I've said on this very blog that I'm a unionist. Most people who know me know this. I'm in the Teamsters and and happy about that (for the most part).
BART is the transit system in the Bay Area. Its a heavy rail train system that goes from SFO to Fremont to Richmond to Dublin to Pittsburg and all places in between on the different lines.
OK, the contract between BART and their unions is expiring at the end of the month. BART has a huge deficit to cover and they've raised fares and cut service. Now, they're looking at some help from Labor. I'll note here that the average BART employee gets over $120k in pay and benefits. I'll also note here that BART fares do not cover expenses, there's a sales tax addendum in the three counties served by BART and they get money from the State.
BART offered a no raise contract for the first two years, then a small raise in the third. The Unions turned this down.
Unemployment in the Bay Area is higher than the state average, I think it in the 12% range. Various city and county employees in the Bay Area have given up something during these tough times. I'm sure that if we get a contract, we'll be giving up pay and benefits.
Employees of the State have really taken it in the shorts. They get two furlough days a month and have taken other cuts as well.
So, with 12% unemployment and no jobs available, and a semi skilled workforce (the trains are computer controlled and how hard is it to be a station agent anyway?) that looks to be greedy, maybe its time to let the contracts expire and hire people who would be grateful to have a job during 12% unemployment instead of greedy bastards who can't take one for the team.
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