A few unmentioned things need to be pointed out:
The stated average wage of BART employees includes some salaried management, and likely contains overtime pay as well. This pushes down the average wage of BART union workers, as the average BART worker likely earns considerably less than 74K per year.
Studies show that 74K is exactly how much is needed for a family of four to stay reasonably above the poverty line in the very expensive Bay Area. Some BART workers are unskilled; some are highly skilled. Their variegated, tiered wages reflect this.
The union demand for a raise is commensurate with projected cost of living increases over the next five years. Moreover, much of their increase will be offset by the sizable shrinkage in medical insurance costs once the ACA (Obamacare) is fully implemented.
Well over half of BART riders make a wage/salary above that of the average BART worker. Over seventy percent choose to ride BART rather than drive their car. They find, in other words, riding BART to be a cost saver relative to the expense of driving one's private auto in and around a very costly region to navigate one's car. Fares for ridership on BART are relatively low as compared to gas, upkeep, parking expenses for auto users.
The corporate media, ever sensitive to the advertising dollars of their corporate masters, have painted the BART workers in a negative way. Why? Because a well-publicized victory for labor will make things increasingly uncomfortable for all employers who pay their workers less than they deserve. In other words, other workers will be impressed by BART workers' victory, and so perhaps use as basis for forming and articulating their own long overdue demands.
The BART workers' demands are reasonable. That public transportation workers in other cities or regions may make less than BART workers should have no bearing on the issue of justice for BART workers. What is more relevant is the following: Since the cannibal Ronald Reagan ate labor for breakfast every morning he was in office, the wealthy have amassed their wealth at a rate of 270% of that of the middle-class - those, that is, who are still working, who haven't lost their jobs to greedy corporate flight and irrational govt downsizing.
Since Reagan's cannibalistic behavior, labor has been in retreat. Unions continue to be busted up, while more and more workers are being forced to rely upon food stamps as a basic survival stratagem for themselves and their families. Meanwhile, fat, wealthy white boys in little boy tea shirts lounge on the golf course and fret about 'unrealistic' workers who dare to think that they deserve a wage that keeps them and their children in the middle class.
Well, labor has decided here to make a stand. As BART workers and most of the rest of us who work to earn a living fully recognize: A victory for BART workers is a victory for all workers.
VIVA BART workers! VIVA American workers! VIVA Justice for all!