A train pulls into Oakland's MacArthur station. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
A train pulls into Oakland’s MacArthur station. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Tuesday BART Update: Trains Running, But Commute’s Not Quite up to Speed

Update, 11:20 p.m. — More information on the morning commute: Even though BART says trains will begin running at 4 a.m., 511.org is saying that BART charter bus service will still be running in the morning to take up slack as rail service gets back to normal. San Francisco Bay Ferry also will continue running extra boats all day tomorrow for commuters from Oakland, Alameda, and Vallejo. If in doubt, our advice is to check 511.org (or our guide, to the right of this post) for information on commute alternatives tomorrow.

Update, 10:40 p.m. — Trains to run Tuesday morning: While BART officials and others (including this blog) had said BART service would resume Tuesday afternoon, the transit agency has announced that trains will begin running at 4 a.m. BART adds, though, that early-morning service may be limited.

Update, 10:30 p.m. Monday: BART and its unions have announced a tentative settlement in their contract dispute, an agreement that should have trains running again by early Tuesday morning.

John Arantes, president of the BART chapter of SEIU Local 1021, broke the news of the settlement to a crowd of reporters waiting outside the Oakland headquarters of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. He apologized to Bay Area residents for the hardship they’ve endured during the strike and declared the settlement a victory for the unions’ insistence on maintaining safety provisions in their contracts.

“We were able to stand up for workers’ rights, safety — and the riders’ safety,” Arantes sadi.

BART General Manager Grace Crunican signaled that the agency had retreated somewhat from its final offer last week, which included a demand for changes in the agency’s work rules as well as a 12 percent pay increase and new pension and medical benefits payments.

“I will simply say that this offer is more than we wanted to pay,” Crunican said. “But it is also a new path in terms of our partnership with workers and helps us deliver the BART service of the future. We compromised to get to this place, as did our union members.”

BART and union representatives were joined by several elected officials — Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Assemblymember Bill Quirk and others. Newsom called on BART and the unions to make sure “this is the last time this happens. I think everyone’s fed up, and no one wants to see this ever happen again.”

Antonette Bryant, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, reminded the gathering of the weekend tragedy in which a BART train with a trainee at the controls struck and killed two workers along the system’s right-of-way near Walnut Creek. “I don’t want it to be forgotten that two lives were lost” during the strike, she said. “I want those families to be remembered, and I want them to know we continue to extend our heartfelt condolences.”

9:57 p.m. Monday: An announcement is about to happen. Officials are gathering and about to address the media. Now there’s a debate about whether the announcement should be inside or outside the building. The reporters win — it will be outside, in front of the assembled mics and cameras.

Update, 9:20 p.m.: While we wait into the night once again for word on BART’s status, a reminder: It will take BART awhile to get trains up and running if the strike is settled tonight. During the July strike, officials announced around 11 p.m. that the strike was being suspended to allow talks to continue for the next 30 days. But BART wasn’t officially open until 3 p.m. the next afternoon, 16 hours after the news broke. With the caveat that I’m not running the trains myself, it’s likely the earliest the trains would be running again would be Tuesday afternoon — again, if the walkout is resolved tonight.

Update, 8:55 p.m. Monday: If you want to follow along live, ABC7’s live video is the way to go. One caveat: Having this on flashes back to last week, when we had night after night of waiting followed by late-night announcements of “we’re still talking, no strike tomorrow.” The “no strike” part sure sounds pretty good about now.

Also, here’s what Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has to say about what to expect tonight:

Update, 8:45 p.m. Monday: If you’ve been away from the news for awhile, as I have — I’ve been “commuting” for the last four and a half hours — here’s what you’ve missed: Lots of elected officials have shown up at Caltrans District 4 Headquarters Metropolitan Transportation Commission headquarters in Oakland as BART and its two biggest unions resumed contract negotiations with federal mediators today. The list includes Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and state Assemblymember Nancy Skinner of Berkeley. Reporter Isabel Angell, transportation correspondent extraordinaire for KQED, KALW and WNYC’s Transportation Nation, says senior officials from SEIU Local 1021 have trooped into the building in the last 15 minutes.

I can also tell you that Gov. Jerry Brown’s in the area — I saw him doing an interview down at the Clay Street ferry landing in Oakland around 5:30 p.m. Not that he’s necessarily directly involved in any of this.

The expectation, in any case: We’re close to an announcement about the resolution of the strike.

Update, 6 p.m., Monday: KQED’s Isabel Angell spoke with BART spokesman Jim Allison about the negotiations that are currently underway: “There are communications … between the district, the mediator and the unions.”

Allison specifically mentioned the work rules, which have been the sticking point in the talks. “It’s what is primarily known as ‘beneficial past practices’ that the district is seeking to change. These are practices that are informal, they’re agreed upon by the manager at the scene and the union member. … We would like more flexibility there — that gif there are things that are inefficient or arcane, that we’re able make sure that we operate more efficiently. The goal here is not to … erode the unions’ position in any way, the goal is to pay for the wage increases.”

Allison gave an example of a beneficial past practice: “System service workers who do the janitorial work at our stations, they cannot clean above where they can reach, standing on the ground. They cannot use ladders… because of a beneficial past practice. So BART has to hire outside contractors to clean above the reach of our system service workers.”

Update, 4:35 p.m., Monday: KTVU’s Jana Katsuyama just tweeted that the talks are progressing — “only 2 items unresolved” vs. the 5-6 on Friday.

The Mercury News’ Mike Rosenberg reminds us that even if BART and the unions reach agreement, it’ll take time to get the trains ready to roll:


Update, 3:13 p.m. Monday: Mike Rosenberg of the San Jose Mercury News reports, “An on-again-off-again gag order is back on, as both sides have declined to discuss any details from the table. The remaining issues are salary increases and various work rules for the system’s 2,300 union workers…The unions said they had released a new proposal on Sunday night but details of the offer have been kept under wraps.”

Update, 2:30 p.m. Monday: The Associated Press is reporting that BART and its unions are resuming talks this afternoon, reportedly with an aim of getting trains running for the Tuesday morning commute. Here’s part of the report from AP’s Lisa Leff:

OAKLAND — The San Francisco Bay Area’s main commuter train agency and its unions plan to return to the bargaining table Monday, as a crippling transit strike continues.

Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesman Rick Rice said BART and the unions will resume negotiations sometime in the afternoon and BART hopes to reach an agreement by 6 p.m. so trains can begin running Tuesday.

Talks had broken down Thursday, and the unions went on strike the following day.

Other reports also suggested the two sides would return to bargaining today. Here’s Michael Cabanatuan in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Officials for BART and its striking unions are reportedly working with a federal mediator Monday to work out a settlement to the four-day-old strike.

Because of the sensitive nature of crafting a deal both sides can live with, few details are available and no one is commenting publicly. Union and management sources say that they were in contact with a federal mediator over the weekend to discuss a possible end to the strike but that no face-to-face meetings had taken place.

A series of small meetings was being arranged Monday afternoon.

On Sunday evening, the unions released a proposal that offered to end the dispute by modifying controversial contract language that BART contends has prevented technological advances and enshrined inefficiencies. The union offer proposed to allow for work rule changes regarding technology but retain rules on safety.

On the same page, Doug Sovern of KCBS:

Earlier updates:

BART strike status as of 11 a.m. Monday: Walkout is in its fourth day.
Talks: No new negotiations planned. The BART board canceled an emergency session planned for 3 p.m.
The commute: Lots of traffic out there and long lines for all alternate transit.
The casual commute: One exception to the misery: the 6:15 a.m. casual carpool from North Berkeley just sailed into the city.

Update, 10 p.m. Sunday: BART’s two biggest unions say they’ve sent the agency’s management a new proposal aimed at ending the the three-day-old strike. The offer was announced in a press release that contained no detail of the offer, but said:

SEIU Local 1021 and ATU Local 1555, the two unions representing the majority of BART workers, this evening delivered yet another offer to BART management aimed at ending the strike and getting the parties back into mediation to finish bargaining a contract.

The new counterproposal allows for the continued use of new technology in the workplace but protects workers from changes in work rules that would lead to unsafe conditions.

At the same time, BART workers say, they will insist on retaining work rules to protect their members from workplace accidents, like the one that occurred yesterday, and that safeguard the riding public during normal revenue hours.

If you’ve been following the story, you know that contract talks under the auspices of federal mediators broke down last Thursday when the unions rejected BART’s demand for sweeping changes in work rules. The principal issue is in the area of “beneficial practices,” a contract provision that bars management from unilaterally changing practices that have been in place without consulting the unions. BART says that’s prevented it from implementing new technology in some instances — a contention the unions challenge.

Tonight’s union message says Saturday’s accident in which a BART train struck and killed two workers illustrates the importance of the work rules:

“The job of a BART worker can be very dangerous. That’s why we receive a lot of training and it’s why there are a lot of work rules,” said Saul Almanza, who trains workers on wayside safety procedures and protocols. “Work rules protect our members from the type of accidents that happened yesterday.”

“Workers should have a say in developing the rules and procedures that keep them safe,” said John Arantes, president of the SEIU 1021 BART Chapter. “But management has proposed a system by which they could change the rules unilaterally and that’s reckless, radical and wrong.”

We haven’t seen any sign that BART has responded to the latest union message. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Cabanatuan reports that SEIU Local 1021 officials say they’ve been in contact with federal mediators in hopes of getting talks restarted.

Update, 6 p.m. Sunday: No indication yet that the two sides are getting back together to talk, so it’s likely at this point that the work stoppage will continue into a fourth day Monday. BART’s board has scheduled a special closed session for 3 p.m. Monday, presumably to discuss the strike.

Update, 2:10 p.m. Saturday: Antonette Bryant, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, says she’ll submit BART’s final contract offer to a membership vote. But at a rally at BART’s Pittsburg/Bay Point station today, Bryant also predicted that the 900 BART employees in the local will reject the contract with “a resounding no.” The proposal includes a 12 percent pay increase over four years, new pension contributions and increased medical benefit payments and sweeping changes in work rules.

That dispute over work rules, including issues like scheduling, overtime policies and protection for workers who complain about management conduct, scuttled negotiations on Thursday. ATU 1555 and the BART chapter of SEIU Local 1021 both want the work-rules dispute submitted to an outside arbitrator. BART has rejected that suggestion, saying it would only consider submitting the entire agreement to arbitration.

BART management has urged the unions to put its proposal to a vote. Agency officials have also said the offer is retroactive to July 5 — but only if both unions approve it within two weeks (BART General Manager Grace Crunican announced the two-week limit last Sunday, then repeated it when talks broke down on Thursday). Membership of both unions would need to approve the offer to end the dispute.

The ATU’s Bryant said she didn’t know yet when her members will vote on the proposal. As of early Saturday afternoon, there are no new talks planned in the dispute.

Also of note today: A new message from BART’s Crunican about what’s at stake in the strike. She emphasizes again the work rule changes — a subject that neither side said anything about publicly until the last few days — and says the contract battle “is about the future”:

The BART Board has shown great leadership over the last two years defining the investments necessary for an aging system by agreeing to an essential package of upgrades. A new fleet of train cars is under design with active public participation. A new train control system will allow us to run more trains to meet escalating rush hour demands. We need to expand our maintenance facilities to accommodate a new fleet of cars, and new service to San Jose, the Oakland Airport and eastern Contra Costa County. Our stations need upgrades for technology, energy efficiency and safety.

Update: 6:50 p.m. Friday BART management has rejected the unions’ proposal to end the strike tonight at 10 p.m. Spokesman Jim Allison said management will consider arbitration, but “only arbitration of the entire package” and not just of the outstanding work rules. The unions earlier this evening asked that the work rules be submitted to arbitration. (See below.)

Friday PM commute report: On Friday afternoon, traffic maps show jammed roads in San Francisco that lead to eastbound lanes of the Bay Bridge. Cars were backed up for at least 10 blocks along downtown streets; motorists waiting to cross the bridge reported waiting up to 45 minutes. Lines for the charter buses were long. On social media, people complained of commutes that were one or two more hours than usual. The San Francisco Bay Ferry service was also busy.

Note to carpoolers: Dedicated carpool lanes remained relatively clear.

Randy Rentschler, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said many commuters sought alternative routes, leading to multiple congested corridors such as highways 880, 24 and 37.

Between 5 and 10 a.m. this morning, Bay Area traffic delays increased around 30 percent above normal, according to Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus. He said that the biggest increase was on Highway 80 in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The carpool lane leading up to the Bay Bridge saw around 50 to 100 percent more traffic than a typical Friday, Haus said. Highways 580 and 880 saw delays around twice as high as normal around 7 a.m.

Update: 5:15 p.m. Friday Leaders of Service Employees International  Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 have sent a letter to BART General Manager Grace Crunican and the BART board of directors proposing a “Rider First Plan” that could end the strike as early as 10 p.m. tonight. The unions underscore their agreement with management on health care, pensions and wages. On the workplace rules that have proved to be the sticking point, the letter says “we would submit to and accept the results of a final and binding interest arbitration.”  Here is the letter:

Letter to BART management from SEIU1021 and ATU1555


Mercury News reporter Mike Rosenberg, however, noted that the plan offered by the unions is nothing new:


Update: 4:30 p.m. Friday. What happened today: Picketing, and a rally and briefing, as both BART management and the striking union workers sought to explain and clarify their positions.

More  than 100 workers and supporters gathered at noon at Lake Merritt BART station in Oakland for a rally to protest what they say are unfair labor practices by management.

The BART workers wore Service Employees International  Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 T-shirts. ATU Local 1555 representative and BART train operator Chris Finn spoke at the rally, saying the unions did all they could to avoid a  strike.

But at the end of negotiations, he said, BART management “brought  up a proposal … to effectively kill unions’ rights to bargain.” Finn also said, “They are intent on causing a strike. They are hoping  the public will not support it.”

Also today at BART headquarters in Oakland, General Manager Grace Crunican said that management wants to change work rules for its employees in order to save money and make the transit system operate more efficiently. The unions allege that management derailed contract talks by asking for the work rule changes this week.

But BART officials countered that management has been asking for work rule changes since contract negotiations began in April. The management officials, who didn’t want to be identified, said the changes they are seeking would save tens of  millions of dollars a year and help pay for the wage increases BART is offering employees. The savings would also help pay for future improvements in the transit system.

Crunican refuted statements made by union leadership about how negotiations broke down and lead to the strike. She said management agreed to an economic package tied to work rule reforms, and that the unions “grabbed the salary offer, but balked at the work rule changes.” Union leaders, she said, went on to announce a strike Thursday afternoon and  “falsely announced an agreement on salary.”

Crunican said BART management would consider having arbitration on an overall salary, health care, pension and work rules package. When announcing strike plans Thursday, SEIU Local 1021 chief negotiator Josie Mooney said the unions offered to go to arbitration over proposed work rule changes, but management refused.

(With contributions from Bay City News.)

Early this morning, KQED’s Scott Shafer asked Nancy Pelosi about her views of the BART strike: “I hope that they can come back to the table to have a fair resolution of this, that is good for the workers and good for management, and is about safety and about respect for the workers, as well,” Pelosi said. See the interview below:

BART’s current status, 11:30 a.m. Friday Striking BART workers are picketing at stations throughout the transit system after marathon contract talks broke down over how to resolve a dispute over work rules. No new talks have been announced.

The commute: Alternate bus and ferry service has been crowded. Some boat passengers at Oakland’s Jack London Square have reported waiting over an hour to get aboard. Traffic has been seriously impacted on all the East Bay approaches to the Bay Bridge.

The backstory (with thanks to The California Report’s Rachael Myrow, who wrote it): BART workers are on strike again for the second time in four months. Despite a reported deal on wages, pensions and benefits, the talks foundered over changes to work rules proposed by management. Union negotiators claim these requests were intended to sink the talks at the last minute.

Pete Castelli is executive director of SEIU Local 1021, which represents more than 1,400 members. He described management’s insistence on extensive changes in work rules as “a poison pill. Trade your paycheck for your rights. That’s where they left us and that’s when it fell apart.”

What work rule changes are they talking about? Union reps say the sticking points are scheduling flexibility and protections for whistle-blowers reporting favoritism, sexual harassment and so on. What does management say? Here’s BART Board President Tom Radulovich: “I believe we’ve offered our unions the best wage and benefit package in the country. But unfortunately we’re saddled with one of the worst sets of work rules in the country, which create a terrific amount of inefficiency. We need to correct that.”

  • fitzwilliam777

    Rachel could have done a better job explaining things – There is more to the work rule changes than what you’ve reported. If I only read this article, I would tend to think it’s Bart’s Management that is crossing the line. Management wants to do away with the rule that allows Bart employees to call in sick on a Monday and take a Saturday shift to get paid overtime (when the law that the rest of the working people abide by requires you actually work 40 hours before getting time and a half). This is probably the biggest sticking point with the union. Management also wants to be able to have more flexibility scheduling workers when there are weeks that require Bart to run extra trains (which would provide a source of legitimate overtime, but naturally that isn’t the way they want to make it).

    • patti livernash

      my Aunty Lyla got Land Rover LR2 by work using a laptop… find more info w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

    • Bill Recto

      True. I know that Bart Contractors,Bart management AND Bart Workers Union need to get their act together in terms of managing the budget, working conditions, better wages and Making Bart meet earthquake standards of course.

  • Nurse

    I belong to CNA, at our hospital we don’t get overtime unless we work longer than twelve hours in one days and if we work more than 40 hours a week. We just settled our contract and are not getting a raise this year and I think we may get a 1-2% the year after. We were just happy with not having take aways in this economy! Bart workers are being greedy and selfish. I hope SEIU doesn’t do to BART what the auto unions did to the auto industry in this country.

    • nurserep

      Really, where do you work? I was a rep at CNA and typically the nurse contracts treat PTO (paid time off) as time worked and therefore, if you are sick Tuesday, take PTO that day, and then are called in to work extra on Saturday the Saturday hours are paid at a premium – usually time and a half.

    • Get Real

      Yes you did ok with the help of your union you didn’t take any cuts Bart is proposing cuts and rule changes the raise is to cover the proposed cuts, in pensions and medical benefits. Get it they only want what you already got No More Cuts…Duh I guess you were greedy and selfish and blind to others needs and without empathy and understanding.And you to are causing our demise by your standards. I think after what you said you should take some cuts yourself then maybe you would feel for others…oh yea you didn’t take any cuts!


      I think it’s funny we are all fighting over this, THEY (the top 1%) are pinning us again ourselves, stating the poor economy, save the planet, yadda yadda.. when we really should be looking at the real ISSUE… THE TOP 1%!!! They have US all brainwashed. Keep eating your poison food, watch TV, get fat, and grow old fast.

    • ray_area

      Im sorry your union didnt fight enough for you but thats no reason to call BART selfish or greedy.

      just because you view your pay and benefits as less than what the BART workers union demands doesnt mean theyre greedy;

      if anything it means your nurses union didnt fight enough for you. dont be bitter bc you dont like your lot in life and others fight for theirs.

  • f simanjuntak

    Bravo bart, way to stick it to the unions

  • Jude

    My commute is greatly affected by the Bart and I am a union member but the unions have crossed the line into GREEDY and despite my worries about getting to work on time (I am a teacher on the other side of the bay) I support the management. COMPROMISE – NEGOTIATE means give and take. Hand written notes from the mechanics to a clerk who types the info in the system???? Can’t/Won’t use an IPad to do the same work. Life changes and for the current pay workers are receiving they need to move with the times. Stick to your principals management.

    • JM

      You have no idea what you are talking about. Those are EXAMPLES they gave of work changes that they could make without notifying or consulting the union.

      You are a BART rider…..have you looked into the operating cab of a train lately?????? Are we anywhere near using an Ipad???

      What is more egregious about the EXAMPLES they gave are that using those devices in the cab of a train or on the trackway under PUC issued state rules would get you a minimum of 30 days suspension at BART.

      The union offered to let a third party arbitrator settle the differences on the work rules. What you miss is that in states where management and unions use interest arbitration both sides are more conservative because both sides stand to lose. BART said no to this idea because THEY prefer a strike. They prefer a service disruption over a strike because they can continue to spend money blaming the union and their own jobs will never go away. The only options unions have is to strike.

      You are a union member right? Name a strike that was popular with the customers of an organization?

      When the public fires the BART board for not finding mutual solutions with employees to make the system work better rather than forcing a strike to blame their employees change will happen. Until then nothing changes . Some of the BART managers have been there for over 40 years and have cost the district millions mistakes and poor choices and never one demoted.’

      They do pretty good though…..they convince you and others like sheep off to slaughter to believe the union is in the way of employees using Ipads to keep trains moving. Even though state regulations do not even allot it. They have a great audience. Priceless.

      • All American Guy

        I completely agree with JM. The board of directors ought to be tossed out for how they are handling this debacle. They have no problem spending over $200,000 each for dozens of useless, redundant executives and upper managers who do not run one train or clean one station, and they had no problem spending a million dollars to pay off former manager Dorothy Duggan when she got fired. But this board decided to go to war with their own workers, like a bunch of neo-conservative Tea Party yahoos.

        BART management is paying $400,000 for this contracted negotiator Thomas Hock, instead of using their own highly-paid managers to do the same thing. Hock then went on vacation during the 60-day cooling off period, and the BART board and managers had no problem with that. Both he and BART are guilty of fraud: spending tax money on him to provide a service, which neither he or BART intended to actually provide. If I am a director paying a guy $400,000 to negotiate with the unions, I am going to make damn sure that guy’s butt is glued to a chair at the bargaining table for all of those 60 days, hammering out an agreement. But this board did not give a rip what Hock did. All of this was a power play, at the expense of the public.

        I do not believe for one second that the directors intend to spend more money on new train seats or track maintenance. They have had a surplus for some years now, and have merely spent more money on their executives’ salaries. Same old story: these directors spend obscene sums on their executives, but begrudge their middle-class workers the first lousy pay increase they have had in years. I notice that not one of those top-pay executives were able to keep those two workers from dying. What a worthless bunch, and we taxpayers are picking up the bill. And just wait until the families of those two dead workers get done suing BART: the taxpayers will pick up that tab, too.

        For an example of total management incompetence, take a look at the 5-mile Fremont extension that is taking years to build. The public takes no notice of how badly that project is being handled, how many years it is taking, and how much tax money is being lost by these managerial morons. The pay that the striking unions is asking for is NOTHING compared to the money that is being lost on the Fremont extension. How are we ever going to get BART to San Jose when this incompetent board cannot even build a 5-mile extension in a semi-efficient manner? The BART director who represents Fremont/Hayward is the biggest embarrassment of all. He should have been put out to pasture years ago, but the voters pay no attention to that guy’s mediocre record and keep re-electing him.

        Nothing will change until the voters THROW OUT THE BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS and demand the firing of all the dead weight at the top of this decrepit transit organization. I personally do not know one BART worker, but I support those striking workers over this power-hungry, over-paid management staff and incompetent board any day of the week.

        • Fed up

          Based on the tone of the two commenters above me it’s no surprise why the public is showing up against the unions. Not only is your tone condescending but you completely ignore any of the points that are laid out against you choosing to focus on how YOU interpret “iPad” use.

          So for those of you on this thread fighting for your pay increase, let me be the first one to say TAKE IT! Just make sure you give up your undeserved pensions, your ridiculously low medical costs (which I as the rider and tax payer am paying for) and DEFINITELY get rid of any work rules that allow you to DOUBLE YOUR INCOME THROUGH OVERTIME. Don’t worry, I won’t make you use an iPad though, I know how change scares you.

        • The Dude

          Let’s ALL go on strike. No working, let’s all just stay home and watch LOST on Netflix! lol.

    • DD

      Jude I am a union member as well.I sure would hate for you to be apart of my union,,You are totally clueless

  • bbox231

    There will be little or no balance exhibited by labor UNTIL – – – they’ve been forced to dig into their personal savings to subsidize a house or rent payment (or 10).
    Management MUST rescind their previous offer and ensure that if and when labor decides to come to their senses, that there is no reward for having walked out. Make clear – that the “best and final” offer was just that – or else, you’re part of the problem.
    The next offer should be 10% under what was last offered. If they don’t want that – let ’em make another house payment.
    P.S. – start figuring out what you need to do to get the “help wanted” signs posted. If it requires legislative action – get to work on it NOW.

    • Yea right

      Do unto others as you would have done to you, we can only hope your boss or managers takes a very egregious attitude with you as we’ll. good luck.

      • bbox231

        Would be swell if these “unions” would heed your very words. Wonder how they’d feel if essential services were withheld in THEIR time of need. . . . you know – like if they needed the fire department or something. . . but never mind that.
        What you refer to as an “egregious attitude” is little more than a recognition of free-market forces. Forces which have taken a toll on me (and MILLIONS of others) over the last several years. Forces which were unfettered by contrived barriers such as an ability and willingness to do unto others the consequences of their selfish and egregious ACTIONS.
        Over the course of the last several years, the forces which *I* have been exposed to have caused my personal income to fall and my personal contribution to my retirement and health care to rise. ANd, I’m not alone – these same forces have impacted MILLIONS
        But, please, continue to ignore facts.

        • GetReal

          We are part of the millions who have already taken cuts. Do you believe with the cost of everything going up gas , food , utilities ….We should all continue to accept more and more cuts, Would you like more cuts in your pay and benefits, where does it end. If you choose to accept poor benefits and less pay , than that is your choice , please don’t wish more decline on everyone. The middle class pays for all the bums in this world if they keep beating up the middle class who will pay for all the bums. By the way we pay our share of taxes as well. It’s the way our tax dollars are miss managed not that we don’t pay enough. If you accept less that’s exactly what you get….how much will you settle for. I hope you are willing to take more cuts if that’s what you want for everyone else.

          • bbox231

            WHile BART organized labor may have suspended their pay raises – salaries in the Bay Area for most other professional positions have declined in recent years. While employees in virtually all other sectors are paying increasing percentages of their personal health care and retirement benefits, BART employees continue to enjoy health and retirement benefits which are WAAAY beyond any definition of reasonable.
            They’ve been able to achieve these concessions as a result of their willingness to hold hostage, the community which they are SUPPOSED to serve.
            These historical concessions have little or no relationship to the skills required by the position and are well in excess of what other transport workers, serving very similar positions, have been granted.
            I agree with your right to walk off the job.
            Let’s also agree that many others are willing and able to perform the essential duties of these jobs – – – IF – they were allowed to do so.
            It is only these contrived factors which make these people worth as much as they are currently making.
            In a free and unfettered market – they’d be making considerably less.

          • GetReal

            Are these hardworking professionals really the people who should be being held accountable for the stock market crash , I think you are going after the wrong people. Do you feel you deserve to suffer any further for the melt down caused by others. Let them pay not every hard working American in the country. You are justifying the position it’s all of us who should suffer more, I have lost enough already. If all the good paying jobs are compromised the Bay Area will become Detroit. We are all suffering how much more will you recommend we take from working people half of their investments and half of the value of there homes and a higher cost of living isn’t enough we should take more, I don’t think so.

          • bbox231

            THese “hard working professionals” – – – really?
            Have you ever ridden on BART?
            The road beds are terrible.
            Track alignment is a mess.
            Roughest ride of any mass transit system I’ve been on.
            And, don’t get me started about the attitudes of their employees – “Please sir – pictures are not permitted on the platforms.” – said the BART employee to the passenger who was snapping a picture w/his iPhone while waiting along with hundreds of other commuters stranded during one of their infamous mechanical failures.
            And these folks are demanding a RAISE – – – to go along with their gold-plated retirement, health and other benefits????!!!!!!! THese guys have the best deal of any transportation system in the US – but they think they deserve more.
            Tell you what – – – – Management better reduce their most recent offer by 10% if and when these guys get busy bargaining again. If for no other reason but to reinforce the notion that there is NO REWARD for walking. Take it or leave it. And if you don’t want it – – the line starts right behind me for submitting job applications!

          • GetReal

            You don’t get it we are all in this together…all the hard working millions who have been robbed enough already, everyone of us who stands up and says no more is helping you also get a hand up. Stop being hateful and be glad they are man enough to stand up for us all. And remember when it comes to your paycheck , to just happily broadcast all your personal financial info to everyone in public so we can all criticize and judge you and how much you are worth,. You don’t even understand the vast experience most of the workers have. Almost everyone of them has been in the military as well.i don’t know how you can justify your pay or job…good luck but please do try. Let us be the judge.

          • bbox231

            I have to justify my job to my bosses every year . . . when my performance is evaluated. I have to compete, in an open market for my job ALL THE FREAKIN’TIME!! because I don’t have any artificial barriers preventing someone else from taking my job away from me. Tomorrow, if I don’t do a good job, someone 1/2 a world away could be doing what I’m doing – for less. Oh well – that’s what is called “free economy”. BART employees on the other hand don’t operate in a “free economy” – they’ve erected artificial barriers to entry which prevent others from doing their jobs for less. They then use these barriers to hold their customer hostage when they feel it’s time to get more. Their skills (or lack of same) have NOTHING to do with the end result. Get a clue!

          • GetReal

            You are wrong they are not the best paid transit workers.

            Be grateful for a safe and reliable service.

            Everything could use improvements , they are working on it with less people all the time….that’s why there is OT

            I sure would like to know about your job?

            I’m sure everything is perfect .Lol

  • RC

    I just heard a BART train heading north on the Richmond line (around noon on Saturday, going through Albany). What gives?

    • Dan Brekke

      During the stoppage in July, BART said it ran a few trains along the system every day just to make sure that everything was working the way it should and to keep rust off the tracks. I suspect that’s what’s going on now, too.

  • StoneXsinger

    While I respect unions for wanting the best for their members, the issue now seems to be that they do not want BART to be able to actually manage. As a result travelers throughout the Bay Area are inconvenienced, the air will be more polluted, more greenhouse gas spewed into the air, and now two fatalities. The strike should be called off.

    • dd

      STONEXSINGER,,Why should it be called off? Because of your personal needs to catch BART,,Well guess what those hard worker have personal needs as well….A FAIR CONTRACT!! NOT THE GREEDY AND CONTROL OF MGMT!!

  • JM

    Two people died today using rules that require them to provide their own protection and prevent them from being notified of potential train movement because that would imply protection. This is at the heart of work rules. This is the same exact procedure under which the last two employees were killed. The issues of work rules will not go away.

    As for the 40 hour week you will notice BART is not proposing stricter attendance policies that would require them to manage. They are A-OK with not managing and instead just want to take away overtime pay they use to run the system. Many who work the overtime are hard working people with no attendance issues. If they take vacation on a Monday and the phone rings to run YOUR train on a saturday the answer is easy: Sorry it was my day off I just finished my first beer.

    Agencies that wanted to improve absenteeism went after the issue directly. BART managers do not want to work on the problem. They like the status quo.

    BART really needs a new board.

    • HM

      And to be clear…..the rules under which the two killed today were used in two previous incidents where a employee died. I wrote it in a way one could think I mean just these two. The total now is 4.

      • Grace

        Just curious: Did the first two die during a strike as well?

        • JM

          Nope. Neither of the other two died during broad daylight though from what I can recall.

          • Grace

            I take the Concord train each day — or did prior to the strike — and I’m familiar with the trek from Walnut Creek to PH. This is not a loud stretch of area by any means, nor is there any obstructions whatsoever. The trains typically slow down along this section anyway. I’m beyond stunned that two men were killed, especially since one of them was tasked with being the “lookout” for oncoming trains. I expect a thorough investigation.
            In the meantime, we can only feel for the families of these lost souls. It didn’t have to happen. I only hope that both sides accept their full responsibility for today’s tragedy, but I suspect the finger pointing will begin at first light Monday morning.

    • Bert M. Drona

      If all proposals and counter-proposals were made in public and in timely manner, especially for taxpayer-paid or -supported systems, we can have everything transparent and no propaganda by either side is necessary. We taxpayers should demand such.

      • Get Real

        I actually think this is a good idea. And all private pay info on non government employees should also be open for all to see. There is a privacy issue. Or just tax paying government employees should have there private financial info public? Please do post your personal info for all to judge and criticize. Are we as a society going to give up all of our rights.

  • Marcellus

    Two lives were needlessly lost due to this unnecessary strike. My heart goes out to the families.

    • candy

      Marcellus,,,Those folks lives were not lost due to the STRIKE!! Foolery

  • GetReal

    I can’t believe Bart only pays 7% towards pensions and wants to take up to 4 percent from the employees , that’s outrageous. They already pay less than ss/FICA it they paid that it would be over 12% . They need to cut the managers pensions , by only vesting those who work at least 10 years not just five they would save a ton the managers pensions is where all the money goes not the hard working blue collar pensions look at the numbers. Most of the workers work at least 15 years before retiring with a hard earned pension that saves Bart a ton paying ss/FICA again would be over 12%. They should count there blessing instead of tring to take more from the workers. The management pensions and vesting is the answer.

    • KS

      The employer portion of FICA is 6.2%and the employee portion is 6.2 in the real world. And social security payments are way less than bart pensions. Medicare is 1.45% each. 50/50. My employer pays less than 1/2 of my months medical insurance.

      • GetReal

        Social security and FICA combined usually is paid by the employer and is over 12%. I was a full charge bookkeeper and am sure..maybe your employer pays less but I don’t know how. Yes they get a better return on the 7% they pay towards pensions but SS/FICA would cost them more. Just your numbers added together come to your employer paying over 7% should you pay more? Of course not.

        • KS

          You are wrong. Look it up. 6.2 each for FICA which is social security. The 1.45 is Medicare which is not social security. The point is employees in non government non taxpayer funded jobs pay 6.2% towards social security. That’s not enough to live on when they retire so many contribute to 401ks. The fica rate is in the federal law. I’m not sure how any employer pays more or less. Google it. The poor Bart employees have to pay 4%. It’s about time.

          • Mikel Hossyin

            OH the poor BART employee’s make a very good living, The pay and Benefits are above most hardworking people .. It would be nice to see they all get canned like the air traffic controller.. THEY ARE VERY GREEDY!!! FIRE them all.. you can get Train Op for about 10 bucks an hour ..

          • GetReal

            Are you living on 10. An hour and do you think everyone should?
            If you are happy being in poverty that is your choice. Do your tax dollars really contribute to society at that rate. Or are you part of the problem.

          • Get Real

            If you are paying 6.2 percent, why do you choose to settle for such a poor return maybe you should try to do better instead of wishing others did worse. Social Security is so poorly managed it has been proven there are better ways to go. I heard they are allowing unvested people to draw on your money, while capping your pay, are you going to accept that. That is your choice. If you settle for less that’s what you get. Wake up people stop settling for less and wishing less on others….You need to do better.

          • KS

            You are obviously out of touch. Private sector workers don’t have a choice but to pay into Medicare. I don’t want others to do worse. I and many others think Bart workers should fund part of their pension. Period. And they will. I am a daily Bart rider and I am happy the workers don’t get more of the surplus. In the real world you have to earn a raise and a bonus. At one point the riders were asked about getting some of the surplus and we said we’d rather bart improve the system. Not exactly greedy from our end. Unfortunately there is no merit component of the raises of Bart workers.

          • GetReal

            Maintaining a safe reliable service , and putting your safety first over there paycheck shows they are willing to fight for you. And there is merit in that. The public is settling for a very expensive SS system if the current numbers are 6.2 plus 6.2 that is over 12 % coming out of the economy and the return is lower…Can you follow that…And because you are over paying for less return you think everyone should. You need to change your system you are in it is a huge waste of money.

        • Bert M. Drona

          You are showing here your ignorance of the real world (outside your unionized outlook).

  • GetReal

    I can’t believe they would try to take more medical benefits away from the employees and retirees after all the cuts on the last contract…If I worked I would insist
    No Cuts or no Contract.
    What cuts are the upper management and managers taking? Yea that’s what I thought.
    It is never fair to ask retired people on limited incomes to keep paying more for their medical every contract, they worked hard many many years and do not deserve that. There should be a law protecting the retired. They took the hit last contract and this is not 2008 No cuts or No Contract.

  • GetReal

    If Bart is really trying to save money why would they hire Thomas Hock , who is always on vacation while he is supposed to be negotiating and Bart is paying him 400,000 to do the job. He is a horrible negotiator and has a conflict of interest he owns bus company’s that profit more from a strike, I have heard. This is the worst scenario I have ever seen with Bart he has failed miserably , and needs to be fired.

  • GetReal

    Bart employees took a lot of cuts last contract. They deserve better this time . No raises for three years and increased the medical payment for retires…oh they changed job classifications and eliminated vital inspector jobs …Safety comes first to the employees and the safety of the public does the public really want no inspectors? Not smart. Now they want to muddle the job classifications again…Not smart. Only very qualified employees should perform vital jobs and inspections. And you don!t need very qualified employees doing janitor work because there classification has been muddled.

  • Mary

    BART employees are greedy. I have not had a raise since 2008 and have been told it’s because of the economy and I don’t have a pension period. 40 percent of SF Superior court faced a layoff which was unfair. They should be fired and replaced with people who want to work and are willing to contribute to their pension. BART employees are looking for a free ride.

    • loche

      Not a free ride when they are doing their jobs…

    • dd

      Mary…Thats the excuse all companies are using,,”THE Economy”…However, n of the folks in mgmt are taking pay cuts to their yearly salary!! So who’s GREEDY,,U sound very bitter and if you are that unhappy,,QUIT and go find u another JOB!!!!

    • ray_area

      of course. only those of us who truly suffer can complain and fight for better wages and benefits.

  • Mikel Hossyin

    Enough is enough , BART employee make a very good living, The pay and Benefits are above most hardworking people .. IT would be nice to see they all get canned like the air traffic controller.. THEY ARE VERY GREEDY!!! FIRE them all..

    • candy

      Mikel such Ignorance,,,,,,,GET A REAL LIFE!!

    • ray_area

      bitter much?

  • ISeeYourSpiritDOTCOM .

    Hello commuters, If you feel BART strike is affecting you and overall Bay area’s economical function. Please consider sign petition to ban BART strike for 2014 state legislation. Rapid transportation in New York, Chicago and many other major U.S. cites are not allowed to strike, as it affects negatively on hundreds of thousands of people’s lives for the benefit of few.

    • JF

      Public employees don’t have the right to strike in 39 states. … Roosevelt was right in that public employees should never have been allowed to unionize.

  • Sqwiggle

    For those of you who telecommute, or have that option, We just announced today that Sqwiggle let all Bay Area commuters use our telecommuting app for free during the BART Strike. Could be a good way to alleviate some stress and frustration with the morning commute. Check out Sqwiggle for more info.

  • cstarr

    Help fight for RELIABLE transit in the Bay Area. Sign the petition for those of us who do not have any other options:

  • baybridgecommuter

    If the unions are so unhappy about being abused and mistreated, why don’t they quit their jobs and find another job that pays them what they want? It’s a free country, nobody is forcing them to work for such a bad employer in such inferior conditions. You don’t see private sector employees barricading their company’s offices and taking customers hostage when they don’t like their bosses (I’m pretty sure that’d qualify as terrorism) – they just quit and find another job.

  • jfg

    Public employees are not allowed to strike in 39 states. Roosevelt was right when he wrote, “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service”. He wrote this in a letter to the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees.

  • guest

    Many, many trains are operated DRIVERLESS, which is better than these Ya Hoooos.
    Fire all these OVER PAID, Under EDUCATED Union members and let them find other jobs. See how far that gets them. IDIOTS

  • annonymous

    Fire them all. There are people who actually appreciate a good-paying job. The BART union is literally starving children right now, preventing hard working parents from getting to work, to bring home food for their families. I understand fighting for fair pay, but this is getting ridiculous. This is not what unions were built for.. they were built to protect, not to seek out greed.

  • Ridiculous

    The annual pay raise percentages Unions are asking for are higher than what our military members sitting in remote outposts around the world receive. This greed besides sickening, is going to eat away revenues until the BART is no more. Shame on you Unions… Won’t even get started on proposed work rules bringing business practices into the current century.

  • Bob Taylor

    I am ready to take their jobs. Please contact me if you need a filler. I have a BA in math, and all I am asking is 35k+. I am ready to work 40 hours a week, no night shift preferred.

  • Want to work for BART

    Here it is Tuesday at 5:38 NO BART trains. BART trying to get employees back to work. For the past week, we had to wait until early morning hours to figure out how to get to work the next day on time. But again, BART employees couldn’t get back to work on time when the announcement was made. This is the problem with BART, the employees don’t care because they can’t be fired.

  • Cowboy Up

    Why are so many people upset with what other are making for a living. Unless you walk in some ones shoes you can’t know or judge their work ethic’s. Do people off the streets come to your job around review time and say fire the bump, give him crumbs etc. Union or non-union with the cost of living why is it a crime to some when the everyday worker ask for a pay raise ? Most people would sell there soul, want the city to take out city bonds to get the top jock on there pro sports team , but will take to social media, blogs, etc to kick working class folks who just want fairness. Sitting back and posting negative post about someone you never meet or better yet worked side by side with them and you feel you have the right to. Why? Please tell us Why ? Well Take a deep look in the mirror while pointing your finger. This strike wasn’t just about union workers but a stance for all workers against some Corporations that really want to do away with fairness, work laws, safety. Bart spends about $1 mil per year fight CAL OSHA over safety.
    Las but not least, My Grand Dad use to tell his sons if you tired of the treatment. net pay not gross aka annual salaries raise your @#$ up to the next job somewhere else.
    Get a life wage kings and queens.


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

Twitter: twitter.com/danbrekke
Facebook: www.facebook.com/danbrekke
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/danbrekke


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