A BART train pulls in the MacArthur station in Oakland. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
A BART train pulls in the MacArthur station in Oakland. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Our latest BART strike deadline update: Marathon Talks Continue Against Yet Another Strike Deadline

Guide: If There’s a BART Strike, Here Are Your Transit Options

Update, 1:30 p.m. Representatives from BART and its two biggest unions have resumed talks in downtown Oakland. Whether we have to go through another strike deadline drama tonight remains unknown, but union officials say there’s still a midnight strike deadline in place.

Update, 1:40 a.m.: No BART strike Tuesday. We’re packing in our coverage for the night. Reporters are still staking out the Caltrans building in Oakland, but indications are that BART and union negotiators will be in talks for the rest of the night.

Update, 1 a.m.: George Cohen, head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, appears outside Caltrans building right at 1 o’clock. He says productive negotiations have been going on and that he’s authorized to say that talks will continue into the night and that BART service will run as scheduled Tuesday morning.

Here’s Cohen’s full statement, by way of our reporter Alex Emslie:

Under the auspices of our agency the parties have been actively engaged in bargaining. The bargaining has produced some constructive and productive progress. And I’m authorized by the parties to say they are prepared to continue negotiations through the night. And at the request of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and because of all of our concern about the public interests I’m authorized to announce that trains will run tomorrow.

I will not take any questions because at this moment the three of us are going to resume our intense negotiations with the parties. I thank everybody for your willingness to stand out in this beautiful weather, and we will be delighted to report to you as [to] the progress of these negotiations. That is the only statement I will be making.

So there’s one answer for you: You can ride the train to work in the morning. If you’re in any shape to get up.

On a more serious note, it’s simply not known when we’ll get word about a result of tonight’s talks. Many people have brought up the possibility of a “stop-the-clock” scenario that would allow negotiations to continue. Speculating here, but it appears that things began to move when the unions came back to BART with their counterproposal to management’s “last, best and final offer.”

More on this in the morning. And of course, many of you who were up waiting for an announcement felt the 3.2 earthquake that rattled things for a few seconds at 1:07 a.m. Quite a way to end the vigil.

Update, 12:30 a.m.: Lots of people gathered outside the Caltrans building where the talks are going on, including Chris “It’s On Like Donkey Kong” Daly, San Francisco publican and former member supervisor. But still: No sign of an announcement.

The scene:

Update, 11:59 p.m.: Well, we’re at the deadline. There is a gaggle of media and union members at 111 Grand Avenue, the Caltrans building where the talks are being held. The word informally is that the talks are still going on. I’ll just note that at this moment in July, the union leaders appeared and announced that the strike was beginning. The fact that that hasn’t happened tonight is a good sign (says me).

You can watch the proceedings here: ABC7 Live Video. The audio alone of the gathered crowd is kind of entertaining.

Update, 11:45 p.m.: An announcement of some sort is imminent. One possibility:

Update, 11:30 p.m.: Pete Castelli, who announced about an hour ago that the unions had made a counteroffer to BART’s final offer, wandered out a few minutes ago and made a statement that reporters are trying to decipher: According to our reporter Alex Emslie, he responded to a question about what would happen at midnight by saying, “We’re going to keep bargaining whether we’re out or not.” So, he appears to be raising the possibility, as others have, that the talks may go past midnight without a walkout.

Update, 11 p.m.: Yes, 60 minutes until tonight’s BART strike deadline, our sixth since June 30. And beyond the fact that some sort of talks are going on at the Caltrans District 4 headquarter on Grand Avenue in Oakland, that’s all we know about whether trains will be running in the morning.

Update, 10:25 p.m.: SEIU Local 1021 Executive Director Pete Castelli is saying the unions have made a counteroffer to BART’s “last, best and final offer.”

“It’s comprehensive, it’s movement, and it’s in their hands,” Castelli said. He said BART negotiator are considering it, they’re meeting.” But he also emphasized there is no deal yet and midnight remains a firm strike deadline.

Update, 10 p.m.: Repeating our question from early this afternoon: Will there be a BART strike tonight? There is no firm word yet, but all signs appear to be pointing to a walkout.

We know from Alex Emslie, manning the Negotiation Watch for KQED News, that BART General Manager has joined the talks. “Here to work with the unions” was all she said. But Emslie also says union representatives are making concrete preparations for a walkout — getting signs ready and making preparations to deploy picketers.

And a frequently asked question: What happens at midnight if the unions decide to strike? The answer:

Update, 8:20 p.m.: OK — here’s a slightly more optimistic view of how the evening may turn out. Chris Finn, an official with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, told reporters in Oakland there’s still a chance a strike could be averted. The caveat: BART management needs to come off its “last, best and final offer.” And as we all know by now, BART management has resisted any suggestion they would do that.

And then there’s this little nugget, publicized by SEIU Local 1021 and retweeted many times in the last hour, including by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Cabanatuan:

We don’t know where Hock is tonight — reporters say he is not at the talks. We tracked down links to two different versions of the conference program, here and here. Both indicated that BART’s hired chief negotiator, Thomas Hock, is scheduled to speak tomorrow afternoon on “The Art of Negotiating the Deal.” The program contents describe Hock, who’s drawn unceasing criticism from the labor side of the BART negotiations for several absences during the past three months of talks, as “one of the public transit industry’s foremost labor attorneys, having been involved in labor relations for 40 years.”

Update, 5:40 p.m.: Two new developments, neither of them good if you’re hoping BART avoids a strike:

1. Responding to union criticism that members of BART’s elected board are “hiding out” while management employs hardball tactics with unions, board President Tom Radulovich told reporters that the board authorized yesterday’s “last, best and final” offer to the unions. Radulovich said calls to the transit agency are running 3:1 in favor of the offer.

2.Pete Castelli, executive director of SEIU 1021, said a strike tonight is a virtual certainty. Castelli said he wanted to notify the public a walkout will happen “unless there’s a Hail Mary.”

Update: 4:45 p.m.: Still nothing of substance from the BART labor talks. But here’s something that will make life more complicated for East Bay residents if BART does go on strike: AC Transit confirms it’s been notified that its unionized drivers will strike as early as Thursday night. AC Transit is the main bus system for Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and nearby communities, and it had announced it was adding extra transbay service in case of a BART walkout.

Update 2:55 p.m. Monday: Will there be a BART strike tonight? We don’t know yet. But here’s one sign: Earlier this afternoon, SEIU Local 1021 Executive Director Pete Castelli told KGO-AM that despite tonight’s midnight strike deadline, unions were evaluating the situation “hour by hour.”

Those comments came as BART’s two biggest unions meet with BART representatives in downtown Oakland as that deadline nears. Negotiations hit a wall Sunday when BART General Manager Grace Crunican presented the unions with a “last, best and final” offer — essentially a declaration that the agency was done bargaining (see below for the limited public details of the offer).

The long stalemate in contract negotiations has centered on pay, pensions and health benefits. Although progress has been reported in those areas, SEIU Local 1021 official Pete Castelli suggested last night that the talks had gotten stuck on another subject — “work rules,” which involve details of staffing, hours, and other subjects.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement this morning urging the two sides to settle their dispute without a strike:

“I urge both BART union and management to demonstrate the leadership necessary to get this deal done and end the uncertainty, frustration and cost to Bay Area commuters and the entire region. It is their duty and obligation to reach a fair and responsible agreement that will set BART on a sustainable fiscal path and one that honors workers and the traveling public.

People’s very livelihoods hang in the balance, adding to the additional frustration felt throughout the Bay Area today when both parties failed yesterday to reach an agreement.

BART carries hundreds of thousands of workers, students and families throughout our Bay Area. A BART strike hurts the very people we are obligated to serve. Again, I urge all parties, in the strongest possible terms, to come to an agreement today.”

  • limabean

    How about they don’t get food/water/breaks until they reach an agreement.

    • Tired

      Property and sales tax revenues go to Bart. Gimme back my taxes if you aren’t going to operate you jackasses.

  • Willis James

    BART workers offer of a 15% increase in health care contributions is absurd.
    Since they pay only $92 for a entire family, that amounts to only paying $13.80 more per month, even for a family of 4 or 5.
    The cost to BART for the MDV (medical, dental, vision) for a family is $23,500
    With the union offer, coverage for the entire family would be only $1,297 a year.
    That covers less than 5.5% of the cost.
    The BART board and management should insist on a minimum of $100 each for the worker and his spouse, plus a minimum of $50 for each child.
    Family of 5 would get MDV for $350… or about the amount that most of us would pay for a single person on a Silver Plan from Covered California. A plan that BTW gives one far less coverage than a gold plated BART plan AND which doesn’t include any dental.
    Actually the BART workers should pay even more, but this time around, $350 for a family of 5 is a improvement over only paying $92…. (essentially nothing)

  • Gloria

    I get it that the workers feel they should be paid more. It’s really hard to feel their side of the issue when I have friends who are out of work or settling for part time work. The surplus the union is so interested in getting their hands on should be used to upgrade the system not to give raises. I’m not saying safety issues shouldn’t be addressed, but a raise? I’m not sold on it, especially in this economy. I’m also of the mind that there needs to be more contribution from the employee for medical benefits. If Bart covers the employee 100%, the employee should pick up a larger piece of the cost for the remainder of the family. A reduction of high level salaries as a show of solidarity and good faith would be good!

    • ooolongT

      Agreed. The fact that we pay BART workers more than teachers is absurd.

      There are unions that are needed (teachers unsions, nurses unions) and there are unions which are the vestigial remains of a era when child labor and unfair labor practices were the norm. This is no longer their time.
      Many of us who work longer hours, with worse benefits, and have student loans for our advanced degrees, have not gotten raises in the past few yers either, BART employees. The economy has wreaked havoc on almost everyone’s income, not just yours. Do I want a raise? Of course I do! Would I be willing to disrupt the lives of almost everyone in the Bay Area to get it? No. This is between you and your employer, not you and the entire Bay Area.
      Thanks for what you have done for our country unions (and I mean that sincerely, having weekends makes us all more productive during the week), but your widespread use to serve the greed of your members is no longer warranted nor appreciated.

      • Teena R

        Wow I totally agree with you. I myself work 3 part time jobs to make ends meet. Why? Because I had no job security when I went out on a medical leave and came back after the fmla time expired. Bart employees would find it difficult to find a job that matches what their current package is. Employers are not hiring in full force. Many are electing to bring aboard temporary staff so that they do not have to pay health insurance. Why are they so damn picky about health insurance? I would kill to pay 80 bucks a month for health insurance that was really good. The crappy plan I pay for is 37 per week, and it sucks! Bite the bullet and deal with it Bart employees. Get over it and suck it up you are not that special.No one has pity for you. get off of the poor pity me piss pot.

      • cf

        This, perhaps more than anything else, is what ticks me off. If I understand the pay scales correctly, it appears that BART workers are not far off from the rates UC professors get (who, btw, were forced to up their contribution to their pension)

    • T&E

      If your friends are out of work why don’t they apply to become BART employees since you think that they have such a sweet deal. In this economy? Have you checked home prices in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland lately? How about rent in those areas? The economy is quite well in the Bay Area.

      • james

        Have you looked at housing cost in NY? Many more people apply for BART than are available. Maybe we should just do what was done in the 80s with the air traffic controllers and let everyone go and give jobs to the many that have applications waiting. BART Employees need to remember that we pay for their jobs, and when I make a lot less then them with no benefits, it makes me angry. I just need to get to work tomorrow!

  • bokchoy

    The politicians could have solved this problem already by passing legislation banneing strikes by public transit workers. Instead they kibbitz at the last minute, breaking gag orders and obstructing the process.

    • batangtun_og


  • IGF

    Interesting… BART upsets the union by giving their final unacceptable offer, and union delays the strike for 24 hours? Seems like progress is finally being made by taking a harder line. I just wished they did this two months ago with their original offer. Only way to get the workers to come down to reality is to let them strike for 3-4 weeks without pay. Then, bring them back to the negotiating table.

  • Kent London

    What’s wrong with giving the best and final offer at 4PM? It already dragged too long, giving it 4PM so the unions can decide taking it or not by early evening, so riders can not what to do the next day. What’s the point of talking if unions’ mentality is my way or highway?
    This has been dragged on for too long, and unfaily put riders on roller coster for too long. Union workers already are grossly overpaid, the the benefits are already too good. BART is already the most expensive train service in the nation, thanks to paying $135,000 a year average pay and benefits to union workers.

  • Observent

    No raises for the rank and file “grunt” workers??? Why not? They haven’t had a raise since their last contract. You can bet that Bart Management has had raises over the length of this previous contract plus benefit packages with more perks than all of the union workers…And as for safety issues??? What’s wrong with asking for bullet proof glass inside the stations especially in these violent times, and having two workers working the night shifts for safety reasons? Nothing outrageous about that……looks like BART MANAGEMENT simply wants to break the unions……but these same people who arrive at these meeting in their chauffeur driven automobiles don’t give a rats ass about the Bart workers and certainly not about the Bart riding public. After all, this strike won’t affect BART MANAGEMENT at all so they will never negotiate with an open mind and with the best interest of the customers in mind…..this is all about power and who gets to be the top dog!!!!!! GO OUT ON STRIKE AND LET BART MANAGEMENT KNOW YOU MEAN BUSINESS. They had sixty days to negotiate but waited how long to begin these last hour negotiations? So don’t be upset with the union workers, be upset with these bad faith management negotiators. Are they elected? Management need to get a real job for a change and return the corporate credit card and the company vehicle. Jump on Bart and rub elbows with the rest of America.

    • Kent London

      Unions get 12% raise over 4 years. That’s better than most people get. By the way, unions are already grossly overpaid. A lot of people would object to this generous offer, as it perpetuate the overpayment. Unions can’t blame Management for waiting to the last minute, if the offers don’t meet the unions’ demand. The offers have been made from 4% to 12% sequentially.Please don’t speak off unions’ talking points. Check the facts.

    • sfcommuter

      If you’re unhappy with management, finding another job is an option too.

    • Observethis

      Bart workers are offered a 12% raise for one, nobody is saying anything about NO raise. These violent times?? Crime is down buddy! When was the last time somebody shot a station agent? Never. Why spend tons of money on bullet proof glass? This is an entitlement issue plain and simple and its hurting those much much worse off than BART employees.

  • Beatle1

    So tell me why we want Gov Workers in charge of healthcare? The greedy unions can shut down our healthcare system while it searches for justice that is self serving, as we will wait for urgent care. Don’t panic now people, the time to panic has already passed.

  • Riders

    Forget the strike or no strike. BART was created by the people for the people. Not management and not unions. If safety of the passengers is an issue, the “excess budget” dollars should be spent on trains and protection and not on more Money for management or unions. State legislators with their own self interest should stay out, unless they will volunteer their districts or cities to pay the cost of a train disaster because we spent more on compensation. Let the riders know where we stand. We just got pass a recession. Is this to the same level? People adjusted before BART. Maybe it will stimulate private enterprise to replace BART.

  • The K9 Monkey

    I cannot believe how long this “negotiation” has gone on. It is absurd the number of times the consumers of the service have been put on notice they may or may not be able to use BART to get where they need to go. I am sick of hearing about the Union demands and how greedy the BART management is. 12% raises by contract. How about you get paid for performance like the rest of the world. $92 a month for MDV? How about $500+ like the rest of the world. No payment to your pension? How about no pension and you manage your own 401K (if you are lucky enough to have one) like the rest of the world. Both sides should be ashamed it has taken this long; however in my opinion the Union has been holding the city and customers hostage with their crazy demands. Remember they started with a hard line 24% raises over the next 3 years.

    Get it together BART. Either agree to a contract or just hire new employees and tell the Union to go find another company to destroy.

  • Lise

    The BART workers are paid substantially over market and EVERYONE I have talked to is in agreement with this fact. If the union members are so out of touch that they truly think they deserve more, then they should simply quit and try to find another job with their limited skill set and let someone who is appreciative to have a job fill their place. The BART union folks should know that they would have to take massive pay cuts if they were not not being spoiled and entitled by working for the government.

    • Lisa

      Lise, I’m curious about how you know what market market is for financial analysts, IT professionals, train controllers, and literally hundreds of other jobs that are highly specialized and require national surveys to determine market. I’m guessing your either a freaking genius or you just blindly accept whatever BART’s management team says…

      • List

        Well… you’d be an idiot to not think they are over-compensated. It doesn’t take a genius to make that conclusion based upon the skill-set and background needed to work these jobs. I work as an IT professional, have been a credentialed teacher, AND live in the bay area. It’s ridiculous that these people make just as much as me (or even close), with far better benefits. I should have just worked for Bart. I had no idea they had it so good until this whole nonsense about being unfair compensation. However, Lisa, if you’re blind and deaf, that could explain why you can’t see or hear the plain truth.

  • tkindred

    Please BART workers and Unions. Go on strike. We need to rid you guys from the tax payers payroll.

    • Vincent Arlene Carter

      Take the whole U.S. Congress with you.

  • sfcommuter

    Any surplus in the budget should go toward improving and expanding the transportation system and driving down fare costs for commuters, some of which make less than BART employees. It’s a public service that’s still heavily subsidized by taxpayers: http://www.bart.gov/docs/financials/FY2013_BART_Budget.pdf I’m not following why any “surplus” should go toward making BART employees lives more comfortable.

    • readiness

      Many make significantly less than BART employees!

  • Armineh Megroian

    Read this! I’m not a member of any of these Unions. I’m just the average citizen with a sense of humanity. And I clearly lack that slave/crab mentality that most of you seem to have. BART workers will raise the standard for all of us. They’re not overpaid, YOU”RE BLOODY UNDERPAID! You still; believe the 1%ers are entitled to all their perks, yet the rest of us somehow to suffer in silence. What the @#$% is wrong with you people. Any worker who is fighting for better wages and better conditions has my full support. A victory for them will mean a victory for me down the line. Wake up!

    Whether you like it or not, whether you care to admit or
    not, the 1% have declared war on the 99%. We are under attack on every front.
    Unions and Union workers are a prime target in this war. Because Unions are the
    only organizations in this country that are capable of organizing people from
    different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, cultures, religions for the single
    purpose of defending their rights. Unions also have a National and/or
    International reach. While most third party organizations are either local or

    So it is vital for the 1%-ers to marginalize Unions. They’ve
    been at it for the past 30 years and they have honed their technique. In that
    context, the issue at BART, is about more than just raises, pensions and
    healthcare. It’s a matter of principle. It is about sustained attacks on Unions
    and Union workers. It’s about the 99% fighting back.

    Whatever the outcome of the BART negotiations, it will have
    a direct effect on the rest of us. If they win their argument, it puts the rest
    of us, Union and non-Union alike, in a better
    position to demand better pay and better working conditions.

    If the BART Unions are forced to take concessions it will
    embolden the 1%-ers and set a bad precedent. There are a number of negotiations
    coming up next year and they will be directly effected by it.

    So BART workers deserve every ounce of support we can
    muster. They’re standing up not just for themselves, but for all of us.

    Please pass this on to at least five people especially those
    who might be affected by the strike. Many thanks.

    BART Strike!

    It’s the 1% vs the 99% … Again!

    BART workers and their Unions are
    being forced into a strike which may take place as soon as Sunday at midnight. This
    will cause congestion on roadways and bridges of Bay Area. But while you’re
    sitting in heavy traffic and stewing, don’t curse the so called overpaid, lazy
    Union workers. Acquaint yourself with a few facts first. Of course you know,
    that you will not get actual facts from the corporate media, only melodrama!

    Fact: For BART workers, a strike is a last
    resort. They are more than willing to sit down and negotiate. It is the Board
    of Directors who refuses to negotiate. The Board of directors has not made a
    new offer in the past two months.

    Fact: Workers on strike do not get paid.
    Consequently they can not contribute to benefits such as healthcare. The Board
    and General Managers continue to get paid, regardless of how unwilling or
    incompetent they are at resolving labor issues.

    Fact: BART’s General Manager Grace Crunican
    sits on the Board of directors of the “Bay Area Council”. A group of CEOs and
    managers dedicated to lowering wages and deteriorating working conditions for
    all workers. In short, to put profit before people.

    Fact: BART Management has fired George Figueroa,
    the head of the strike team for ATU1555, in retaliation.

    Fact: The Board has spent $400,000 to hire
    a consultant turned negotiator from a private corporation named Veolia
    Transportation Services. Thomas Hock was brought in through the back door in an
    underhanded way. He has a reputation for Union-busting. His general strategy is
    to push Unions into a strike, provoke public anger and frustration against
    them, forcing them into taking concessions and pay cuts. That is $400,000 not
    spent on safety measures and upgrades for the paying public.

    Fact: The operations of AirBART, the
    shuttle service between BART’s Coliseum/Airport station and Oakland Airport
    has already been contracted out to Veolia Transportation Services. AirBART
    tickets are $3.00 per person. AC Transit Bus #73 to the Airport costs $2.10.

    Fact: The highest paid BART worker was not a worker at all. She
    was BART’s formerGeneral Manager, Dorothy Dugger who received a salary of $419,000 without doing a single day’s work in 2012. That is on top of $920,000 she was given by BART’s Board of Directors and the $181,000 pension she draws. SHE IS NON-UNION!

    Fact: After retirement, BART workers must live on pension alone.
    They will not be eligible for Social Security. The average public worker’s pension
    in California
    is $25,000 a year. Hardly a King’s ransom.

    Fact: In 2009 BART’s Board of directors
    lied to the workers and misled them into signing away $100,000,000 in benefits
    and pay. BART workers have not had a raise in four years. BART’s latest offer
    is tantamount to a pay cut not a raise. Unions are asking for an actual raise.
    Not an imaginary one.

    Fact: Part of the concessions the unions made in 2009 was a
    hiring freeze, that has been in effect for the past four years. Consequently, a
    great number of BART workers have been shorthanded and have had to put in
    unreasonable amounts of overtime to keep BART running. The Management and the
    Board, in a shameless Machiavellian maneuver have factored those overtime
    payments into the salary of BART workers in order to exaggerate and inflate the
    numbers and demonize the workers in the eyes of the public. And to pit worker
    against worker, those who use BART against those who provide the services.

    The local
    media keeps regurgitating these figures without fact-checking or questioning
    them. Ironically both NY Times and The Nation put the average pay for BART
    workers up to $20,000 below what the local papers consistently claim.

    overtimes were caused by the arrogance and mismanagement of the Board. If they
    did not deceive the Unions and did not insist on a hiring freeze, they could
    have offered more job opportunities to the local communities, put more money into
    the local economies and the existing BART workers could have gone home and
    spent more time with their families.

    Management also neglects to mention that they themselves enjoy the most
    expensive and wasteful benefits. Free laptops, free Blackberrys, free Travel,
    wining, dining and general boondoggling at the expense of the taxpayers.

    Fact: The Management also double counts vacations. One assumes
    that vacations are included in the base salary. But at BART, due to more
    creative accounting, it is calculated separately and added on as a “benefit”.

    Fact: Since 2009, BART employee injuries
    have risen by 43%. In the past year alone the assault on station agents has
    risen from 9% to 31%. This statistic includes homicide and rape. Workers are
    asking for safety measures such as more, better lighting and installation of
    bullet proof glass. Yet the BART Board of directors refuses to spend a single
    penny to ensure the survival of its workers and the safety of the public.

    Fact: BART revenues have risen to above
    718,000,000. Its sales tax revenue has jumped to 207,000,000. (Yes that’s money
    coming out of your pocket) It currently has 125,000,000 in surplus. Yet the
    Board is unwilling to spend a penny of it in the community or for the

    The privatization sharks have smelled surplus and are
    circling. Some Union activists believe that the marginalization of Unions and
    workers is a step towards future privatization of BART.

    Many fear the implementation of the “Wisconsin”
    labor practices. Governor Brown by his unnecessary involvement has signaled
    that he will ride the wave of public anger and frustration to introduce
    legislation which will forbid public workers from going on strike. Such
    legislations already exist in 35 other states. Workers who defy the law and go
    on strike can be fined or spend up to one year in prison. In California the only state law prohibiting
    public workers from striking applies to Firefighters. In the city of San Francisco public
    workers including Muni are prohibited to strike.

    So you see, the future Gridlocks have
    been brought to you by the members of the BART’s Board of Directors.

    The six figure 1%-ers!

    Not the five figure 99%, working stiffs
    like you.

    Be sure to fully express your gratitude next election
    year.Send your “love” to:

    Gail Murray, Joel Keller, Rebecca Saltzman, Robert
    Raburn John McPartland, Thomas Blalock, Zakhary Mallett
    James Fang. Tom Radulovich

    And let’s not forget the General Manager, the lovely
    Ms. Crunican: The woman who speaks with a forked tongue.

    While us working class people keep our tongues firmly
    imbedded in our cheeks!


    • Vincent Arlene Carter

      Thank you Nicely said.

      • DUCK

        Thankyou very much!!! I’m on my cell phone typing this, my computer is too old and tired and I don’t type well. I applause to you! Them knowledge that you have about what is happening throughout the U.S.A. about a mission to bust all Unions is horrific. You strive to move forward not backwards. Why should all Americans want better wages, health care, pensions. Pay less for what other past workers already sacrificed for decades ago. If you demand good Pay, Health Care, Retirement Pension, you must have the High Professional Skills that your Company demands and Bart has these Highly Skilled Professional Union Workers in their system. Bart Managers Worked with Union Officials to Organize a fair Contract Decades ago. Bart has Prospered Tremendously from this! Bart demands them BEST to be hired in their System and the Union Workers need and deserve what they have earned, by being payed WELL as is Being Demanded of them. The Highly Skilled Bart Union Workers Bought their years and decades of professional skills from other previous employment throughout the Bay Area, the Miltary, throughout the U.S.A., The Airlines, The Railroad Transportation Systems, The Bus Transit Systems, with years and decades of experience before working at Bart. Bart has added to their skills with the help of Union Officials demanding to be heard and treated fairly with the same conditions as bart demands from all Union Workers. Bart has Big Attorneys and Big Six Figure Officials to help guide them in the System. The Workers need Officials to help them with fairness, so Union Officials are There and Needed just for that reason. WHY SHOULD YOU BE PAYED FOR LESS, WHEN THE WORK DEMANDED FROM YOUR IS MUCH MUCH MORE!!!

        • Vincent Arlene Carter

          Duck you are what is RIGHT about America. Before I went to work with current employer I was in the military for the sake of it. Just because. The fact that there is soo many haters of Progress i feel reallly scare of our impression on the rest of the World that is trying to find their own peace. People should be Rewarded for hard work, regardless of your sex, race, handicap, or veteran status. Those who bankrupt their Company should not get Incentive pay. And those who decide that they don’t want to work at all should not be rewarded. But that is not the America that we live in. In fact we have People who are suppose to be Leaders trying to shut down Progress who feel that only one type of Person should be in the White House regardless what the People say. And People who feel that they should Trash Workers because they don’t Feel that they could do it themselve. What can we do but keep being ourselves.

    • jim

      shut up, you dont even use BART. Easy for you to say.

  • Frustrated BART commuter

    It’s time to end this ridiculous game and let the Bay Area rely on BART as the way the rest of us get on with our lives. The unions have to STOP this NOW. So many of the Union’s complaints are petty….we want Grace C. here, we want the Bd of Directors, we are offended that you made a final offer, etc Stop being so thin-skinned and accept the very generous offer made by BART mgt and once and for all, stop this stressful process of threatening strike every day.

    • why_not_now

      Sure, let us all be Walmart level.

      Then we get food stamps, section 8 housing and medicare.

      Try again.

      • thomas

        I am generally a supporter of unions, but there’s a world of difference between workers (who make 74k/year) striking over livable wages and workers striking over an EXTRA 5% raise. they are among the highest paid in the nation and BART is among the most expensive in the nation…if you’re at all concerned over actual progressive ideals then your cause should be focused on the lower and middle class people that depend on BART to get to their jobs, schools, doctors appointments, &c, not the upper middle class workers exploiting those who have no choice but to depend on the PUBLIC transit for their livelihoods and well-being,

        • why_not_now

          You work at walmart and support your family and get back to me!

          You helped to pay $750 BILLION for tarp.

          Wake up!

          • thomas

            ? seriously ? are you for real? where is your logic?

          • why_not_now
          • Kent London

            why_not_now, no one is talking about walmart level. BART union workers average $71K wage, $12K overtime, $50K benefits, twice of what teachers get compensated. Is this fair, is this not extorting public with strike? If you say this is management’s inflated numbers, go to what you yelled “Facts” by going to Mercury News website search Bay area salary. Let me give you some examples:

            Yuen, Oi — Power & Mechanical
            Worker…………………..$225,029 per yr. P3

            Amboy, Franklin — Cash Handling
            Foreworker……………$207,009 per yr. P5

            Aquilina, David — Operations
            Foreworker…………………..$202,136 per yr. P6

            De Lisle, James — Train Operator……………………………$193,407
            per yr.

            P-8; 63,162 base pay; 77,858 overtime

            Simms, Sandra –Cash Handling
            Foreworker………………$173,324 per yr.

            He, Jian –Elevator/Escalator
            Worker……………………….$173,137 per yr.

            Brooks, Stephanie — Cash Handling
            Foreworker…………$155,887 per yr.

            Nicholas, Christine — Station
            Agent………………………..$153,276 per yr.

            You can check your name to see if this report is accurate. Minde you these are just pays, not including the golden benefits. Don’t talk about Walmart again if you have any sense of integrity.

          • reaaaallllly???

            we’re talking about BART….. not Walmart….

        • Zillz

          Thank you.

    • batangtun_og


  • Hemlock

    Lower expectations- that’s all I have to say to all of you out there who are bashing Bart workers. What has our society come to when we hate on others for trying to set a standard for what the 99% truly deserve. $92 dollars for health care, Good! We should all take a stand for cheaper health care. Also when it comes to there pensions, I was shocked to find out that they don’t get Social Security like most of us will receive. All they have is their pension which can be wiped away in a moments time. What was the occupy movement teaching us? We are the people we run this! I thought we were trying to take back what we truly deserve.

    Bart workers are valuable because of what they provide, an essential service to the Bay Area. All of Bart management who make more 3x’s the highest bart employee, could go out on leave for a full year and no one would know, nor would you care. The workers go out for only 4 days and the Bay Area is a mess. I understand it’s an inconvenience to us all who ride and depend on bart. But let’s not bash the workers who’s interest is not against us. We should be directing are outrage towards management to pay their workers and resolve this.

    As far as the argument that bart workers salaries raise fares or prevent the system from upgrading, do the research. Bart has a surplus of a 127 million dollars, each year for the next 10 years. That’s a surplus! And as far as fare increases are concerned, guess what? That’s already written in stone up until the year 2034.

    What I see is the dreaded “crab in the barrel” mentality. We should pull each other up not down.

    • why_not_now

      You are correct!

    • Professor

      NOBODY hates the BART workers and nobody is what you say crabbing them. They make 76,000 dollars a year with wonderful benefits. I as an adjunct professor and I do not make even half of what they do with 15 years of education! If everyone else made what they make there would be no problem, but this is NOT the case in this economy. The public is not behind them because they already have much, much more than the vast majority of working people have here and because the BART workers can disrupt the whole Bay Area. Why do they get to shut down the Bay Area because of their strike? I agree their service is valuable so much so that they should be precluded from striking. And you can be sure if they continue to push their greedy agenda the state will move to put an end to their strikes. it is already being discussed.

      • DUCK


      • why_not_now

        Bitter much?

        Let us bring us all up to BART standards!

        Buy aclue!

  • Connie

    If only I have the power to remove all greedy BART employees and replace them. sigh! They are doing no good in the economy!

    • Connie

      Can’t the government or President Obama do something about this?These ordinary BART employees are already receiving $34 an hour and still not satisfied! What they do is just pushing the button, I think some are not even degree holder! How SELFISH & GREEDY!!!

      • Mark G

        Yeah, just push a button. Sheesh. In your fragile eggshell mind all they do is push a button.

    • Connie

      Some people are earning as low as $8 an hour despite hard work, and these GREEDY BART members… #$@!! I wanna zap you out of this world!!

      • why_not_now

        Bring us all up to BART workers and not pull us down to Walmart standards!

        • Anon

          You should go to Wal Mart standards and hopefully look back in hindsight and be greatful for what you already had in the first place.

  • why_not_now

    If corporate america was not trying to bring us all down to Walmart wages and no benefits, this would not be happening.

    Meanwhile we subsidize Walmart employees with food stamps, section housing and medi-care.

    Wake up poeple!


  • Orinda commuter

    When air-traffic controllers went on strike in 80’s Reagan simply fired them and never hired any of them back. Have you ever heard about the air-traffic controllers again?

    • Mark G

      Yeah, it was the beginning of the end of the middle class in America.

    • DUCK

      It’s obvious you don’t understand the domino effect with the replacement of BART WORKERS. It’s not as simple as replacing Air Traffic Controllers! There are many Highly Skilled Professionals that cannot just simply be replaced in the BART SYSTEM! You not nothing about the Highly Skilled Workers at Bart that must be there to Work Safely and Efficiently to Maintain All Control of the Bart System. There are Transit Vehicle Mechanics, Transit Electronic Techs, Transit Inspectors, Mainline Techs, Shop Foreworkers, Track Rail Crews, Track Inspectors, Mainline Tamper Machine Operators, Track Welders, Mainline Train Operators, Yard Train Operators, etc. etc.

      • batangtun_og


        • why_not_now

          Bitter much?

          Let us be dragged down to walmart standards!

          Why do you hate humans? Sigh!

          • Riders

            You already used the same comment above.

          • why_not_now

            You DID NOT have an answer!

            Why is that?

          • Riders

            Are you reading before you type? You seem confused. I responded to the same comment above. There are multiple participants.

          • why_not_now

            I have no clue who you are.

            I do not know you.

            You mean nothing to me.

            My self worth is not dependent upon people liking me in a forum where I do not know them.

            You have my pity.

          • Riders

            You appear disoriented. I want to have open and coherent conversation. I am thankful for your pity. I have to get to my second job now. Enjoy writing your Fiction.

      • Riders

        Keep on convincing yourself, these train operator get paid more than the average astronauts. Last I understand, the operators are not driving a train into space. I believe astronauts are well educated. I do not recall them going on strike.

        • why_not_now

          Bitter much?

          Let us be dragged down to walmart standards!

          Why do you hate humans?

          • Riders

            Please survey BART workers. How many shop at Walmart? Are they helping to raise living standards?

          • why_not_now

            Oh ignorant one, I never stated BART workers?

            Nonetheless YOU are paying for walmart workers to get foodstamps, section 8 housing and healthcare.

            Who is the bigger problem? BART or walmart.

            Wake up!

          • thomas

            you are a fool.

          • why_not_now
          • Riders

            Do you work for the union as a communication director? You seem frustrated and want to shout down all input by average people. You use the same response across the site. I personally do not fear Walmart, but I fear pure lack of empathy for the average worker. Power to the union elite.

          • Riders

            When you cannot reply honestly. Attack the messenger, you use the link that BART workers will be brought down to Walmart standards. BART working 30 years will make 2.5 million to 3 million dollars. If that is low living wage. Please forgive the rider community ignorance. They have a nice pension to boot. Congrats for making all poor people like us being forced to shop at Walmart.

          • why_not_now

            Not just BART workers, all of us.

            Wake up!


    • why_not_now

      Ronnie, killed the middle class.

      I dare you to prove me wrong!

    • Hurry up already!

      I like this idea. So ungrateful… fire them all.

  • educ8yourself


    • Mark G


    • why_not_now

      Bitter much?

  • Gave up BART 10 years ago

    S*** or get off the pot!

  • Strandwolf

    Listening to the rahdio at ~4:30PM on Monday I heard uttered the loathsome name Ed Meece. Was I enduring some catastrophic auditory hallucination? Surely that loathsome creature cannot be attempting some fomentation of the rehab of his justifiably so thoroughly trashed reputation. He really ought to know enough to continue to lie low and stay out of the public eye–then I suppose sociopathic narcissists keep flailing about well beyond their sell-by date. Tsk tsk. Even the puff piece on Wikipedia had to mention his unsavory shenanigans, severely understated though they have been.

    • why_not_now

      Let us be dragged down to walmart standards!

      Why do you hate humans?

  • walter

    I don’t understand why they don’t simply fire everyone that fails to show up at work and hire new trams. With all the skilled people out of work they could replace them. Sure it would take 2 or so months to bring Bart back up but it gets rid of the union

    • Mark G

      As long as you fire the non-union management also.

    • why_not_now

      Let us be dragged down to walmart standards!

      Why do you hate humans?

    • batangtun_og


  • sam

    Seems like it is time for a Proposition that prohibits striking by transit workers. No sympathy for the workers….did they ever take time to look at the unemployment rate in California. Even less sympathy for the union.

    • batangtun_og


    • why_not_now

      Meanwhile, we pay for walmart employees for their food stamps, section 8 housing and medicare.

      Try again!

  • Karl Rushski

    I haven’t had a raise in 4 1/2 years and I don’t see one any time soon.
    Bart Workers:stop crying and go to work, or they should offer your jobs to someone who will

    • why_not_now

      Let us all apply for food stamps, section 8 housing and medicare.

      We supplement corporate ameica.

      Try again fool.

      • Um, huh?

        you should have been blocked from commenting by now why_not_now because of your spamming

    • DUCK

      Do you feel that you deserve a better raise or benefits EVER? What exactly or your qualifications, or are your always satisfied where your at year after year? Be honest to yourself! Are our you totally ok if your employer desides to make you pay more and demand more from you and give you less!!!

  • DUCK

    It’s obvious most people who never worked in highly skilled profession, with the Union and management forced to work together, has a really difficult time accepting what the union workers truly deserve to keep and strive for. We are really seeing how a lot of under paid with low benefits and retirement feel better if everyone is to be at the same scale as they are. THIS IS SIMPLY SLAVE MENTALITY OR “POST TRAUMATIC SLAVE SYNDROME”. As long as the wealthy are in control, then they feel that’s the way of order of things.

    • batangtun_og


  • Mark G

    If the Bart workers get fired, then ALL the people who work for BART should lose their jobs. Including non-union management positions.

    • why_not_now

      Let us all apply for food stamps, section 8 housing and medicare.

      We supplement corporate ameica.

      Try again!

  • Hopelessly frustrated

    Fire them all. They should have taken the 60 days of “cooling off” and trained train operators and sent the employees and unions walking. There are plenty of good hard working folk that would be dancing a happy dance to have a job. The Unions are holding the bay area common people hostage and it is sickening that they are continually being given the opportunity to make us pay.

    • why_not_now

      Yes, fire them all!

      Let us all apply for food stamps, section 8 housing and medicare.

      We supplement corporate americe.

      Try againQ

      • batangtun_og


        • why_not_now

          You work at walmart and get back to me, most ignorant person!

          • Um, huh?

            You are a spammer why_not_now

  • batangtun_og


    • why_not_now

      Corporate americs takes.

      We give.


      We should be all up to BART standards as opposed to Walmart!

  • batangtun_og


    • why_not_now

      Meanwhile, you pay for walmart employees to get food stamps and section 8 housing.

      Wake UP!

      • batangtun_og


        • why_not_now

          Ignorant person, you pay for walmart employees to get food stamps, section 8 housing and FREE medical care at the ER.

          Prove me wrong!

          I dare you!

  • why_not_now

    Stop corporate america from hurting us!

    We deserve to be up to BART standards!

  • why_not_now

    So why do we want america to have walmart standards?

    They get food stamps, they get section 8 housing.

    We subsidize walmart!

    Look it up!

  • Tuff ToFu

    This is absurd, unsatisfactory, and unacceptable.

    Union members are far well paid both salary and benefits, and BART management are compensated more than well. It wasn’t just a year ago board members pat themselves on their back and paid out bonus for being on time. Yes, for being on time. The bottom line of any business is to meet its business objectives and if management can’t get it done than you get some one else–who can–and that goes specifically for Union Management.

    The bottom line is meeting customer satisfaction that pays for their salary, their benefits, their bonus … their lively hood.

    Ineptness is what will be unforgettable for both Union members who must vote on a strike and BART Management who letting this happen.

    I am totally disgusted …

    • why_not_now

      Bitter much?

      Let us be dragged down to walmart standards!

      Why do you hate humans?

      • thomas

        you need to come up with a new comment. you are obviously missing the absurdity of your comment and this whole situation: 74k a year is not at all approaching walmart standards! and it’s the poor people that you have to worry about dealing with “walmart standards”, you know those people that have no other choice but to DEPEND on public transit??

        • why_not_now

          Prove me wrong!

          I dare you!

      • f simanjuntak

        Cuz they’re lazy and greedy.

  • thomas

    A petition by Steve Glazer to ban BART strikes: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/ban-bart-strikes.html

  • Close to Broke

    Great, here I am wondering if I can get to my $9.75 job tomorrow in SF so I can support my family. I was laid off 2 years ago, from a much better job, but haven’t been able to find anything making the same money. I literally have no idea of what to do if the workers decide to go out on strike, I guess look for something closer to home here. I could understand all of this if they were losing something, but they are asking for more from BART, while punishing me.

    • why_not_now

      BART is trying to bring us all up!

      • f simanjuntak

        Fire them all.

  • JT

    NOTICE BART EMPLOYEES: should you strike, the wrath of 325,000 commuters will be brought upon you. This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. Your greed will be your downfall.

  • Tony

    Thomas Hock lead negotiator is at a conference in Southern California
    Disneyland….epic fail BART. And you really care about resolving this issue?

  • ed bear

    It’s so obvious these Dem craphead pols have never run anything but their mouths

  • Angry

    Bart employees make 50% more money than their riders and they want a raise. That is not right. Please fire all of them and hire people who will appreciate the job.

    • DUCK


  • jesee

    FIRED ALL THOSE LAZY BART WORKERS I’M TIRED of this they don’t do anything and ask for too much

  • venus

    That last update at 11pm made no griffin sense.

  • Um, huh?

    Let me get this straight, they make $30.00 an hour, have full medical and dental coverage, and they want more—and if they don’t get it they will make the whole Bay Area suffer. This is what unions have brought to America.

  • VoxVulgus

    Still talking after midnight? Great. But you know what’s really most important right now? That you either commit, or not, to running trains in the AM. Because your drama means I have to stay up late to find out what my travel plans are tomorrow, and get up early to find out again. If you couldn’t settle this at 6pm today you should have called it a strike. If you announce a deal after these last minute histrionics, you do NOT get credit for avoiding a strike (at least not with me). You get blamed for not being able to manage your time or make reasonable accommodations for public planning.

  • bbs190273

    I hope they do go on strike. Then maybe the public backlash will jolt the assembly into following Wisconsin’s lead and take away their right to collective bargaining.

  • Mario Jerez


  • xtina218

    thanks for the prompt update and for mentioning that earthquake! i wasn’t sure if i was going a little crazy or not…

  • funny


    all the skilled jobs are not union represented… Do they receive the same pay increases and almost free healthcare?

    • DUCK

      The temporary skilled jobs pay well but no full time health care and no pension. No Representation, they are at the mercy of whatever Bart decides for them.

  • Frustrated BART Commuter

    When will this end? Today is even worse than yesterday with the unions not even telling the public whether or not it plans on going on strike tonight. I strongly support proposals for the legislature to enact law that will prevent BART unions from holding the Bay Area public hostages to their demands for more money.

    End this nonsense today with a deal and move on! Then, contact your legislators and urge support for Ban the Strike legislation. AC Transit union should also be ashamed of itself for jumping on the bandwagon and threatening to strike on Thursday.

  • martina

    ok, guys and gals, we are ALL workers.
    Remember less than a century ago, before unions were able to make things more tolerable for us, there was the 7-day work week, with the 12- or more hour day, with no safety measures, let’s not even talk about savings/401k/retirement. BECAUSE OF UNIONS, we ALL HAVE A BETTER WORKING SITUATION.

  • educ8yourself

    BART union is going to lose at the end of the day. They strike, they will have almost no public support. In fact, they know a strike now will jeopardize their entire union because management is going to replace them eventually. And they have little leverage, because the power of the strike is only as strong as the support they receive from the public. They should take the final offer.

  • Meester Gumby

    BART chief negotiator Tom Hock, who is being paid $399,000 as a contractor, was not at the table Monday and is scheduled to speak at a transit conference at Disneyland today.

  • Meester Gumby

    BART chief negotiator Tom Hock, who is being paid $399,000 as a contractor, was not at the table Monday and is scheduled to speak on the “art of negotiating” at a transit conference in Disneyland on Tuesday.

  • etlib

    I was thinking of taking AMTRAK to the Bay Area next week,If so I’d be completely dependent on BART to get me from and to Amtrak. I’d need to be sure BART would be available all next week or AMTRAK is out of the question so I guess I’ll drive.

    I’m sick and tired of TSA personal intrusions so no airlines for me if driving is a possibility.

  • with_4-yr_degree

    A message to BART management. I am highly skilled engineer with a 4-yr degree. I am willing to work for BART for fair compensation (similar to private sector). I know plenty of engineers who are willing to do the same. It might be rough for a couple of weeks but we can guarantee that we can give better service (even better job).


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.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

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