BART workers picket at the system's Lake Merritt station in Oakland. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
BART workers picket at the system’s Lake Merritt station in Oakland. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Friday BART Strike Update: Monster Commute, No Talks Planned

Guide: During the BART Strike, Here Are Your Transit Options

Current status, 8:30 a.m. Friday The commute into San Francisco has been, as expected, pretty awful. Interstate 880, the Nimitz Freeway, has backed up at times all the way from Hayward up to the Bay Bridge — nearly 20 miles. Interstate 580, the MacArthur Freeway, has been backed up to Highway 24. Speaking of 24, it’s back up to speed after having been slow in long stretches all the way from Walnut Creek to the 580 interchange. The Eastshore Freeway, I-80, has been backed up to Richmond.

On the other hand, after years of occasional Bay Bridge closures and last July’s BART strike, disruptions are nothing new to Bay Area commuters and commute services. BART is running bus service, AC Transit and other agencies are operating extra buses, and the San Francisco Bay Ferry system is sailing extra runs. All of those are crowded but operating smoothly this morning.

Update, 12:01 a.m.: For the second time in 2013, BART is on strike. Union pickets are ready to take up positions at stations throughout the Bay Area. We have no indication yet when union and management negotiators will attempt to resume talks, which broke down Thursday afternoon in a dispute over work rules at the transit agency.

First response The California Republican Party marked the beginning of the strike by renewing its call for a law to stop BART workers from walking out. That idea was first floated last month by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who asked Gov. Jerry Brown to call a special session of the Legislature to pass the bill. Brown declined, citing opposition from most legislators, unions and even BART. He has signaled some interest in legislation that would submit transit disputes to binding arbitration.

Major points:

  • The breakdown: Talks broke down this afternoon after a 30-hour negotiation marathon. The federal mediator in charge of the talks said significant progress was made on many issues but ultimately the differences between the two sides could not be bridged. He said mediators are exiting the talks for now.
  • Work rules dispute: Unions say they had reached agreement with the agency on pay, pension and medical benefits, but the talks foundered on BART’s insistence on changes in work rules. BART management says it wants changes in work rules to help assure the transit system’s future “efficiency and effectiveness.” Unions say the agency refused an offer to submit the work rules dispute to outside arbitration. BART General Manager Grace Crunican said the offer was rejected because unions were willing to submit only part of the contract to arbitration.
  • Final contract offer:BART made an offer that was very close to the “last, best and final offer” first presented last Sunday and said it wants union leadership to submit that proposal to a rank-and-file vote. Union officials say they believe the offer has no chance of acceptance.
  • Governor out of moves: Gov. Jerry Brown’s office says the governor, who moved to impose the cooling-off period that expired last week, has no more legal leverage to prevent a strike.

The details: SEIU Local 1021 President Roxanne Sanchez appeared outside the Caltrans building in Oakland after 30 straight hours of talks to announce that BART’s unions intend to strike at midnight. Federal mediators confirmed that talks had broken up, and BART management said it had repeated its “last, best and final” offer after unions refused to accept changes in work rules. BART General Manager Grace Crunican again called on union leaders to submit the offer to a rank-and-file vote.

Appearing outside Caltrans headquarters in Oakland, Sanchez accused BART management of forcing the dispute to a strike. Sanchez apologized to the public for what she acknowledged will be very difficult transit conditions if the walkout occurs.

Sanchez said her union had agreed “100 percent” with BART’s proposals for pay, for new pension contributions and for increased health-insurance payments. But she said BART had taken a “radical, hardline … harsh, entrenched and unjustified position” on work rules and working conditions.

Sanchez said that the unions had been willing to submit the work rules provisions to outside arbitration, but BART management refused the offer. She said that unless BART changed its tack in bargaining, a strike will begin at midnight.

“God willing, the general manager and BART board will move our unresolved conflict to an interest arbitration table instead of to the street,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez’s appearance was the first in a parade of the principals in this week’s talks.

George Cohen, head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, confirmed the negotiations are over and mediators are withdrawing from the talks. Despite significant progress in some areas, Cohen said, “In the final analysis, certain issues remained. The parties were unable to bridge the gap. Our efforts to do that at this point in time was not successful.” Cohen said mediators are “willing, ready and able” to re-enter the talks at the parties’ request.

BART General Manager Grace Crunican said the talks broke down over work rules that the district could not bend on. “The district made it very clear that we have certain rights that we need to maintain in this package, that we had a level we could afford if some of these rights were included in the package,” Crunican said after the talks broke down. “These were work rules that were essential to maintaining the future efficiency and effectiveness of the agency.”

When reporters asked for an example of the work rules at stake, Crunican mentioned “beneficial past practices,” a provision that she said gives workers a veto over new technology the district wants to introduce. “One example is pay stubs,” she said. “We all receive electronically our pay stubs online, but because back in history everyone received their pay stub in an envelope, we now use our foreworkers’ time to hand-deliver a pay stub to each individual worker. They waste their time doing something that could be done with automation. There are a number of things like that that go on at BART and it is time for management to be able to manage.”

When someone in the crowd called out, “We’re going on strike for pay stubs!”, Crunican added that “bidding,” the system by which many unions member receive job assignments, also needs to be overhauled.

Antonette Bryant, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, said a walkout would be “a management strike, brought on by absolute arrogance and the fact that they thought that they could take workers’ rights away. We were close on two separate occasions to closing this deal. We had come together on areas of wages, of pension, of everything that they were asking for. We were this close. And yet at the last minute they threw in a management rights clause to take away our rights as workers. Everything else was done, and it should have been done.”

Crunican called on union leaders to submit the district’s proposal to a rank-and-file vote, just as she had last Sunday. But the SEIU’s Sanchez said that would only lead to a vote rejecting the contract and could lead to an even more protracted dispute.

Gov. Jerry Brown acted in August to impose a 60-day cooling-off period in the dispute. Evan Westrup, Brown’s spokesman, said tonight the governor has no further legal leverage to prevent a strike.

Earlier updates:

Update, 4 p.m.: Trains are running on a normal schedule. The BART labor negotiations have continued all night and all day and are now in their 30th consecutive hour. BART’s hired chief negotiator, Thomas Hock, has returned to the talks after a two-day absence. He was in Disneyland speaking to a transportation industry conference “The Art of Negotiating the Deal.” He’s quoted as saying earlier this afternoon “this should be in the final stretch” for the talks.

Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News has a question about the marathon:

The prelude to the second all-nighter in the talks this week came at 10:30 Wednesday night, when the now-familiar figure of George Cohen, the head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, announced that BART would run Thursday. He said unions and management are “totally engaged” in bargaining and progress was being made. He declined — “as is my custom” — to make a statement. He headed back into the Caltrans building after telling reporters and TV crews assembled outside the Caltrans building, “It’s lovely to see each of you.”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press is reporting “at least one person seems comfortable betting that a strike won’t happen. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee left for Asia after delaying the trip for two days to ready the city for a possible strike, according to his spokeswoman.”

Earlier updates:

Update, 10 p.m. Wednesday: Leaders of SEIU Local 1021, which represents BART station agents janitors and some other workers, are gathering in the lobby of the Caltrans building in Oakland — an announcement of some kind appears imminent. Talks have continued all day between BART and its two biggest unions, again with the possibility of a strike being called for tomorrow. Roxanne Sanchez, president of SEIU Local 1021, announced early this afternoon the unions will do their best to announce the status of negotiations and Thursday train service by 10 p.m. tonight. By way of a mini-development in the saga, Antonette Bryant, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, said later her union had not been consulted about the promise to make an early strike/no strike call this evening.

And by way of our reporter Alex Emslie, here’s the scene outside the Caltrans District 4 headquarters this evening as the media hunkers down for its nightly BART vigil:

7 a.m. Wednesday: Talks adjourned just after midnight and are scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Last night, the wait for word on the negotiations ended just after 10 p.m. when George Cohen, head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, confirmed there would be no strike today. Full transcript of Cohen’s remarks, by way of Alex Emslie, our reporter staking out the talks:

Thanks for bearing with us. I have a very brief statement, and I will not be taking any questions. You all should understand that bargaining continues to take place. Under our auspices, parties have made some progress, and the parties have authorized me to advise you that on behalf of themselves and in support of the public interest and all the riders in this area, there will be train service operating all day tomorrow. I appreciate your attention and your understanding that we are intimately involved in the negotiation process. We’re devoting all our efforts and energy to achieve an agreement, for the parties to achieve an agreement. And I will not be taking any questions, and I thank you for forbearing. Good evening.

BART Strike Begins After Collapse of Contract Talks 18 October,2013Dan Brekke

  • commuter

    as a commuter, I am tired of being forced to follow these negotiations just to find out if I have to put alternative commute plans in place to get to work. Just lock out the unions and see how long it takes for union members to consider they have house payments and groceries to buy and no income. Every time negotiations are continued without some type of resolution, it is only BART commuters who suffer because union member still get their paychecks and benefits..

    • UnionsSuck

      Had enough of the thug EXTORTION 1 night after another. Why should BART management reward these cowardly thugs with GEDs making $150k as ahem rude station agents?

      • why_not_now

        Why should the US tax payers subsidize walmart and fast food companies so they can make billions!

        Fast-Food Workers Are Costing the U.S. $7 Billion a Year in Public Aid

        Wake up!

        • M H

          Go fight your walmart and fast food cause somewhere else. it is not related at all to this topic and if anything hurts your argument.

          • ninerslover

            It is the same topic. The point is that when unions are destroyed the plight of workers are inevitably on a path to a diminished life. The argument is no longer about wages. Read the dispute, wages and benefits have been settled.

          • That’s BS- prove they’re the “highest paid” transit workers in the US or shut your jealous pie-hole.

        • HelplessSEAL

          We, the farepayers and taxpayers, are essentially the Union Worker’s employers, paying the most competitive wages in ALL OF THE WORLD for the jobs they do. In return, we get poor service and even poorer facilities.

          BART operates at a loss on its own, but subsidized by taxpayer money. If everyone joined a Union and bargained for bloated paychecks, then every company in America would either tank or be on government life support…

          And with regards to the article, some of the biggest potential government “subsidies” are already covered by BART’s incredible benefits package. Medical, reasonable wages, pension for retirement are all covered for the most part… This makes most BART workers pretty damn well off.

          If anything, that article hurts your argument, why fight for workers who are well off, when we can fight for Walmart workers who have it way worse? If I made 6 figures in pay+benefits, I certainly wouldn’t turn to the government for help at all…

      • NWO


        That’s not the problem. The real problem is how BART management gave themselves a large pay hike when workers did not get an across the board pay raise as well. In early 2013, BART management claimed that they didn’t have any money to give pay hikes to workers, but somehow found money to give themselves a hefty pay raise. Current salary according to the San Jose Mercury News for the General Manager and on down is close to $300K a year. BART is being mismanaged and poorly maintained by the same people who give themselves pay raises while at the same time refuse to give any meager pay hikes and compensation for the workers.

        The mandate for BART should be that the State of California should take over the managing of BART since it runs across several counties in the San Francisco bay area. Let’s see how BART can save millions of dollars a year without overpaid management.

        • HelplessSEAL

          BART management is overpaid, so your solution is to overpay the Union Workers. What ridiculous logic is this? Who’s going to pay for it? It’s already a subsidized system.

          • NWO

            2012 BART Management Salaries:

            General Manager: Grace Crunican, $312,461
            Deputy General Manager: $298,700
            Assistant General Manager Operations: $212,647
            Controller-Treasurer: $208,744
            Assistant General Manager Administration: $206,914
            Managing Director, Capitol Corridor: $192,475
            Executive Manager Planning & Budget: $189,354
            Chief Transit System Development: $178,000
            Associate General Counsel: $182,322

            Actually, the people of California can vote on a proposition for the state to take over BART so that it can be managed properly. The Board of Directors and its private ownership have been grossly mismanaged with the public largely paying fare hikes to management instead of getting upgrades in trains and service.

          • Kent London

            Look at how much the top cash handling forceworker (not foreman) makes in 2012, and other unions workers, then put this in perspecitve, who is grossly overpaid (from Marcury News salary bay area):

            Yuen, Oi — Power & Mechanical
            Worker…………………..$225,029 per yr. Page 3

            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

          • NWO

            Btw, BART is not federally subsidized. It is a private ownership with a board of directors.

          • HelplessSEAL

            Do you bother to fact check? Look at page four

            BART receives about 1/3 of its income through taxes and other government sourced incomes. If it weren’t for that, BART would either operate at a massive loss, or we’d be paying much more for fare, making this mass transit system very unattractive to commuters.

            Now look at this graph

            Management makes up a puny portion of the budget. Union worker pay and benefits are an incredibly large portion of the budget, more than every other expense COMBINED.

            I agree BART management is overpaid too, but how can you possibly validate the Union worker’s pay raise with these facts in mind?

          • NWO

            Ha-ha ….. So what about page 4??? Anyone in management can doctor up those expenses. BART hasn’t had a Congressional audit by anyone in Congress for the so-called federal 5307 they receive in grants, which is just a small portion since the Feds don’t won’t to give out huge amounts anyway since they are going bankrupt with this government shutdown. Btw, the sales and property taxes they receive from the state???? Where is the audit trail???? Let’s see here …… Let’s add 2 + 2 together and see what we come with. Adding up most the management salary positions per year, which does not take into account the station managers and train managers and other managerial positions, it comes out to be close to federal 5307 for revenue. Anyway you look at it, either someone or a group of people are actually making more money than they are taking in revenues. So the main issue with the strike is that management gave themselves hefty pay raises when they said they didn’t have the money to give the workers for pay hikes and compensation benefits. So in the end, there should be audit trail of where the income is going and where the money is being spent, of which neither has been done which is why BART is still losing money since they cannot properly maintain their trains and even upgrade them.

            BART should be government run by the State of California because there would be an audit trail, which is simply assets = liabilities. And, since BART is supposed to be a public transportation utility operating for the people, Cali should be the utility company for that purpose and not the private board of directors who make big cash flows that cannot be even audited by Congress and Feds. Btw fyi, California has lost money in CalPers, which lost investments of over 56.2 billion, because of wall street ponzi schemes that has bankrupted the state, which is why California government is seen as inefficient in their finances.

    • UnionsSuck

      BART extortion and thug-ery at its finest:

      For the fifth time in the past week — and the eighth time in the last 3½ months — it was not clear whether BART trains would roll the following morning.

      Time to do Reagan on these fatcats and break the union strangleholds on the Bay Area and give the job to many honest hardworking folks out of work!

      • David Aaron Eklove

        I think the reagan thing would be a great idea…..

        • I think a general strike like the one in 1934 would be a good response to that idea.

          Should have been done after PATCO but now we DONT have a choice.

  • commuterSickofUnions

    I too commute. Public unions should not be able to hold the public hostage to serve themselves. This is why unions with no competitors are not in the best interest of the public it serves.

    • why_not_now

      Private corporations should follow suit as well!

      Can you say TARP?

      Sure you can!

      $750 BILLION!

    • Duke Duk

      Downright greedy union tanturm resulting in strike agter umpteen threats for these rules?

      1. union slimeball leeches can call in sick, work four days and get paid overtime on the fifth day.
      2. union slimeball leeche can leave projects in the middle of a job to go work on something else.
      3. union slimeball leechescan receive paper paycheck stubs instead of electronic notices.

      KQED – please report the facts

  • UnionsSuck

    Antoinette sounds angry and sounded uneducated all the time. How union can vote such person as president is sure indication of the lack of talents amongst the union members with GEDs.

    • GLIDE

      Im glad to hear you think you are so much better than the person whom has a GED, see how thats EGO works for you in the coming months,,,,LOL

  • Sue Union

    Tell that angry hippo woman from the BART union that she sabotages my work and the work of 400 K other commuters. We should sue the unions and make them bankrupt.

    • Union thug

      Yeah! We should form together and elect a spokesperson to air our grievances! Then, our individual voices would be heard better! Kinda….like …..a …Union

      • Her

        Why would you want to be “kind of like a union” you people are idiots.

        All you do is fight against it. Instead of the greedy powerful that step all over your dumb butts.

  • why_not_now


    Fast-Food Workers Are Costing the U.S. $7 Billion a Year in Public Aid

    We subsidize Walmarat, and fast food but when one organization wants to stop the tide we attack them.

    Most sad!

    • UnionsSuck

      And yeah so you want us to chip into your zero pension and exhorbitant wages too?

      You too will end up working at Wallymart and McD if you choose to strike and choose not to cross the union hooligan line after you suck more taxpayer money from unemployment office.

      • why_not_now

        Yet again, you are ignoring the issue..

        You do know that walmart workers make minimum wage, right?

        • Why_not_now is ANNOYING

          Why_not_now…Just go do something more productive. You are annoying…Thanks!

  • why_not_now

    While we are given crumbs, this is what wall street gets!

    Remember $750 BILLION?

    Now, with Wall Street employees pocketing average cash bonuses of $121,900
    — while most families’ incomes stagnate — Benmosche thinks the public
    should have more sympathy for the plight of these good people. “They’re
    all scared,” he told the Journal. “They [had made] good
    livings. They probably lived beyond their means. We wouldn’t be here
    today had they not stayed and accepted … dramatically reduced pay…It is a
    shame we put them through that.” One can almost hear the sad strains of
    a violin playing softly in the background.

    Who are the real crooks?

    • UnionsSuck

      You the blood sucking GED holding shameful union card carrying buffoons are the CROOKS.

      • why_not_now

        You ignored my comments.

        Why is that?

        • guest

          …because you can not stay on topic.
          Go figure…

  • UnionsSuck

    All they want is a “fair and equitable wage” LOL

    Below are the
    salaries and OT earnings for a few Station Agents, not Supes, just plain
    ol’ Station Agents. These are not exceptions, the list is several
    hundred deep. At the BART website the job requirements are listed as a
    GED and 2-3 years of customer facing experience,ie; 7-Eleven, Wamart,
    McD’s etc…

    Li, Tiffany $167,784 with $52,501 OT
    Manalo, Chris $159,522 with $40,381 OT
    Nicholas, Christine $153,276 with $42,925 OT
    Burrell, Maria $149,946 with $44,913 OT
    Khashabi, Sandy $142,694 with $32,057 OT
    Adam, David $141,671 with $39,110 OT

    in mind these people have ZERO contribution “six figure retirement”
    CALPERS, pay a max of $92/month for top notch healthcare for any family
    size and a system pre-gamed for free OT with darn near “fire proof”

    I feel so badly for them…NOT, FIRE THEM ALL

    Don’t take my word it, check for yourself

    Under “Entity” select Bay Area Rapid Transit

    • why_not_now

      Please pay attention.

      JPMorgan Expected to Admit Fault in ‘London Whale’ Trading Loss

      Fast-Food Workers Are Costing the U.S. $7 Billion a Year in Public Aid

      Don’t take my word for it, check it yourself!

      Unions are not perfect, if you really want to steal, go to wall street!

      • Kent London

        why_not_now: you are totaly mixing oranges and apples. You can’t use a London Whale brough $5 billion loss to JPMorgan to justify BART unions’ collective extortion. You can’t use government subsidy to subsistence McDonalds’ workers to justify tax payers’ money to BART union workers. BART union workers average $135,000 a year pay and benefits. Compared to McDonalds’ workers, they are FAT CATS.

        • why_not_now

          Apparently you are mistaken.

          We subsidize low wage worker so walmart gets BILLIONS.

          Prove me wrong.

          BART wants to give employees a living the bay area.

          Try again!

          • Wondering_what_happened

            Um. I’m sorry, but even tech workers make less than the BART “living wage” that the BART staff currently earn in the Bay Area!

            Many good programmers and engineers make less total comp than what’s listed on this list for 2012 and work a LOT harder:


            The weird thing is since when do public sector workers DEMAND a share of operating surplus for a PUBLIC entity that is subsidized by taxpayers? Isn’t that what all of these benefits were supposed to make up for? The fact that public workers traded stability and good benefits for less pay and risk? This is really a conflict of interest on their part — they are employees and are supposed to serve the public, not extort them.

            If there is a surplus, the first thing it should go to is capital improvements and then back to the taxpayers — certainly not to the unions.

          • How many “programmers or engineers” died today?

            Two “non-union” BART employees were killed this afternoon- they are a LOT deader than your jealous argument, genius.

    • UnionsSuck

      No pun against the janitors but BART’s best-paid janitor made $82,752…

      82K is a lot of money, especially if you add in their gold-plated
      benefits, ZERO contribution pensions, and retirement health care. Time to break the back of the SEIU THUGS and its members.

      • T&E

        Are you applying to be a BART janitor if it’s such good money in the Bay Area? OMG, and the benefits are so good too! I would think that you would be first in line to get one of these jobs!

        • Milou

          If I didn’t have computer related skills and I didn’t have automotive related skills, then yes, in a heartbeat. I’d be the best janitor $82K could buy.

          • Her

            Well if not. STFU!

          • You people are idiots- you’re reading anti-union drivel produced by BART management. An “Average” PRETAX salary rate for 30 different job categories adding “benefit” calculations that included BART Executive Compensation! Didn’t you read the Governor’s Inquiry on this? Maybe they don’t make TOO MUCH- maybe you’re unwilling to FIGHT FOR MORE!!!

    • jasper

      Thats outrageous. Cops and fireman don’t even earn that type of money.

    • Her


    • Brian

      I went and looked at these pay rates and OMG they make a lot of money a lot in ot. they are upset. *ucking really. No body makes un 60k

  • George Chen

    Yeah, lock them out. We need to make an example of them, before the AC Transit workers strike. 🙂

    • why_not_now

      Please pay attention.

      JPMorgan Expected to Admit Fault in ‘London Whale’ Trading Loss

      Fast-Food Workers Are Costing the U.S. $7 Billion a Year in Public Aid

      Don’t take my word for it, check it yourself!

      Unions are not perfect, if you really want to steal, go to wall street!

      • guest

        You must work for BART since all you seem to be able to do is cut-N-paste.

        Go try and find the proper article for your comments. You missed it, AGAIN.

        • why_not_now

          You assume too much grasshopper!

          Note, how you avoided my comments to give snark!


        • Glide

          Ride a Bicycle to work !

      • Dennis

        Need you post the same tired comment on every post? Chase is paying some pretty stiff fines for the London Whale fiasco, not that it has anything at all to do with vastly overpaid BART employees.

        • Her

          They are not overpaid… Lot’s of dummies ride Bart!

    • Her

      How about you stop bringing your kind to our country zapping all of our resources and raising our taxes. GTFOH

      • HelplessSEAL

        You get the hell out. Racism is not appreciated.

      • Peace On Earth

        Hey, this country do not appreciate racism. We embrace diversity in America, you should be the one to get out of this country!!!!!

  • why_not_now

    BART trains will run Wednesday, no strike – updates to come

  • Shane McKinley

    Maybe we should call these people up at 3 in the morning and give prepared speeches. “We’re sorry we are waking you up in the middle in the morning. Again. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Blah blah blah.”

    • why_not_now

      If you read the article they will report at 10pm!

  • Brian Deckman

    It is time to rethink the whole BART issue.

    First, BART is not self sufficient and relies on us TAXPAYERS to meet their operating budget annually. Taxes, SALES TAX, PROPERTY TAX, AND PERSONAL INCOME TAXES. Let us now tell the Board of Directors, that we are no longer going to vote yes on issues of BART, but rather NO. NO MORE subsidizing your operations.

    Second, to become self sufficient BART would have to raise the fare $2.00 per way. That would remove the need for taxpayers to keep paying! $4.00 round trip – a latte at Starbucks!

    Third, Silicone Valley is only “down the street”, and has revolutionized many industries. Why are we still using humans on so many simple jobs. The Board of Directors, and us taxpayers, should all be demanding “driverless” trains. Planes have auto pilot, the new automobiles will have the technology, and BART itself has one, and plans to open a second operation that does not require drivers. Time to replace “expensive” people, with a computer chip and keep BART rolling.

    • why_not_now

      Kinda like the roads you drive on and the water you drink, the food you eat, etc.

      What is your point?


      Walmart is making billions off you and I subsidizing their workers.

      Does that not bother you?

      • Shadowfox1198

        no, but you do.

        • Dennis

          Amen to that. why_not_now is a blithering idiot who pollutes almost every post with the same drivel. He/she is obviously one of the train operators sucking on the BART teat.

      • GLIDE

        Corp. Greed and illegal workers go hand in hand !

    • Her

      ^^You are not part of the answer but part of the problem. This is why GREED is winning over humanity. I guess you would rather walk into a grocery store to find computers instead of humans. Robots cleaning up the parks. Hey, why not just off the humans all together, I mean who needs humans when you can just have robots run the world… Dumbass!

  • Steve Gongos

    Amazing arrogance

    • why_not_now

      By all!

  • Claudia Cook

    Thank you KQED for keeping us posted. None of the other news outlets including the SF and Oakland papers are on top of this the way you are.

  • guest

    As I have said before…FIRE ALL OF THEM. WE need driverless trains. WE already buy our tickets without any help. Go try getting another job with your GED.

    • why_not_now


      Fast-Food Workers Are Costing the U.S. $7 Billion a Year in Public Aid

      BART is helping us all from the above!

    • nazcalito

      Driverless trains would work just fine, so long as they don’t carry passengers. With passengers though, you would have robot doors closing on people and dragging them down the tracks. Or, you’d have a bunch of stopped trains when the safety mechanism kicked in the first time someone got stuck in a robot door. You must be one of these people who don’t take BART.

      • HelplessSEAL

        Oh, so this message is not automated?
        “The doors in this car are obstructed, please stand clear of the doors”
        You’re telling me a “robot” doesn’t determine when the doors are being blocked?

        I take BART every weekday to work, so I’ll vouch for guest’s idea.

      • Shadowfox1198

        And so you replace hundreds of $150k a year workers for 10 $150k workers who work in a monitoring centre to watch the automated trains. Pass that money saved back to the riders or spend it on upgrading the trains.

      • Dennis

        Yep, just like the multitudes of people dragged to their death by elevator doors. Are you sure you aren’t an idiot? There are completely automated train systems all over the world. For the cost of a few weeks of train operator wages, BART could upgrade its system to fully automated, and the savings would be forever after.

      • Her

        ^^No. Just another idiotic sheep walking through life asleep.

    • Her

      Why is it always other dumb working sheeple that side with the powers that be. Fing Crabs… They have nothing and they don’t want others to have anything. I guess that is why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

      • tee inusa

        So, what you are saying is that union sucks the blood from working class who has nothing, but that is OK because they are dumb and because that will stop the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer? Did you go to school? I hope you are not the one who operates the train. Because if you are, I am too afraid to ride on BART.

        • I hope you didn’t spend a lot on YOUR “education” tee- Her was talking about people like you who have to validate their existance by siding with management.

    • Maybe when you pay off your student loan you can afford a Prius, scab.

  • Pipco

    Skilled trade workers deserve a raise. It is not cheap to live here. The federal mediator gets over $390k just to negotiate this settlement, I bet his pension will be gold plated. Let’s all get on the same track and be fair to everyone.

    • Playkins

      I wouldn’t know. If we tried to strike where I work we’d all get fired.

    • Dan Brekke

      The federal mediator, George Cohen, is listed as earning $165,000. See:

    • Meester Gumby

      BART management’s lead negotiator, Thomas Hock, is making $399,000. Why does no one find that obscene?

  • Nut Bunnie

    The Union workers should be counting their blessings their pay isn’t based on median market rates. Bart workers would be in the 40 – 50k pay scale at most.

    To put in perspective, their pay is on par with high risk EMS jobs. It’s a total bloody joke.

    • GLIDE

      WOW really so lets lower the bar and have illegal’s running the BART trains,
      we will see how you like that service LOL, oh do any of you know what BART CEO’s pay was last 1/4???

  • Fed Up

    I agree…FIRE THEM ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Her

      Be careful how you wish things on others. How about you wish this on you and your entire family. Just saying things have a way of coming back around.

      • Glide

        KARMA is a Sure way to get Humbled

  • commuter

    More than 23,000 people have visited Steve Glazer’s website and thousands have signed his petition to outlaw strikes by transit unions. A Southern California Senator has now introduced a bill to ban transit strikes. If New York and Massachusetts can do it so can California, regardless of the fact the the unions make large contributions to legislators. Forget the donations its the voters that put them there and can remove them.

    • GLIDE

      HELLO this is AMERICA not Cuba we have a right to strike here….

    • tee inusa

      I just visited the site and signed my petition 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  • Just like everyone else

    These people make much more than their education should allow. Getting a 3% raise in this economy is a godsend. Many companies are hurting their employees health insurance because of Obamacare and these folks act as if they are special and shouldn’t be effected. They should all be fired as a result of this and give their jobs to people that would be greateful to even have a job

  • Aghast

    I am in a union and I don’t agree with everything it stands for, but I do believe in the process. For those of you who don’t have a say in your workplace, get unionized and stop trolling those who are!

  • Teena R

    what is wrong with these people who hired Thomas Hock? WHat a joke. Because of him we are yet again forced to be held hostage.

  • Playkins

    Sorry, I’m all for fairness of wages but this is critical infrastructure we’re talking about. Critical infrastructure should not be able to strike. Imagine if cops or firefighters could strike when they have a temper tantrum.

    • Glide

      If you could only see how much tax dollars goes to Fire and Police,
      why would there Unions strike they everything they ask for..

  • Sharon Greene

    Fire all of the ungrateful wretches and replace them. Do it now.

    • nazcalito

      Gee Sharon, that would mean BART would be shut down for weeks and weeks while they train new drivers. I guess you don’t take BART to work.

  • Angry Ex State Worker

    So now the unions don’t like the fact that Management can tell them what to do? I’m pretty sure management is supposed to dictate how you do your job…it’s how it happens nearly everywhere else in the job market. SEIU and ATU here in the bay area think a little too highly of themselves. Get back to work and do your job…you’re paid more than enough for what little amount of “work” you actually do. It would be nice if a a $76k+/year “Train Operator” could actually DRIVE a train while in manual mode…pretty obvious they are being overpaid in every way possible. Please keep in mind, I used to be an AFSCME union member, in good standing, for 8 years while working in the K-12 system. We weren’t allowed to strike, yet we got furloughed 3 weeks a year on top of three 5% reductions in pay (over 6 years time) and had to pay 4.5% towards my pension and $350 out of pocket per month for my wife’s health insurance. Not to mention COLA was not given to us for 4 of those years.

    BART unions have it WAY too easy at the moment. Write your state congressional members and demand them to draft a bill that makes striking a non-issue for transportation infrastructure. School systems and Police services can’t do it…but a crucial lifeline (transportation) can? Seems just wrong in multiple ways.

  • Name

    Fire the lot of them and hire reasonable people. Take a lesson from President Reagan.

  • Nonie

    Can I, a commuter, legally unionize with other commuter’s to stop this BS and to sue BART and the union for causing this stress and inconvenience?

    • Her

      Um… hmm let me think about that………………………………..No! Dumbass. What a bunch of idiots.

      • Nonie

        Very reason I don’t comment, free speech & FO.

  • skysky

    to BART workers — please go ahead and strike and get it over with and then all of us who’ve lost our jobs because we were unable to get to work will be able to take your jobs at the CURRENT pay and be more than happy to have the pensions and benefits that aren’t good enough for you.
    What you get now is plenty good enough for me and most of the other people I commute with.

    • Her

      And that’s why you will never have anything more. You are not worthy and you know it. You sound like a broke beggar. Bhahahahhahahah

  • skysky

    To BART management – DO NOT GIVE IN!!!
    I will slog my way to work any way that it takes until you can break this blasted union and get real employees in to take their place. I am so sick and tired of being held hostage on a daily basis, having to wake up at 4 am worried about whether or not BART is running. Have the blasted strike, fire them all, and then hire the rest of us at the current wage and benefit package. You’ll be swamped with job applicants, many that are more qualified than the current workers.

  • Nonie

    Multiple Counties are being forced to SHUT DOWN, no Bart, no car, live in boon docks, limited public transportation and I depend on Bart, any solutions, ANYONE????????

  • JoShmo

    Can someone please explain what these “work rules” are?
    Every article I’ve read mentions them, but does not begin to explain what they entail.

    • McT

      The work rules (allegedly) include the ability to veto technological practices (mentioned above), as well as the current policy that allows employees to come in sick and then receive OT pay for days worked later in that week.

  • Gfunk

    Unions have run their course this is not acceptable

  • Danielle Patrice

    BART unions owe it their riders to explain exactly why the current proposal is inadequate. They got their money after holding us hostage all week. What else is worth torturing hundreds of thousands of people? We all deserve a reasonably happy work environment, but they need to explain to us why the cost is our public transportation and bay area economy. Even the GOP had a clear list of demands and they explained that the shutdown was necessary because of empty fear mongering, but they still gave us reasons! I can’t say exactly what the BART workers deserve, but me, a tax-paying, born & raised Bay Area citizen, I don’t deserve this stress and uncertainty and burden on my daily life.

    Does anyone know? Can us citizens sue the Unions for the damage to our economy and all the pain and suffering they’ve caused

  • ThreatMeister

    Oooh…another threat. Just shut up and strike already. It would be awesome to not have to follow this fiasco anymore.

  • tiredOfUnions

    Fire them all and hire replacement workers. People will be lining up to take their jobs and be happy about it.

    Unions, this time you over did it and I think you should be ashamed.

  • Mike McKallicuffy

    I’m gonna start spitting on BART workers.
    don’t even care anymore.

  • DrDuran

    Grace is lying through her teeth, pay stubs are electronic, BART lost an arbitration about that more than 4 years ago and still haven’t gone back to paper stubs in violation of the ruling.

  • John Public

    The moronic parade of hatred for Workers and Unions is laughable. Did you all bother to read the article written by the corporate lackey Rosenberg. All issues were resolved until at the last minute Management decided to add on an assault on Worker’s Rights. No side of the workers explained here. Just more anecdotal Managerial blabber. May I suggest Mr. Rosenberg seeks a job at FOX NEWS next.

  • KAH

    Hmm. Thomas Hock leaves for two days, and things start to improve. As many news outlets have reported, there was an “air of optimism” surrounding these marathon talks. Within a few hours of his return, everything melts down and the district returns to its previous hard-line stance. Coincidence?

  • B

    It is incomprehensible and unconscionable that BART workers would actually prevent thousands of people from getting to work because they want paper pay stubs personally delivered to them by management. This is just plain petty. Plenty of people won’t be getting paid at all if they can’t get to work. I belong to a union too, we’ve had a pay cut, and we haven’t even threatened to strike. The BART union is giving all unions a bad name. BART workers should be embarrassed and ashamed.

    • why_not_now

      Here is what is incomprehensible:

      Fast-Food Workers Are Costing the U.S. $7 Billion a Year in Public Aid

      You are fighting for the rich to get richer as opposed to bringing us all up to BART standards.


    • Her

      That is why you will continue to be cut. No fight = No rights. You behave like a dumb worker bee that will settle for mistreatment then you will continuously be treated as one. Wow the people on this site and beneath my IQ level. I must hurry away from here. bunch of whining babies bye-bye

  • dfineguy

    These people don’t want to work. Period. If they walk out tonight, bring in the National Guard to protect the system and start hiring new non-union employees tomorrow. Put and end to this crap.

    • why_not_now

      Facts please!

      • f simanjuntak

        ???? Replace all of them. Simple.

    • why_not_now

      Coward, no facts.

  • fijls

    wow bart trains are on time 95% of the time! they should definitely get a raise for doing the job that they were hired to do!

  • davcamp

    Love this take on it:

    BART, you’re here because the public paid for it. We’re in a bad economy. Now you are going to make those who technically pay your salary to suffer so you can make more money when a lot of us don’t even have jobs?

  • mo, a cute girl!

    I can’t BELIEVE after this week of daily updates to see if they’re striking it comes down to thissss…. work rules are now contentious? The unions should be ASHAMED of striking after this week. Bart workers should be terminated for going on strike. I have applied & will continue to apply. I think Bart management is in the right. I’m not necessarily pro-management, but in this instance, I am. Senator Feinstein even stated she believed the proposal was reasonable. I’m HELLA pissed.

  • someone

    Fire all over-paid Bart union members !!!
    We do not need Union.

  • This has to stop

    When reporters asked for an example of the work rules at stake, Crunican mentioned “beneficial past practices,” a provision that she said gives workers a veto over new technology the district wants to introduce. “One example is pay stubs,” she said. “We all receive electronically our pay stubs online, but because back in history everyone received their pay stub in an envelope, we now use our foreworkers’ time to hand-deliver a pay stub to each individual worker. They waste their time doing something that could be done with automation. There are a number of things like that that go on at BART and it is time for management to be able to manage.”

    OMG – who get paper pay stubs and who has a choice?

  • nadia

    They should have found replacement employees to keep the trains going long time ago!; apparently, us commuters are not important enough… Bart employees are a bunch of greedy and selfish people, and they know it!

  • Mel

    They get what they want, but hate the new rules? WTF… tell us what the problem is, opps… prob. stupid & don’t want us, riders, angrier…. You owe us an explation… all the sleepless nights worrying how we are going to get to work, holding us hostage. If we can’t get to work we don’t get paid. Some of us can’t afford to drive to work, or the add communte … what about our families? Nothing but greedy bastards the lot of them especially A. Bryant… fire her. Any sympathy we had left for the unions went out the door once they failed to get it together…

  • Jintdabay

    Wow, i’m shocked and deeply saddened with all of this union bashing. Interesting how people here love to talk about the FEW BART employees making a living. It is such a crime to make a living in the Bay Area…

  • Shadowfox1198

    The sad thing is that I’m sure there are quite a few BART employees who would’ve taken that 3% raise. It’s unions like this that make me believe they are not good for this country anymore.

    • why_not_now

      Prove it!

  • Dennis

    One of the few intelligent things Reagan did was to fire all the air traffic controllers and start over again. BART should do the same — there are lots of people out there looking for a reliable job and willing to do it for a lot less than BART workers get now. Maybe fares could go down — wouldn’t that be a hoot!
    For that matter, a little work on the train operating system could do away with drivers altogether. Modern train systems all over the world are completely automated, not requiring a human whose only job is to close the doors and keep his foot on a dead-man’s treadle.

    • why_not_now

      Not to mention, father of the national debt!

  • Nuke Unions

    The SEIU is a derelict, communist/totalitarian organization. RocksHead SkankChez needs to be locked up. The only useful SEIU member is a dead one; at least they turn into fertilizer eventually…

  • Glide

    Time to get in shape and ride your bicycles,skate boards,go-peds,walk, jog, car pool
    in your JAP cars etc. Corp. Greed………

  • Tired of greed

    Our government officials and our unions should all be replaced with rational, reasonable people without personal agendas. I say replace all of these workers with the thousands and thousands of unemployed individuals. Many who are highly educated and get even begin to imagine having a job that pays as well as these BART positions do. They would happily pay into pension plans, contribute to insurances etc like the rest of the corporate world does. There are hundreds of thousands of people counting on public transportation to get to and keep their jobs, most of which don’t pay nearly as well as the BART. Enough of the grandstanding and game playing.

  • Riders

    I want to congratulate Rosie (SEIU) negotiator. Her comment on TV this morning is dead on “they did all they knew how to do”. PR, sympathy, other side is the enemy. Well done. I am not in favor of management, but management are suppose to represent the public (remember BART police and outcry by public, pressure was on management and zero response by unions). Can we as riders continue to pay? When was the last time a BART worker even approach you to say good morning. Workers need protection and better services (nicer break room), how about welfare of riders? Time to prevent Bay Area transit workers from striking. Either that or get ride of public transit and free up roads for private transportation companies. We give up!

  • CSM

    Government shutdown, Bart shutdown… this has been an interesting year. What ever happened to the majority raising up and making a stand? I’m not in favor of a riot by any means, but can’t we do something? Anything?

    • why_not_now


  • snow white

    Before blaming the Unions to which I have never been associated a couples facts need to be clarified .
    Union are in disagreement because management refuse to have an outside party negotiate their labor dispute and practice , kind like a 90 year old with poor eye sight refusing a limited driving privillege , it is all about ego’s and just like congress take the entire population and it’s economy hostage to prove a point they cannot win.
    they have agreed on paid and compensation .
    let’s look at who is negotiating , Veolia a French mass trannsport co accused none the less and has apologize for it of , yes , Human right violation . do we need to d=say more , yes the High paid executive on our tax dollars is also a contractor for Bart/AC transit and went on several days Disneyland trip in the middle of the negotiatiion , so is it Disneyland or Bart .
    As I said it is all about ego and power trip , Bart is a public agency and all of their labor negotiation should be handled by an outside agency when it come to labor rules , enforcement and discipline , Indeed Bart Management are just like congress “sorry for the long post”

    • Bob

      “Bart is a public agency and all of their labor negotiation should be handled by an outside agency when it come to labor rules”

      It seems like Bart wanted an outside agency to review all of the negotiation. The unions rejected this and only wanted the portion that they thought they could win go to arbitration.

  • woods Lee
  • commuter

    fire them all,they hold the public hostage, this is called “criminal”

  • Pat

    Bay Area residents are tired of this union, their whining and the havoc they cause to hard working commuters, the economy and environment. Management offered a market competitive compensation package. Management’s request to change archaic work rules which are no longer competitive was completely reasonable. The union striking over the request to change work rules shows their attitude of entitlement and how out of touch they are with human resource practices.
    I am willing to ride this out for as long as it takes to BREAK THIS UNION.

    • why_not_now

      Interesting article how wages for the middle class are flat!

      n Tuesday, however, the Census Bureau reminded me how for most Americans
      1988 still looks a lot like yesterday: last year, the typical household
      made $51,017, roughly the same as the typical household made a quarter
      of a century ago.

      Wake up! Really.

  • sf commuter

    Interesting visualization on Bart salaries and OT pay:

    Data is from this public employee database:

  • Heiligenstein

    These greedy workers should be fired. Get rid of this greedx Union, too. a BART janitors make more than I do (college grad and am a medical center office worker), and they still upset and want more? I shouldn’t have spent money on college and should have applied for this job. So much money for such a job that even kids from junior high school can do.

    • dead_dragon

      Problem is if you don’t know somebody in the system, you won’t even be considered. Ever heard of someone quit their job from BART because the pay was too low? Right. Never happens.

      • why_not_now

        How many people from TARP have been placed in jail.

        Yes a few, they still got $750 BILLION!

        • dead_dragon

          Get lost with your stupid argument. If you don’t like it, quit your damn job – there’re thousands willing to take it. Don’t make the public pay for your incompetence and greed.

        • dead_dragon

          Have you asked yourself – have you been doing a good job to justify your demand? Last week I had to wait in long lines and go down the stairways multiple times because the escalators are always broken. The BART exits always reek of urine. You have only one job and you can’t do it right.

    • why_not_now

      Pennies on the dollar compared to TARP which benefited billionaires and not Main St.


  • Strike Strike Strike!!!!

    Strike Strike Strike!!! Go SEIU and ATU!! Bart is a corrupt system with plenty of money and means to come to an agreement. You will never bust the union BART!! NEVER!! Nobody likes to rock the boat or go against the grain and truly be an activist for a cause but that is necessary these days to take a stand for what hard working people deserve. If we lay down well be crapped on the rest of our lives. Most of you taggers here don’t now ANYTHING about what Bart workers have to deal with on their jobs all you know is what is printed in the paper or internet which by the way if paid for by CORRUPTS MILLIONARES!! HELLO!! Bart mechanics have died on the job due to safety issues, station agents get harassed and assaulted all the time but nobody doesn’t wants to focus on any of that. Oh yeah and btw people station agents are the FIRST RESPONDERS when some poor soul decides to take there life and jump in front of a train. They have to deal with the carnage which results in trauma and PTSD they have to deal with and then be expected to work the next day. Tell me how you would respond to something like that? Unions are what makes America great. Unions give people the ability to earn a decent wage, have good benefits, pensions, and retirement. It’s sad to think that due to some inconveniences in our daily routines that people wants to ban strikes and ban unions. That is truly sad and wimped out. We should be able to get a piece of the American pie too. How come nobody makes a fuss when people like the Koch Brothers make the billions they do or any filthy rich millionaire and how they get there money nobody gives a shit about that but a hard working blue collar person who requests some basics to keep up with the ever growing inflation of this country and that’s a crime? All you anti union people out there apparently have been warped into thinking you don’t DESERVE more. We should just keep our crappy jobs with shitty pay and crappy benefits and that’s ok cause we don’t want to seem greedy or stir the pot. This isn’t about greed folks its about fighting for what’s right for all union workers. In solidarity…………………..

  • Peace On Earth

    New York has a law preventing public transits to go on strike. The bay area should have such a law to protect us commuters.

    • why_not_now

      So does SF with MUNI. They can not strike, it is in the city charter.

  • SK

    Bart worker unions are holding hostage people. This is an essential service and strike should not be allowed. Now we (passengers) should strike against strike and boycott Bart for few days and demand for less fares and better services.

    • why_not_now

      Kinda like Tea Party Republicans.

      Unlike them, BART workers are not millionaires.

  • Looking for a job within Bart

    Unemployed – looking for a job within Bart but no unions please. my qualification: i can do 5 union workers’ jobs and it’s only one person’s pay.

  • Shud-B-served

    it’s HORRIBLE. BART and its unions should be dismantled ASAP!!

  • Hank

    The workers need to get with the new world. Their resistance to work rule changes reminds me of when I was a house painter. When I worked union jobs I couldn’t use a roller or a wall brush over 6″ wide. Union work rules are designed to make jobs take longer than they need to. I for one hope Bart management does not back down. It pisses me off that my fares are paying for wistful work rules.

  • tee inusa

    And, who ends up paying for their pay increase? Us? NO…, kidding, right?

  • why_not_now

    I for one can not wait to be brought down to walmart and fast food standards.

    You know we are paying them, right?

    Meanwhile after TARP wall street gets millions in bonuses.

    They have won, we are their serfs!

  • JM

    A BART train operated by a senior manager apparently hit and killed two employees this afternoon who were on the trackway on what is supposed to be safe operating procedures.

  • JM

    I really cant stand reading these comments but I do want to throw a few facts out:

    Some BART employees pay the full 8% employee contribution.
    All BART employees hired after January 2013 will pay the full amount. BART has a lot of seniority so this will increase with time.

    Employees and Employers do not pay into CALPERS for overtime because it does not calculate into retirement. So employers like BART use overtime to keep costs down.

    Lastly for the rail industry no one at BART is really overpaid for the cost of living here. Anyone can go work for a private railroad elsewhere in the country and make 50-60k starting without overtime and with fully paid benefits and a government pension.


    Caltrain workers work for a private company, they are have a 5 year contract with 3% raises through 2016, they never work alone ( takes a minimum of two to operate a train ) plus they make more than BART workers hourly. They also have a federal government pension.

    Caltrain workers do not have the right to strike unless the government allows it to happen….when they are prevented from striking a third party arbitrates the contract which is binding. This keeps both sides in check.

    • DrDuran

      the 8% CALPers pension contributions will stop this month for new hires, the state assembly/senate passed a bill to repeal that for transit workers and the new tentative contract doesn’t include it.

  • ajay dhillon

    Fire all these rude,lazy,overpaid ,uneducated BART employees. A handful of employees have no right to hold the whole BAY AREA hostage. Unions Stink.

  • Ordinary citizen

    Bart has become such a sad story…
    Just look at other country like Hong Kong’s MTR or Taiwan’s subway system, we should be ashame of where we are…
    These foreign countries’ trains are running so much more efficient.
    They have 3 times more passengers and their trains are so clean!
    New substations and routes are being built left and right and finished in a year’s time!
    It’s such a joke when Bart employees say they pride themselves of doing such a good job when so many of them are scamming the public to put an extra dollar into their pocket…
    There’s just no shame…



Dan Brekke

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

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

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

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