can’t have a decent living wage, nobody else should either. Why don’t you go back to watching Fox “news” and keep your ignorant blather to yourself?

          • cool008

            I have nice paying job 80k with bachelor degree. But I am not being greedy that I should get 23% raise more unlike you guys who dont have any degree. What makes you guys special that you deserve 23% raise. Plus safety is probably last thing union wants talk about. First thing they want talk about is $$$$$$$$. Greedy people

          • Troy McCormick

            This isn’t union bashing, it’s antiassholism. These people are greedy, a 24% raise!? Are they out of their minds? Poor people take trains and cannot afford to give more to these gluttons. Safety is not their concern at all. They refuse to help me all the time when people harass me or try and rob me. Are you missing a chromosome?

        • Wayne Campbell

          On pensions and health care….I retired from the Postal Service, and was a proud member of the American Postal Workers Union (AFL-CIO). For 30+ years, I paid in a flat 8% of my gross into a private fund (Civil Service) towards my pension. (At that time, the private sector was only chipping in around 5% for social security.) Also, my health care was around $100. monthly, but that didn’t cover co-pays, deductibles, etc. (I don’t know if BART workers have to pay the extras or not.) I feel that no matter what job you have, everyone should contribute SOMETHING towards their retirement..I really didn’t mind the high percentage; you learn to live off your net income anyway. The 8% paid off; I make around 60% of what I made when I was working. Does anybody know what percentage BART will get?? But, a totally FREE pension?? Maybe both sides need to renegotiate some kind of a % program, like 80/20 or 70/30. That would seem a lot more fair to everyone involved. By the way, BART workers, be prepared when you retire. My health care costs have jumped to $235. a month in ten years. I also used to be a shop steward, so I have a real good idea on how tough talks can go sometimes…….

      • Ae Wehr

        Huge concessions?!

        The idiots at the turnstyle make more than 80% software designers. 30% of brts rank and file right now make more than my local vp!

        • pointus

          Please cite your source for “120k”.

          • Sick of strikers

            Average BART employee earns $86,000 year (source: Fox2 News), not including generous pension and healthcare benefits=easily $120,000/year.

            So tell your friendly striking SEIU worker to STFU and get back to work

          • Cathleen

            Are you kidding me!!!! Who makes that kind of money these days!!! I earn $30,000 per year gross pay! I am highly qualified, and am going for your jobs next. Thank you for this infomration!

          • cool008

            Fire all of these greedy union workers. A lot of people will be happy to earn kind of money.

          • bobsoper

            If they do end up breaking the union (because of a population whose ignorance you so perfectly represent), you better believe that the scab replacements won’t be earning “that kind of money.” Also, rider safety and service will suffer dramatically.

          • cool008

            Here is Bart union list from Highest to low.
            1. 23% raise
            2. Pension
            3. Medical Benefits
            4. Safety
            So safety is lowest concern for union.
            You guys earn average of $30 per hr. Bart is giving you $1 every year. No one else get raise that amount of money. Why should taxpayers pay for you greedy people. Plus Bart needs more money buy new trains and improve there system.

          • Troy McCormick

            What rider safety? That’s what BART police provides not the lazy station agents. I have been beaten before and the station agent refused to call the police for me. I bet equally paid non-hoodrats off their high horse would have cared and helped. The BART belongs to the population not to the BART union and we don’t want to give them a raise they don’t deserve. I won’t pay!

          • bobsoper

            This labor dispute will eventually be resolved, and you won’t be able to get hired on as a scab replacement. It’s not the BART union’s fault that you’re not earning as much as BART workers.

          • Troy McCormick

            Yes with BART workers fired. I would be happy to take their jobs for the same salary they are making and I would treat customers with dignity and respect. I would have the homeless and hoodrats removed, keep the bathrooms and platforms spotless, and hog tie the vandals and harassers and have them carted off. I would provide change for passengers and information for the buses and not get mad and scream at people that the bus isn’t BART so I will ignore you.

          • bobsoper

            The $86k figure includes an average of $17k on top of the maximum salary of $62k.
            Funny how all you right-wingers hate unionized workers for making a living wage. The fact that you have a crappy low-paying job isn’t the fault of workers who have organized and fought for a decent standard of living; it’s your fault for not fighting and organizing your own work place.
            A race to the bottom only benefits those at the top.

          • Troy McCormick

            I hate BART workers and I am a Green Party member! BART workers are mean spirited, lazy, and rude. They make an upper class living and they don’t deserve it.

          • bobsoper

            You’re a right-wing, union bashing toady.

        • Henry

          Those software designers and programmers are pretty poorly paid then. I have friends who are making well over $120k in base pay alone. Forget about the bonuses and benefits! I sincerely hope they’re making more than these greedy BART strikers.

        • Troy McCormick

          That is all they do yell at you or ignore you

      • Cathleen

        who cares! this is 2014, not 2009!! Hello…..We are in need of jobs, and I am going to apply as soon as they open up for new employees. You are rediculous. 5% Who are you! Why should you get 5% when the rest of us are not getting any increase. Get in line with the rest of us, so that I can apply for your job, which I know I will be better qualified for! An ex-union worker!!!!

    • Cathleen

      Keep them out so I can apply for their job! I know that I am qualified, hungry for a job, and enthusiastic. Selfish, selfish selfish. Get out of the way so those who need a decent paying job can apply. Sick and tired of this!!!

  • solotar

    I like Jerry Brown a lot, but if liberals are going to be the party that shows that government can be trusted to work, then we have to make sure government works. The BART strike is the rare uncomplicated public policy issue: Jerry should tell the workers to return to their jobs and be happy to receive total compensation packages that are already well, well in excess of what they could fetch in the private sector. Government can’t simply be organized kleptocracy. There’s no reason station agents should earn 3X what they would earn as bank tellers – assuming they could get jobs as bank tellers, which clearly many of them can’t.

    • Morgan Hawkens

      crayfish mentality at work..? Here is a clue: bank tellers are slaves to a corporate entity that makes $ hands over fist….so I suppose we should just enslave that remaining public sectors employees as well…so BART management can do what exactly with the saving???? Ever hear the saying the penny wise pound foolish that what allowing eveyone’s wages to be depressed it…why not agitate for a living wage for bank tellers instead of trying to pull BART workers down into the crawyfish bucket with the tellers, WALMART’s slaves, 90% of other retail workers, day care providers and teachers…..how bout we all get out the buckets and get a hand up from BART instead of trying to pull them down with us….

      • Here’s a clue 4 U

        Hey, how about so it doesn’t cost me $500+/month to commute to my job where I earn less than the average BART employee, and without any pension, and with a worse health plan….and I am actually skilled, have customer service skills, and am not a whore to my union. Go back to work, BART workers.

      • Mike

        I’ve worked for two retail companies in the past. One union and the other Non union. And i can tell you the difference right off the bat. and that is. Well there is really no difference. It’s all about how good of friends one is with the boss. As for slavery. I understand you feeling of pressure, but you do have the right to at any time to tell your employer to take this job and shove it. Of course there is burning the bridges factor which i really don’t like but there are THOUSANDS of potential jobs out there somewhere.

    • av91

      EXACCCTLYYYY

    • Troy McCormick

      none of them could too ignorant and hoodratty

  • Jabba he Hutt

    really really RIDICULOUS!

  • Ted

    I must respectfully disagree with a few of the previous posters. The BART employees are lucky they belong to a strong union (I do not). During these days of lumping it and taking what you are “fortunate enough” to get from stingy employers who pay little or no taxes, and while CEOs and high-placed administrators see obscene annual increases in pay/benefits, it seems that something has got to change. I do not fault the BART employees and their union for demanding reasonable pay/benefits (this is the crazy-expensive Bay Area, remember?). If anything, I am reminded that if we want to be treated better by the powers-that-be, it is better to be organized (you listening, WalMart employees?).

    • VUnearithe42

      мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

      I normally would be in support of
      unions but the fact that the BART strikers have not clearly stated
      their grievances in a public forum puts their demands in question.
      Everything I’ve seen makes me thing they get a great compensation
      package. If BART executives are making too much in comparison perhaps
      their compensations need to be regulated.

    • av91

      “stingy employers” ? these people make more than the average college graduate! 60-70K a year in salary… plus about 50K in benefits alone… and around 17K in overtime. and whats that about walmart employees? if you want a good pay, get an education. i understand that any kind of work for 8 hours can be ‘difficult’, but where is the world going when a bart employee makes more than an engineer?

      • Cathleen

        av91, sad but true. Lets apply for their jobs while they are out. They do not deserve the good life that has been afforded to them by the good Lord! Selfish, Selfish Selfish. Their Leaders and the Unions are steering them in the wrong direction. Wake up people! I will be applying for your job.

        • bobsoper

          your post reeks of envy. Interesting how you’re not critical of the hugely bloated salaries of BART management… maybe because you’re just a shill for them?

    • cool008

      If you have college degrees and work way to top, then you earn that amount of money. If you got no degree or special skills, then these greedy union cant ask for that amount of money. Fire all of them, and hire new without union this time

      • bobsoper

        “Greedy union.”
        “Greedy overpaid teachers.”
        “Pampered nurses.”
        You’re just spouting the lies of the 1% as they try to crush the last of the middle class.
        How come you’re not talking about the $1.25 million golden parachute given to former BART general manager Dorothy Dugger after she was sh*t-canned by the board a couple years ago? http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/bart-labor-seeking-more-money-for-not-laboring/Content?oid=2459157
        Because union-bashing wing-nuts like you only pile onto working folks.

        • Henry

          You don’t possibly, JUST POSSIBLY, think that BOTH the management and workers are overpaid? Why does it have to be one or the other?

          • Cathleen

            Henry, you are only showing that you are ignorant. Wake up Henry!

          • bobsoper

            Considering the exorbitant cost of living in the SF Bay area, I’d say that the worker salaries aren’t at all unreasonable:
            “…a family of four (with two adults, one preschooler and one school-age child) in the nine-county Bay Area now needs $74,341 a year to get by, compared with $62,517 three years ago.”

            http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Report-Basic-cost-of-living-soars-in-Bay-Area-2328452.php

          • Mike

            Well bob you also have to put into account though that bart is LOOSING money. The board of directors should have their salaries heavily cut and the Unions need to work out a REASONABLE Deal towards the taxpayer. The system is aging and NEEDS new trains and track equipment otherwise it does indeed become a public safety issue. Still no reason to stop bart and ruin everyone elses jobs because of lost commute time. People in the bay work for a living to, in effect they are hurting other peoples jobs right now. I hope this mess ends before today.

          • bobsoper

            In addition to desperately needing infrastructure upgrades (I visit SF frequently from Portland, and BART trains seem funky, old & rickety compared to the Portland MAX light-rail line), safety for BART workers is also an urgent issue. The unions are begging for improved underground lighting and policing (assaults on BART workers is on the rise), but BART management refuses to bargain in good faith; in response, the unions filed suit on June 24th to address these critical issues. By the way, I have no doubt that the ATU & SEIU would happily make some concessions in exchange for safety and infrastructure upgrades.
            Of course BART employees could (and would) give a little more ground on their wage demands, but only in response to a corresponding gesture by management… I’ve seen nothing to indicate that the unions are unwilling to negotiate in good faith. On the other hand, I’ve seen a lot (including the many union-bashing comments on this site) to indicate that BART is waging a PR war against the unions, foisting 100% of the blame on the workers while refusing to bargain in good faith. It’s not as if BART workers WANT to be on strike… but BART’s refusal to bargain in good faith has given them no choice.
            Ridership and revenue has grown– the agency now is running a surplus; but management is trying to take advantage of public annoyance with the strike to break the unions… as long as BART management feels that they’re winning the PR battle, their intransigence will continue and there will be no real good faith effort on their part.
            http://www.alternet.org/labor/7-things-you-need-know-about-bart-strike-california

          • Mike

            Yeah, You gotta love how the game works. The news doesn’t help much either. My father was always Union since I was a child. I understand that workers do need demands to. But right now i think everyone just wants to take bart to go to the city on the 4th like me. I hope it ends and gets on track before that. Otherwise… I’ll have to go to antioch. Still though you where right. There does need to be much more lighting in the system, AND they do need new train cars really badly. those older traincars don’t even have actual parts made by Rohr anymore so they have to make alot of their own which just makes it more expensive than actually buying train cars with new upgraded systems in it.

        • cool008

          you guys are overpaid. Teachers are not over-paid. they have degree and they still earn less than you guys. Go look for another job then. there a lot people looking for jobs.

          • bobsoper

            I don’t work for BART, and I don’t belong to a union. But I’m sick and tired of the assault on working people by the rich and powerful, and of the idiots like you who play along with their slick and dirty strategy of busting what’s left of our country’s unions.

          • cool008

            All of the BART rider pissed off at your st-upid union. Why do we have to suffer cuz of them. People have to wait in long line for buses or stuck in traffic for hours. There are not working people, they are greedy people. I bet someone from your family is part of union. No wonder looser like support them. Union was good in the back of days, these days Unions are greedy and just want $$$$$$. All of the BART riders are against Union and them being greedy. One more thing looser and dumba–ss, go get job in SFO, and when these idiot union go on strike, then feel that pain. Also when BART raise there fare cuz of greedy union workers.

    • Ted

      It really is fascinating that so many people are angry at the BART employees instead of management. Currently, BART is running a nearly $180M budget surplus. Management seems to have no problem giving higher-ups huge pay raises and golden parachutes (Dorothy Duggar). Instead, people see that BART employees are asking for a fair wage and benefits, and those same people scream and yell that they themselves aren’t getting what BART employees want. Yeah, blame BART employees for wanting something better for themselves and their families. Instead, how about asking that the extreme income inequality be addressed instead of attacking the employees for demanding something better.

  • Mike

    BART management should fire and replace all the striking union members just like what President Reagan did to the Air Controllers. The union members forget how lucky they are to be employed by BART and to have a job. Union members should be grateful for their wages, benefits and pensions they received, instead of being greedy. To think they are entitled to ask for so much, when a lot of people are still suffering from financial difficulties, due to job lost and have to accept any kind of job available to survive. Why can’t they keep working while BART management and union leaders continue discussing the labor demand, in order not to inconvenient the public who in reality is the one paying their wages, benefits and pensions.

    • dave

      When a union is losing the PR battle in a pro-labor city like SF, you KNOW that they are on the wrong side of the issue. SEIU, you suck, go back to work.

      • bobsoper

        Or maybe when highly-paid union-busting consultants hire sock-puppets to flood online newspaper website comments with anti-union lies, there appears to be an anti-union consensus. But you’re silly comment doesn’t make it so.

        • Troy McCormick

          No one is paying me to comment here, stop trying to distort my free speech. I am PRO UNION but anti BART workers.

    • jamesapril

      Completely agree. Put a ballot measure up to prevent union workers from striking during contract negotiations. Also, if BART workers think they can’t handle their “low” salaries, maybe they should do a financial management class at City College.

    • Cathleen

      I do agree with you Mike, and am waiting for BART to open up for new employees. I will be applying! This union is a joke!

  • jade

    I normally would be in support of unions but the fact that the BART strikers have not clearly stated their grievances in a public forum puts their demands in question. Everything I’ve seen makes me thing they get a great compensation package. If BART executives are making too much in comparison perhaps their compensations need to be regulated.

  • Ae Wehr

    I’m generally pro union, but not this union.

    The dolts at the turnstyle doing nothing make 120k/yr right now.

    That’s a spit in the face to people who studied 60 hours a week for 4 to 7 years for cs/mis/ee degrees and would be lucky as hell to get a salary like that– and they pay hundreds a month in student debts a month!!!

    They deserve a 40% PAY CUT, not a 22% raise.

    • pointus

      Stop spreading BS.
      Maximum annual salary for train operators & station agents is $62K.
      Meanwhile, BART managers average over $400k / yr.

      http://www.alternet.org/labor/7-things-you-need-know-about-bart-strike-california

      • cool008

        120k also include the benefits. Making 62k without degree is still high. If Bart Manger make around 400k, then they deserve, they got degree, worked there way to top. Plus Bart spends 50k on your benefits. No other company spends that amount of money.

    • Cathleen

      I totally agree with you Ae Wehr! Finally, someone who gets it! This union is a crying shame, and so are there leaders. You really ought to be ashamed, but instead, you are making your union members follow your poor guidance. They will be out of jobs, and I will finally be employed again. No guilt here for replacing those members. They deserve what they are getting. Too bad the public has to suffer, but i think that will be taken care of shortly. The Ferries and AC Transit are a lot cleaner, more fun, and we do not have to put up with this BS!

    • Henry

      I don’t feel sympathy for these BART strikers at all, but I also don’t feel bad for you. Nobody forced you to go to college and borrow money study computer science and engineering. THAT WAS YOUR CHOICE! Deal with it.

  • Ron burgundy

    This union must get its head out of its ass, look around, and be grateful for what they have! Selfish and greedy bunch!

  • Ellie May

    The real heroes in all of this are the AC Transit workers. Despite their own ongoing contract negotiations, they are still on the job, serving the public, and picking up the slack for these greedy A-holes.

    • jamesapril

      Agreed. They didn’t strike because they cared about their commuters. More than I can say about the greedy BART workers.

    • bobsoper

      The AC Transit workers have voted to authorize a strike… Union leadership is holding off, for as long as negotiations are moving forward. All ATU Local 192 (AC Transit worker union) members are honoring BART strike pickets, and are in full support of BART strike. http://www.atu192.org/

  • Rob

    I’d like to know how many people out there would be willing to do their job for only HALF of what a current Bart worker is paid (down to about 17/hr to sit in the ticket booth, for example). Vote up this comment to cast your vote. Let’s show them how good they really have it!

  • Wayne Campbell

    This union’s demands I don’t fully understand. There must be a lot more to this than meets the eye. I retired from the Postal Service as a proud member of the American Postal Workers Union (AFL-CIO)..Over a 30 year period, I paid a flat 8% of my gross into a “vested” pension. (Civil Service) (At that time, social security was only 5% of the private sector’s wages) Today, a postal worker pays approximately $120. to $160. per month for health care, depending upon the plan they choose. And that’s a MODEST plan at best; it still has co-pays, deductibles, etc. In my retirement, I’m paying $225. monthly for my wife and I. However, I am pulling down almost 60% of what I made when I was working…To me, it was well worth the 8%……besides, you learn to live on your net income anyway….So, what is with my “fellow” brothers at BART?? A FREE pension?? And only $92. monthly for health insurance??? I think ALL workers in ANY job need to contribute SOMETHING towards their pension !! I don’t know how good of a plan their health care is, but to me, $92. is a steal !! Maybe I’m missing something here, maybe not.. One thing I definitely remember as a kid growing up near the Pittsburgh, PA.area: my grandfather literally used to stash money in his mattress that was left over from his paycheck with the Pa. Railroad !! He called it his “emergency retirement” money, just in case the railroad went under and took the retirement funds with it. Can you imagine living like that today??

  • Kammuter

    I wish i could slap a Bart worker up side the head. Wake up! You have a good job with benefits be grateful. It is sad the people at the top are greedy and possibly overpaid but most of us think you are too….if you hate your job so much quit there will be a line to take it.

  • teacher

    First of all BART employees contribute NOTHING to their pensions AND only pay $92/month for health care? And they do not need to be college grads? I am a teacher in a union with an MA and I pay into my pension, pay hundreds a month for health care and do not make $80,000 (average) salary per year. What is wrong with this picture? Get back to work

  • Angie

    Bart Base Salary + over time + pension + other benefit > 2 x teacher’s base salary + benefit

  • Belgo

    Although I’m not holding my breath, I hope this strike will stir voters into passing a Proposition limiting the ability of BART workers to strike and requiring mandatory arbitration with labor issues. The pay and benefits of these workers are clearly way above market for those with similar educational backgrounds and work hours. The Bay Area economy gets so crippled by these strikes, that we end up dishing out these outrageous pay and benefit packages and paying among the highest fares for any regional transit system on the planet. Who else among us doesn’t contribute a penny to his pension or retirement plan, or pays less than $100 a month towards his health care? Of course, BART workers don’t pay the high BART fares–they get to ride for free. When are the voters going to say “Enough is enough!”?

    • Cathleen

      Belgo, yes, enough is enough! Fire them all. They are greedy bastards!!! All of them, from the top down!!!!

  • Mike

    Do you think BART employees are over paid? Do you think public support has anything to do with their strike for fair wages? You are wrong. Privatized Caltrain workers already earn more. $34 hourly plus 3% increases each year through 2016. Look at the ridership counts at Caltrain versus BART. Caltrain employees do not work alone and are much safer. Look for yourself: Page 7-8 http://www.utu.org/worksite/PDFs/FINAL_UTU_TASI_agreement_020912.pdf

    • Mike

      Plus overtime

      • Cathleen

        Don’t get me started Mike!!! What can we do????

        • Mike

          Tell your local elected leaders that they must pressure the BART board to give their final offer, make it fair and get everyone back to work.

        • Mike

          The BART board for the most part are puppets and without outside pressure they usually only know what management tells them.

  • Mike

    Maybe we can look at the private for profit rail industry:

    Train Crew for the Union Pacific 41-75K and many of the locations are VERY low cost of living Look for yourself: http://www.unionpacific.jobs/careers/explore/train/train_service.shtml

    Oh and no passengers plus you never drive the train alone.

    • Mike

      Oh they also get overtime too.

    • Hueylong

      Oh and they are union jobs A-hole!

  • Mike

    Maybe first line leaders and managers for BART should look at the railroad too?

    First line supervisors, many in low cost of living locations for Union Pacific do very well.

    67-70K starting, generous railroad retirement, private company pension and 6% match on retirement savings. Also Union Pacific does not have passengers or safety issues in stations. Maybe BART workers should stay out long term and look for jobs like these http://www.unionpacific.jobs/careers/explore/omt/transportation.shtml ?

    • Cathleen

      YEAH MIKE!!!!!

  • Mike

    I also read earlier that someone did not look highly at the striking BART employees because there were so few picketing in Downtown San Francisco.

    The reason is that not many can afford to live in San Francisco. Also since our work situations like opening a station before the trains arrive and getting to a yard in suburbs at 4am mean living in San Francisco is even less practical if it was affordable.

    The 2007 median income for the city was 65k! Not many jobs deal with the safety issues we deal with ( suicides in the trackway, mentally ill and homeless in stations and shootings like the one at El Cerrito BART last week ) on a daily basis and the hours that are required.

    I am honestly surprised there are any picketers downtown during a transit strike.

  • Mike

    Oh and one last response. College graduation has nothing to do with income earnings. Many high paying transportation jobs do not have programs at a college to prepare people prior to getting hired. The cuts in education funding to tech programs at community colleges made this situation even worse. Also BART still pays below competing wages in job classes like electricians. BART is not able to recruit electricians with high voltage experience from PGE or others so with the exodus of older workers some shifts are exclusive workers with less than a year experience. Please note that besides suicides BART has never killed a passenger….only employees.

  • Mike

    KQED did not release the details of the management offer that is featured in other articles.

    2% a year for four years, minus a 5% payment from workers to their pension and minus increased health care premiums. So the offer is way less than 1% a year.

    The detail is near the bottom of the page: http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/as-bart-contract-talks-stretch-on-day-3-of-strike-appears-likely/Content?oid=2495090

    Also BART said a few days ago that they have NOT made their FINAL OFFER:

    Meanwhile the riders suffer.

    BART could have called a 60 day cooling off period but they preferred a strike.

  • Nick

    Dear Bart,
    All I ask is to come up with the solution soon. I live in Richmond and have been sleeping at my work overnight. i am at day 3 now with no clean clothes and no shower. This is getting a bit frustrating. Yes I can take the shuttle, but I rather be at work on time and not loose the hours. It’s already hard enough financially for everyone.

    Hope all works out soon.

  • Anne Ireland

    I hear BART managers and the union have returned to negotiations. I hope they give a large enough raise to their staff so they can cover payments into their pension fund, and I hope safety concerns are addressed.
    Anne Ireland

  • Alex

    BART employes are being greedy, their already winning a good amount of money. Good thing we have AC transit, and its even better that we have the ferry. Ya someone might have to wait a while to get the ferry but in less than half an hour your in the heart of Downtown San Francisco and you enjoyed some nice views on the way!

  • Cathleen

    I am going to apply for a job at BART. I have unemployed for way too long, and i want one of those jobs that are being ill thought of! I know that i will do a better job and be thankful doing it! Oakland City workers, the same goes for you too. I am in need of a job, and highly qualified. Would not want to be you!!!

  • Mad about entitlements

    fire them all and start over! every sector is suffering in these times

  • Joe

    CALL (not email, they don’t pay attention to it!) your state rep and tell them to introduce or support legislation requiring binding arbitration for BART rather than allowing them to strike. There is a reason police, fire, and other essential services are not allowed to strike. Transit is an essential service in an area with millions of people who need to commute every day. http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ I called my rep in the 14th district about it today (martinez) and they said no one else had called them about it so far. Call your rep right now, it’s so much more effective than complaining online.

  • Cathleen

    Bobsoper, I hope that you step in it! You AH, and I don’t mean American Hawaiian!

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