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BART UPDATE: Rampant Media Bias Toward Bart Strikers Is Uncovered

Original post made by Mike Cherry on Aug 18, 2013

Some weeks back, a nonscientific poll indicated that Bay Area residents by a 2-1 margin thought Bart management has done a better job in the media of getting across its point of view than have Bart workers. Most self-respecting pollsters, of course, have not touched the Bart issue because there is so little public information available for poll subjects to form a reliable opinion.

The corporate media has used the results of the nonscientific poll to opine that the Bay Area public does not support Bart's workers. And, predictably, there are ignorant readers who have jumped on the corporate media's bandwagon.

Since the labor dispute began, about all we can say with confidence is that the corporate media, not surprisingly, has shown a propensity to side with BART management. For example, the corporate media has consistently printed that BART workers pay a mere $92 a month for healthcare, and this despite Bart workers' counterclaims that they pay $184.00 per month; the corporate media has consistently printed that Bart workers earn approx. $79,000.00 as average annual wage, despite Bart workers' counterclaims that they in fact gross an average of $66,000.00 per year.

Nowhere, too, has the corporate media mentioned how in the 1980s BART workers agreed to management's request that the employer take on a 7 percent employee contribution to the pension in lieu of pay raises -- an agreement that has saved the public hundreds of millions of dollars.

What is most interesting about the disparity between management and workers' contrary claims is that the corporate media has neither printed the disparity, nor has it made any effort to dispute the claims of one side or another. Why? There are several reasons:

First, were the corporate media to actually print Bart workers' counterclaims, they'd be implanting dissonance among the reading public which, instead of only getting one side's "facts," would then be faced with considering two quite different presentations of reality.

Second, by actually printing Bart workers' counterclaims, the corporate media would be validating a side in the dispute that the corporate media has consistently devalued throughout: in short, by printing the workers' claims, workers would be given a voice that thus far has been suppressed.

Third, by actually printing BART workers' counterclaims, there would be an ethical obligation on the part of the media to investigate the disparity of claims between management and workers. Does anyone doubt that this has not already been done?

By critically investigating the contradictory claims between management and workers, corporate media would likely find themselves in a position of (1) having to verify the workers' claims and (2) by so doing, they'd have to reveal that Bart management has been lying to the public and (3) that the corporate media has been aiding and abetting those lies.

We know, given how the corporate media have sided with Bart management, that IF workers' claims could be proven demonstrably false they would have been by now. And why haven't they been shown to be such? Because they are not false.

Until the corporate media can present reliable information about matters of average wage, health benefits, and the like, the public will continue to be ill-informed -- something that corporate media desires of us all and continues to perpetuate, particularly when matters pertain to labor's gallant efforts to stand up for all of America's workers.

Comments (32)

Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland
on Aug 18, 2013 at 8:57 am

Daveg is a registered user.

Ah Mikie, Mikie, yet another of your postings! Could never answer questions raised on his other postings, so has to start another.
Perhaps you could answer these questions and then all could determine if an increase of 22-23% by the union is justified.
Can the union members call in sick or take a vacation day and then work on their day off and get paid overtime?
Can the union members continue to receive the $92/month health insurance,(or even your quoted $184) even after they leave BART.
Do the union members still get step raises?
Do the union members have 100% taxpayer-funded defined benefit pensions?
Do the union members have $92/month health insurance, (or even your quoted $184) no matter the size of the family or cost of the insurance?
Do the union members work less than 40 hours a week (unless they also add in overtime)?

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

The topic is on media coverage of Bart labor dispute, Dave. Re-read and come back with something to say. Your repeated chirps -- which aren't questions at all -- only reveals how envious you are of those who possess the courage to organize and stand up for what is right.

Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland
on Aug 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

Daveg is a registered user.

The topic heading is a poor attempt to do nothing more than to justify union demands that are unreasonable. You have thrown out union numbers that differ from management numbers and want us to see the union as mistreated. Let's look at what the job qualifications are for a BART transit operator, i.e. a candidate needs a high school diploma or GED, a valid California driver's license and three years of experience "interacting with the general public in a variety of ways". It's not that becoming a BART driver requires a lot of experience. The trains are automated, so operators drive them only during emergencies, and then only to speeds up to 25 mph. However the BART union makes it impossible to train new transit operators by not allowing any training if a union worker is working. If management wanted to add more, it would have to put them through special training mandated under the union contract signed after the 1979 labor dispute. Operators also must pass a 15-week training course in safety practices. Under the agency's contract, however, anyone is barred from even taking the course as long as union BART operators are on the job. In other words, the only time BART can begin training replacement operators is when drivers go out on strike. In addition, BART needs to replace most of its rolling stock and has precious little money. In contrast to private enterprise that would save money for capital improvements, BART needs to do all it can to pay cash out of pocket because there's no routine reserve for capital equipment replacement partially as a result of the current union contract.
So Mikie, are you continuing to avoid answering questions regarding current union benefits?
Yet the union wants a 22-23% increase in wages, offering absolutely nothing in return.

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 10:15 am

Dave is an excellent case in point of what media theorists term the 'lathered up media consumer.' In Dave's case, he's read an opinion piece that issues false claims about Bart workers' wages and conditions of work. Where was the opinion piece? In the Contra Costa Times, a perfect little corporate tool, first purchased by Knight Ridder, then McClatchy, and now MediaNewsCorp. The 'newspaper' gets its direction from its corporate owners, and caters to the large advertisers that contribute far more to the paper than do readers' subscriptions.

Does the Contra Costa Times have any incentive to print the truth about the labor conflict involving Bart workers and Bart management? No. Does it have incentive to write lies about Bart workers? Yes. Just look at who owns the paper, and the advertisers who keep the newspaper profitable.

What I've printed comes as no surprise to anyone who isn't a half-wit. Unfortunately, Dave, is unable to see how our corporate world is organized. Instead, he reads an opinion piece, written by a paid employee of the corporately owned and managed Contra Costa newspaper, interprets the opinion as fact, and then rabidly reproduces it, 'thinking' it must be true.

In fact, the Contra Costa Times opinion piece was filled with lies, and here frothy-mouthed Dave is uncritically reproducing them.

Thanks for helping me make my point, Dave.

Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland
on Aug 18, 2013 at 10:19 am

Daveg is a registered user.

Still avoiding answering any question, huh, Mikie

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 10:21 am


Let's address the real situation - public sentiment is against the BART unions, pure and simple. BART union employees are already highly paid, and they are seen as leveraging the stranglehold they have on Bay Area transit.

The two news polls in question, the ones from KPIX and KTVU, reflect public sentiment that's been provided to those stations. Not statistical polls similar to those of Gallup or Pew Research, but an accurate view of Bay Area sentiment nonetheless.

Public sentiment is generally against the BART unions for all the reasons you mentioned.

(a) BART union employees are already among the highest-paid transit workers in America, if not the highest-paid. The average base salary is "only" $66K, but with overtime it's raised to the $79K figure. You can play with the statistics, but the bottom-line numbers don't lie. $79K it is.

(b) BART union employees pay only a small fraction of their health care costs. The remainder considered compensation. Let's assume that the $184 per month figure is accurate. A family health care premium is at least $1900 a each BART union employee is getting another $1700 per month in compensation. That's an additional $20,400 a year, bringing the total compensation to just under $100,000. With pension contributions, the figure goes beyond $100,000.

(c) And now the unions want an additional 20% wage hike. And they will strike unless their demands are met. This is why public sentiment is what it is.

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

Dave, need I educate you about language use as well?

A question is only a question when the speaker/writer earnestly desires to learn something from the hearer/reader. Your questions are not questions, poor chap. You've taken lies from a right-wing rag media source, exaggerated them, and then smuggled them into pseudo-questions.

The answer to each and every one of the pseudo-questions you've raised, Dave, must come in the form of a negative. Your pseudo-questions are laden with lies. They have no factual content. You are a troubled soul. I cannot help you, nor will I try. By responding to you as I have, I've offered you far more than you deserve. I'm certain, however, that having me attend to your special needs has made your day. Something for you to brag to the wife about.

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 10:47 am

Joe, Each of your assertions sounds exactly like the very same wrong-headed ones offered by Kath on another site. But Kath wouldn't ever change her name, would she? Fact is, Kath, I mean, Joe, I mean Kath, whatever ... is that you haven't addressed my post. All you've done is cite two corporate t.v. stations in a dishonest manner. You've uncritically digested misinformation provided by the corporate media, and then you vomit forth the propaganda as truth. You and Dave are a perfect match. Neither of you has an argument. All you seem capable of is regurgitating the slop you gobble up on a daily basis.

Now, go read your daily corporate newspaper, accept it as gospel, and never once question that you are reading nothing but a corporate sponsored viewpoint that systematically distorts other points of view.

You're all comical! Truly! I can perform intellectual dances around you all day long while you sit in a stupor and then, in response, you can only cite corporate-supplied misinformation. I swear, I can't help you! You're incapable of argument because your brains have been thoroughly washed over with corporate swill.

Thanks for these demonstrations!

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Aug 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I am not Joe. I'll get back on the rest. Just can't stand that polls are not going your way? People can read the contracts. People saw what the Governor's committee reported. BART is a public agency.That iInformation should be available to the public.

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Okay Joe/Kath. I bet you will. And we're all waiting with high anticipation for yet another hand wave. Care to say anything substantive? I didn't think so. Your posts appear closer and closer to Dave's all the time. This, your recent one, is priceless.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Aug 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Just love making stuff up, don't you Mike.

"BART UPDATE: Rampant Media Bias Toward Bart Strikers Is Uncovered" but only by you. A title followed by assertions, assumptions, and no citations. The Governor's committee report that covered both sides gets skipped, as do the union contracts that spell out benefits or the site that lists the pay, overtime, and all overhead costs for employees.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm

And neither am I Kathy. In addition to the two broadcast stations I mentioned, there are numerous articles, all factual in nature, from the SJ Mercury News, SF Chronicle, and Oakland Tribune. Since BAR is a public entity, all the information reported is from the public domain. Salaries, benefits, hours worked, all the compensation statistics, for the union employees and management.

Your assertion of media bias is unfounded. At worst the media could be accused of "stirring the pot" in an attempt to gain readership. Strike or no strike, the media will benefit because this is a topic people want to stay abreast of. The media doesn't need to play a favorite to make that happen - it's already happening.

I suggest you take your own poll. Go to the BART station tomorrow morning and ask the commuters what their sentiment is concerning the union demands and the threat of strike. It won't be statistical in nature, but you'll hear it first hand and it won't be coming from a media outlet that you distrust.

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

That's what 'Getting back on the rest consists of?'

Well, Kath, you conveniently forget to mention that my BART UPDATE is a set of arguments. But apparently, the only argument you know is "I've got more corporate media supplied info than you do."

Care to critique my arguments, Kath? Didn't think so. Nothing in my posted topic calls for a link, or a citation. If you don't like my arguments or the kinds of reasons and deductive thinking they're based upon, then prove that I'm mistaken.

But we all know that you can't. You don't know how to form a coherent argument -- and so here, your only recourse is to snipe away at the messenger with no substantive content to your snipes.

Again: Plato argues that 'All men are mortal, and inasmuch as Socrates is a man, he must be mortal.' Kath's response? "Oh, Plato, you and Socrates have a problem; you've never backed your claims with citations or links." And so once again Kath's contributions dilute the quality of a PW thread.

Posted by SKJ, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Of course the answers to the unanswered questions to Mikie, ask by Daveg are yes ! Mikie doesn't get it !! The majority of everybody riders, taxpayers, OTHER unions, and MOST of ALL MEDIA and PRESS know it is wrong at this time for Californians period. Out of touch, out of place, unjustified. EXCEPT for TECHIES, most people are suffering. Print reporters are average people too.
Mikie, stop your self-pitty party! Union should have let this one pass. I think you're getting an idea of how bad it is out here. You have no sympathy. You're making it really difficult on all the politicians you bought,...making them choose a very UNpopular you, or all their constituents who have ZERO sympathy for you.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Aug 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Plato is mortal? Your original post said he was "moral."

No, that isn't getting back to you on it all. Had to work past that title first.

Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland
on Aug 18, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Daveg is a registered user.

Mikie has given his implicit agreement with the questions asked of him by his non answers. By refusing to answer questions that have no emotional ties or personnel opinion behind them, but rather a question of what the current union contract states, he has submitted to the fact that the answers to the questions asked are all correct. Mikie's set of arguments carry's no weight as it is all based upon his emotional ties to the union, with nothing to validate anything he say's. Facts need to be presented someplace in any argument to bring some semblance to the rational for holding a particular position.

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Your most intelligent post ever, Kath. Very impressive the way you sorted through Plato's deductive argument -- well, not the argument itself; but at least you seem aware that I misspelled a word.

Dave/SKJ, you don't think your giveaway inability to form a coherent thought escapes us, do you? At any rate, you've missed your nap. I can assure you no one on this thread knows what in the world you're talking about. But rant away. You're funny.

For all you messenger-shooters who can't muster an argument but can only bellyache because I haven' posted a link, you really haven't offered much in that regard yourselves. Which takes me back to my original claim: Beyond dishonest presentation of corporate supplied facts, neither of you has anything to offer. You make a good couple though.

Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm


The majority of the public no longer supports strikes by public agency transit workers. Get over it...!!

Take a lesson -- I made my comment and said it in less than 42 paragraphs..

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Still haven't taken that nap yet, Dave? Let me ask you -- or Arroyo as you now prefer to post under: Where did you come up with your comment? Does it follow from some line of logical reasoning? Any facts? Or are you simply voicing envy and resentment when confronted with the living fact that your education has terribly failed you?

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Mike, you're quickly losing're emotionally attacking and re-attacking posters that disagree with you, and so it's driving the discussion away from public support or non-support of the BART unions, and towards mundane items like spelling errors and name-calling.

Let's get back to the central discussion. Public support of the BART unions in 2013 is down, and decreasing. The reasons are:

(a) current BART employees' compensation is generous. It includes base salary, overtime, health, and pension benefits.
(b) the unions' demand for a 20% pay increase, while
(c) having the ability to hold the Bay Area hostage.

All this is all a matter of public record and has been reported so in various Bay Area media sites, broadcasters, and newspapers.

If there is "spin" it's being generated by the unions. The spin is that employee salaries have not increased in the past four years. The est lies arre those that contain a kernel of truth, and this is a prime example. True enough, salaries have not increased, but now let's substitute the word "compensation" for "salary." Anybody that has shopped for health insurance, for example, understands that it costs more than the $92 or $184 per month figures that have been mentioned in this thread. $1,900 per month is more in line with the real cost for a family. The cost of health insurance, and pensions, has gone up, yet BART employees are not paying a greater share. Thus the total compensation package has increased. But the union spin, as reported by the same media outlets that you, Mike, seem to think are dishonest, is that "salaries" have not increased. True enough, but salaries are only a part of the total compensation package.

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Joe/Dave-back-from-his-nap, since you're raising the issue of credibility, please show us how public support for Bart unions is down. Haven't seen this myself.

If your so-called facts (they are lies) are a matter of public record, please demonstrate that for us. Shouldn't be difficult for you.

As for salaries being 'generous', as you claim, let's be real. The salaries (as you refer to them) are a product of unions' struggles for a fair wage. If you call them 'generous', this is undoubtedly because they are unionized, as you aren't. Calling them generous implies that management has 'given' workers their current wages and salaries. Not so. Workers bargained for such. If it's more than you're making (not surprising at all), rather than talking about generosity you should be talking about unions' applications of strategic leverage, and then, after admitting such, trying to learn from them.

Your claim that unions are asking for a 20% wage increase is a lie if you don't factor in union givebacks. Inasmuch as you haven't so factored in, you are a liar and many times over, I might add.

As for your parroted claim that unions are holding the public hostage, the obvious response -- I guess you couldn't figure this one out on your own -- is that unions are holding the public hostage no more nor less than is management which is, by the way, demanding a union pay cut such that workers will be earning less in 2017 than they earned in 2008.

You ballyhoo about unions' spin about their salaries/wages remaining stagnant over the past four years, but you then admit salaries/wages have not increased. Your inconsistency is matched only by your inability to clearly think through matters so blinded are you by your resentment toward unions.

Other than lying about specific matters, and revealing your confusion about others, it is clear you haven't got a coherent position to effectively advance or defend.

Posted by Right, a resident of Downtown
on Aug 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Mikie, since you continue to vilify the dreaded corp media, please tell us either where you glean your pearls of wisdom or where else we should be looking to verify your unsupported claims. I'm sure you can't provide this information, but I thought I'd ask just to patronize you since you appear to be quite psychotic and in need of attention, psychological or otherwise.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Mike, again, the facts speak for themselves. My advice is to read the various online sources and watch a little TV. Here are some links to get you started.

Part 1 - part 2 to follow immediately.

KPIX poll shows public supports BART management 2-1 over unions:
Web Link

Statistics for above poll:
Web Link

Salaries are flat but total compensation has increased dramatically: San Jose Mercury News:
Web Link

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Part 2:
BART workers are among the nation's highest-paid transit workers:
Web Link

Bay Area public employee salary database (with search function):
Web Link

BART unions considering conceding some items they're asking for based on public opinion:
Web Link

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Dear Right, constantly changing your name from Dave, to SKJ, to Arroyo, only makes you appear sillier than you already appear to be, if that's even possible. If you're genuinely interested in reading about the corporate media (I doubt that you are), you might begin with something by either Noam Chomsky or Robert McChesney. My fave of Chomsky's is the Manufacture of Consent. If you're interested in how propaganda washes your brain over with corporate pig swill, you might try reading Jacques Ellul's 'On Propaganda'. Of course, I hesitate to offer these pearls to you, as I doubt you're mentally up to the challenge of reading them with comprehension.

Poor Joe. By the looks of your links (which, by the way, are a joke), you watch a lot of t.v. You obviously don't know how to read a public opinion poll -- it's all in the questioning, ninny. Nothing in the poll's questions about supporting Bart workers v Bart management. All the little t.v. poll DOES show is that bay area folks think management has done a better job of violating the gag order and spinning its case to the obliging corporate media. You're either too stupid to have picked up on this, or you're lying. Kath earlier exemplified the same tendency, either being too stupid to read a public opinion poll or, more likely, read it and lied with the representation of it. Both of you have lied frequently enough, here and elsewhere, so that to have done so again, for both of you, surprises no one. It's the pathetic face-saving postures of Kath that strike most of us as so amusing.

I'm trying to deal with you using the baby steps you deserve. Try again. I'm happy to help you out.

Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland
on Aug 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Daveg is a registered user.

Mikie, Mikie, take a look at the link that Joe provided for you regarding Bay Area public employee salary database (with search function) and then take a look at the comments on that link from folks that are voicing their opinions with the demands of the union. Perhaps you might see that many, many people think that the union's demands and current benefit structure is excessive. That is, unless you think one person is commenting using different "aliases"!
The only joke in all of the comments is the continued dismal attempt by Mikie to shift attention away from the questions asked about the union to childish, immature remarks directed toward anybody that questions his postings.

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Gee, does the search engine allow for distinctions between management salaries and workers' wages?

Thanks for admitting to us, Dave, that those comments you mention located on a search engine are all written by you. You're a busy guy, attempting to save the world using multiple monikers always made transparent by 4th grade-level comments.

You can lament Bart workers' wages and salaries all you want to, Dave. But at the end of the day, thanks to their union organizing efforts, they'll be making far more than you are. That must make you feel really good about yourself. What happened to you? What do you tell your parents? They must be very proud.

Posted by Right, a resident of Downtown
on Aug 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm

I'm very familiar with Chomsky, the anarchistic, liberal socialist. Now it all makes sense. You are posting from the library on the Cal campus, aren't you?

Posted by Janna, a resident of Dublin
on Aug 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Janna is a registered user.

Why is there either no link or a link a notorious right wing nutball site when righties post?

Posted by Daveg, a resident of Birdland
on Aug 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Daveg is a registered user.

Mikie, just curious; is this the Robert McChesney that you worship at the feet of?
Citing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as the exemplar of "free press" champions, McChesney maintains that "aggressive unqualified political dissent is alive and well in the Venezuelan mainstream media, in a manner few other democratic nations have ever known, including our own." Further, he lauds Chavez as an immensely popular ruler who "has won landslide victories that would be the envy of almost any elected leader in the world."
In truth Chavez had many links to violent terrorist organizations and totalitarian dictators. On Oct 12, 1999, Chavez was the guest of Communist China. While in China, he declared: "I have been very Maoist all of my life." Like the Soviet, Cuban, and North Korean hosts of past WFYS meetings, Chavez was a proud Communist and an enemy of the USA.
Is this the type of leadership you espouse?

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Good run, Mike. You created this thread 14 hours ago and it's generated a lot of response. A lot of it was instigated by name-calling on your part, but so be it. If your objective was to be measured by sheer number of words in the thread, my congrats, you're a winner.

All, here's a challenge. As tempting as it is to respond to Mike, let's let him post his response to this comment and then demonstrate our collective disdain by making no more comments.

Posted by Mike Cherry, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2013 at 11:19 pm

I espouse actually reading a book rather than going to a scumball right wing site that calls Chomsky an "anarchistic liberal socialist" and, oh yeah, who you claim to be 'very familiar with'. You fool no one, Dave/Right/Joe/Arroyo. Do you even know what an 'anarchistic liberal socialist' is? Of course you don't; you don't know the meaning of any of these terms or how they relate to and/or contradict one another. You possess a child's mind in an adult's body.

Well, you've got me with your accusation that I spend time in a UC library. In fact, I've used virtually every library in the UC system, Dave. I cherish each and every experience I have had in them, as they are amongst the greatest places on this earth to spend days of one's life. Have you ever been in a library, Dave? Didn't think so. You ought to try it some day.

Thanks, Janna. Now, where IS the link to your scumball right winger site, Dave?

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