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DAY 4: BART strike continues to have less impact in Pleasanton with fewer commuters as Independence Day nears

Original post made on Jul 2, 2013

Although major freeways remain jammed as the third day of the BART strike continues, so far the work stoppage has not had the major impact on Pleasanton commuters that was feared.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 7:25 AM

Comments (28)

Posted by Get Real, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2013 at 8:30 am

I read that the average compensation package for BART workers is $175,000/year. Additionally, they get 10-12 weeks of vacation per year and they work 37.5 hours/week (anything over that is paid overtime). A high percentage of these workers are not that highly educated, and as we all know, have significant attitude problems.
That they make that kind of compensation is outrageous, and them striking for 24% increases in compensation is beyond outrageous. I encourage all of you to contact your BART director and urge them not to cave in at all to BART employee demands; and to strongly considering firing any and all BART workers that stay out on strike.


Posted by reagan was right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2013 at 8:49 am

Rememeber the air traffic controllers who went on strike in the 80's? Ronald Reagan gave them an ultimatum...settle or be replaced. They chose poorly.
One can only hope that some leader in this day and age would have the same cajones, but sadly we have too many emasculated politicians in the Bay Area.
Fire the BART employees now...how hard can they be to replace? Or, keep up the strike and suffer the consequences of 400,000 riders voting out the pansies in office now.


Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2013 at 8:58 am

Wishing the BART workers everything for which they ask. Skilled mechanics making low 60s and having to supplement with overtime while situated in the Bay Area is beyond belief. And no social security. Oh, and what about that 10% raise BART management just gave itself? Whew! The stank is too much. It's unfortunate there are bootlicker scabs out there who are against workers' interests. But, hey, the Republican Party is filled with uneducated bootlickers who consistently vote against their own interests.


Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 2, 2013 at 9:18 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Mike, it's a pity that these poor uneducated BART workers can't find gainful employment elsewhere. With their skill level they should be able to find jobs elsewhere making what they think they are worth. Why should they have to put up with a 6 figure salary and benefits, when they could make more with another employer with deep pockets? BART management should help these wrench jockies by firing them all now, so they can start their search for better pay and benefits in the private sector. Good luck to them......


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 2, 2013 at 9:48 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Mike, Do you feel this way for everyone who lives in the Bay Area that makes less than $60K?

And how does this statement:
"Mooney and other union officials have apologized to the roughly 400,000 riders who rely on BART daily and said they hoped to resolve the labor dispute as quickly as possible."
balance with this one:
"'We've sweetened the deal by $6 million, we doubled our wage proposal, and they came down half a percent - that's where we are right now,' BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said Sunday."

Can you please post where you see the 10% raise to management? A quick search did not produce that information.


Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2013 at 10:06 am

I don't know why you think the above statements need commentary. This strike involves skilled dedicated employees who haven't gotten a raise in five years, and for some over eight years. And they gave BACK money over that time. They are now attempting to maximize their interests, with the system operating at a surplus now should be able to accommodate. For years these workers were assured they'd get a raise when things got better. Instead, they've been offered what amounts to a pay decrease.

I read about 10% managerial raise in Mother Jones. Is anyone surprised by that?

Mr. Duhsease, you're too filled with hate to warrant my entering into a dialogue with you. Convince us you're getting therapy, then maybe I'll consider your remarks.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 2, 2013 at 10:35 am

People strike for various reasons. What's most important is that all Americans have a legal right to express their opinions.

VIVA AMERICA! VIVA!


Posted by Joey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2013 at 11:17 am

If you look at Web Link that links over to the public employee salary database

You see that an average BART train operator:
Salary is ~$62K
Overtime is $32K
Vacation payout is $7K

Kinda seems like a lot for what they do.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 2, 2013 at 11:23 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

My concern would be the apparent lack of bargaining in good faith--say you want to settle quickly and move only an inch toward that end.

Here is the Mother Jones article. No mention of 10% raises for management. Web Link


Posted by William Tell, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm

The gub'mint continues to demonstrate that it has no business in the transportation business. BART is too costly for the value it provides. CalTrans can't even build a half-bridge without 3x cost increases, unsafe materials. High speed rail is high speed fail. If only the gub'mint would get into the air travel business [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Pop the cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Mikie lies, embellishes ( that's putting it mildly) mother jones stories and generally acts like we've come to expect from a thieving union hack. He conveniently leaves out the fact that 'workers' only put in 37 hours a week, which is why they are able to claim so much overtime. Little omissions like that are an indication that no union shill like Mikie will bargain in good faith.


Posted by Luddite, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 3, 2013 at 6:41 am

I can't wait until these mopes are replaced by a machine.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 3, 2013 at 7:01 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Here is a perspective from CATO, "Labor Unions Against the Public Interest": Web Link

It includes references to similar issues at D.C.'s Metro. "Metro's collective bargaining agreement requires him to promote bus drivers to train operators and station managers. In fact, his spokesman said, mediocre bus drivers may get promoted more quickly because 'we need to get you from behind the wheel.' And if someone does a great job as station manager, 'I can't recognize that financially,' Sarles said." I wonder if this is true for BART.

If you look at all that has been said here and in this article, the average salary is $71,000, plus $11,000 in overtime, plus nearly $51,000 in benefits (medical and pension). It certainly feels like a fair wage.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 3, 2013 at 7:26 am

Regardless of the outcome for this strike, lets hope that steps are taken to make any future strikes illegal. Many major cities already have in place laws that make strikes by transit workers illegal. New York has such a law in place. A strike is illegal under the provisions of an addition to New York State Civil Service Law called the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, more commonly called the Taylor Law. It prohibits municipal workers from striking and provides alternative means for dispute resolution. The law provides for criminal penalties including imprisonment of union officials, and fines against the union and individual striking workers. Such a law here would put an end to such unrealistic demands by a union out of control.


Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2013 at 7:32 am

Thanks for your little ideological hit piece, Kathleen. Never ceases to amaze me how the CATO folks get twisted out of shape by a big bad 'monopolized union' going on strike every 16 years -- as in the case at hand, as BART workers have realized no wage increases over past five years while cost of living in Bay Area has gone up over 19%.

Fact is, a substantial majority of both unions voted democratically to authorize strike action. Unlike your hero large corporations that exercise their monopoly power and are positioned (after eliminating competitors) to take a substantial loss, if need be, the BART workers have no such surplus. These are workers whose wages are well below what is required for a family to live in the Bay Area. They are losing their daily earnings each day, which no doubt represents a substantial loss for them and their families. This is not the action of a conscienceless monopoly, but rather is a democratic expression of workers hard-pressed to make do in today's economy.

They are also asking for increases in worker and public safety, something the media has been reticent to address.

Management salary increases over the years? Originally reported as a recent 10k bump (as reported in Mother Jones), the story has been revised and now excludes that info. Why? I don't know. Management, however, has been pretty close-fisted with info as the strike has materialized.

As reported in SEIU newsletter, average BART worker's annual pension is slightly above 21k per year, and this without social security. Have at it big, bad, greedy people! Robbing us taxpayers. It's a crime!


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 3, 2013 at 7:57 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

MIke, CATO is one perspective. There are many, many others and you are welcome to cite them. As for Mother Jones, how about a link. First you said 10%, now it's 10k and you think MJ took it down--why would they do that?

Here is a San Jose Mercury News article: Web Link
"Union leaders have said they were willing to budge on the issues of pensions and health care benefits but it's unclear how far they're willing to go. Currently, BART workers don't pay toward their pensions and give $92 a month toward their medical benefits, regardless of the number of dependents. Including pay and benefits, the average cost for BART for each employee was $116,309 last year, up from $110,017 in 2010."

In the meantime, I'm trying to find something to verify the annual pension you claim.


Posted by NameChange, a resident of Country Fair
on Jul 3, 2013 at 8:08 am

While they are at it, I think they should call it BAT from here on out. I see nothing "Rapid" about it - trains, employees or management.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2013 at 8:32 am

I keep hearing the unions say "They are also asking for increases in worker and public safety" but there are never any specifics on this. Sounds like a red herring to take the focus off their already high salaries.So Mike, since you are the spokesperson for the BART union, tell us what safety issues the union is demanding and not being met by management. I do not imagine the job of a train operator is all that hazardous.

One of the downsides of a union is everybody is lumped together. While there might be parts of the union that could justify a raise, you have other parts that are currently over-compensated. They all get raises or nobody does. I have not heard of anybody in the public thinking that train operators are underpaid. So if you are in the union, and not a train operator, thank the train operators for the 'they are overpaid' feeling from the public. Perhaps if some groups voted to leave the union you might be compensated more.


Posted by Citizen, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2013 at 8:54 am

Promote them all into management. No union needed! Reduce their salaries to what they're worth ($20/hr.). They also need to pay for health premiums and retirement. Problem solved!! Instead of paying union wages, upgrade the system, automate the trains. Allot less costly than paying outrageous salaries and safer!!


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2013 at 10:31 am

Or outsource all of those jobs. BART should go out to competitive bid to companies who provide this type of service. Five year contract. At the end of five years, that same company and others can bid again for the job. The local bus system does that and they never have to deal with unions or pay pensions, etc. The only way the taxpayers will get a fair deal is by a public bid. The current monopoly and no competitive bid ensures the taxpayers lose.


Posted by Angry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm

There will never be money for needed 'structure' repairs or 'safety', precisely because of the blood sucking union members. To think that New Yorkers are smarter than Californians, and actually made it illegal for public service-type employees to strike!
Of course Ca legislators are literally 'owned' by unions. Those legislators are without souls or consideration for us, the people. Please remember those legislators at election time. And I will also remember any voters who support those 'sellouts'. The unions, legislators, and stupid voters who keep them in Sacto, are all in collusion against 'the people'.
A Governor could end this strike today, AND permanently. But Jerry Brown is THE reason all these thieves have the power they have. Stupid voters put this PUBLIC union CREATOR, back in office. He would be the best and most appropriate person to declare them all illegal. I doubt he has the spine to do this single most important fix for all Californians. He should FIX this mess HE created.


Posted by Angry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Apparently, my comments to make public service strikes illegal, and our governor needing to 'step up' provided some food for thought. Good.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Oak Hill
on Jul 4, 2013 at 10:31 am

Just to keep things in perspective...I am a Captain flying 90 passenger regional jets, who's safety I am ultimately responsible for. After 13 years, I make less than BART workers. I have no pension. My health insurance cost me approximately $400 per month for really lousy coverage.

What is the most ironic fact is that I am a member of a union that is governed by the Railway Labor Act. This prevents us from striking when our contract expires, which it did three years ago. I have not had a raise in many years.

Just saying, be careful when you talk about what is "fair".


Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm

The perspective you offer is a grim one, Jim. It speaks to how America's workers are increasingly being exploited by owners and management with very little concern for workers or the public they serve or whose products they produce. We know of airline pilots flying half-asleep because they've had to supplement their pilot's income with part-time work at Wal-Mart or White Castle. Your words remind us of how dangerous are the 'friendly skies' when we entrust our lives to pilots. I do hope you support the BART employees; I'd hate to think you'd want to insist they should work under the kinds of conditions your bosses have placed you.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Mike, please provide the link for the claim that "they've had to supplement their pilot's income with part-time work at Wal-Mart or White Castle".
Thank you.


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm

@Dave,

Web Link

"But he knows that those starting out at regional carriers often struggle to survive on the low wages. "A lot of pilots have ... part-time jobs when they get home," he says, "and everybody sort of hangs on and hopes things get better."

Web Link


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm

John, thanks for the article; I note that it is 3 years old and with no mention on "part-time work at Wal-Mart or White Castle" as you had stated. As long as you are selectively quoting from the article, here's another quote from the same article.
"The most senior captain, flying the largest jet at a major airline, earns on average nearly $180,000 a year. Pilots starting out at a regional carrier may earn as little as $21,000 annually, but by the time they become a senior captain, piloting the largest aircraft, they can earn more than $95,000 a year.
And this was written three years ago.
But thanks anyway!


Posted by Angry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Dave, bart workers seem unable to put things in proper perspective. They think they are all CEO callable, and rocket scientists. In fact, most of them are actually unemployable most anyplace else.
For them to even be in discussions with airplane pilots is out of their league.
Thank you Kathleen for the link, the 'unions' most certainly are 'Against the PUBLIC Interest' !!! We are such fools to sit here allowing ourselves to sit here as the PUBLIC unions EXTORT every last drop of our life's blood. Why do we tolerate being held hostage by them. The Jerry Brown should act like a governor and protect 'the people'.


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