BART on strike after talks break down UPDATED

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Buckle up, Bay Area, BART workers go on strike at midnight. After intense negotiations over the last few days, the two sides have failed to reach an agreement.

Leaders of the two unions fault the district for refusing to bend on the “last, best, and final” offer that it issued a few days ago. They say agreements have been reached on pension and health care contributions, but that the two sides remain far apart on pay and benefits, and the unions say the district rejected their offers to settle the remaining disagreements through binding arbitration.

[UPDATE: On KQED's Forum this morning, BART spokesperson Alicia Trost and SEIU Local 1021 President Roxanne Sanchez each said it was the district's 11th hour demand for more authority over work rules that led talks to break down. While Trost casts it authority to make changes like switching from faxes to email, Sanchez said the issue is more fundamental: protecting the eight-hour workday, giving workers predicability in scheduling, and preventing punitive changes aimed at whistleblowers and union activists -- essentially, preventing union busting. Sanchez wants that issue submitted to binding arbitration, the district has refused, with Trost saying the district isolate it from the pay and benefits, where Sanchez said the sides have agreed to a "basic framework." BART workers and union officials are current gathered at Lake Merritt Station and we'll have more on the strike and contract impasse later in the day.]

Both sides are blaming the other for a strike that will likely have a huge impact on the Bay Area, particularly if it drags on past tomorrow (Fri/18).

Meanwhile, BART General Manager Grace Crunican issued the following statement after talks broke down:

“I am very disappointed that even after six months of day after day, night after night intense negotiations we are still unable to reach a deal. It hasn’t been all for nothing, we were able to make progress but a large gap remains.

“Today I gave an updated final offer to the unions on behalf of the Board. It reflects the limited progress we’ve made over the past four days of work and it addresses the essential work rule efficiencies BART desperately needs to modernize our operations.

“The package is a 3 percent raise per year for a total of a 12 percent, with a chance to earn up to $1,000 a year if ridership grows. It calls for contributions of 4 percent for pension and 9.5 percent for medical.  I think the offer is good for the workers and good for BART. We’ve given our unions until October 27th to consider the offer and take it to a vote of the members.

“I appreciate the riders’ and the Bay Area’s support in standing by us during these difficult negotiations. We are not going to agree to something we can’t afford. We have to protect the aging system for our workers and the public.

“Thank you to the mediators that were involved, BART staff, and Caltrans for their hospitality.

“We gave it our all and it didn’t come together and that is disappointing to everyone involved. We have a lot to do to build the future: a new fleet of rail cars, modern stations, better access, and a stronger partnership with our unions. I believe we can get there, but we have to get there together.”

Information on alternative commute options can be found at www.bart.gov andalert.511.org

Comments

solely to avert a strike, it would inevitably have been too generous, by definition.

The BART workers, with their gold-plated benefits, have little public support. So hopefully they will be driven back to work and take the deal offered. It's better than being fired en masse and being replaced by people making half as much.

Greed only gets you a karmic demise.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

adhered to the contract so far, since the union isn't doing same BART should start the process of hiring workers, the training should take two weeks.

Posted by Matlock on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

They should be first on the chopping block. They used Brown's stupid "cooling off" period to take a vacation instead of negotiate. The unions even agreed to binding arbitration, which rarely favors the workers, but management even rejected that!

Seems like they wanted to force a strike no matter what.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

demands. The gap was always too far apart.

This is why a strike is good. With the lack of public support, the workers will eventually have to capitulate.

Mission accomplished.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 7:32 am

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by abcdefghijklmnopqrs on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:23 am

The greedy over-compensated workers should be embarrassed.

"Public sector unions ought not exist. Here’s why.

In the private sector a union bargains for a greater share of the entity’s revenue and profits. What it can provide in return is greater productivity, accomplished perhaps by work force stability, higher morale, and the belief that the common fate of employer and employee will be enhanced by productivity gains. If this happy event ensues, at the next round of collective bargaining, union workers can and should receive their fair share of the resulting gains.

In the public sector, by contrast, a union is not bargaining for a greater share of the revenue produced by economic activity; it is bargaining for a greater share of revenue that is obtained by force of law – taxation – or, if not a greater share, at least for a constant share of those revenues extracted from the citizens. What a public sector union can and does provide in return is political support for the faction that chooses to increase taxes or the union’s share of existing taxes. If public sector unions deliver on their support, they will be rewarded by ever more generous payments. There is no market that acts as an external monitor of worker compensation; there is only a steady repetition of a corrosive bargain – tax the public ever more in order to maintain political power. That is inimical to responsible government."

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

unions in the first place? Private sector unions make sense because the private sector is all about making money - usually at the expense of labor. But the public sector is about serving the citizenry - that's the job of a public employee and no one is really supposed to profit from it. So why do we have public employee unions striking and causing havoc amongst the people they're supposed to serve and who pay their salaries?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

Even FDR recognized that public employees should not be able to collectively bargain.

Posted by The Commish on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 7:44 am

if government workers couldn't form unions

governments would just progressively screw workers more and more

until pay and benefits became so low that no one with any talent would apply for government jobs

and vital public services

would go into a quality meltdown

Posted by racer x on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 11:24 am

were government workers being screwed? Were pay and benefits so low that we were only attracting the dregs of society to work at the DMV? It's not that hard to look at the data before and after Jerry Brown authorized collective bargaining amongst state workers.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

and thereby won better pay, work conditions, hours, benefits, etc

(try using an argument that makes sense next time - and which doesn't utterly and inanely ignore the entire history of the labor movement)

Posted by racer x on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

can not and should be used to blackmail the public and politicians.

After management have won this dispute, we must make it illegal for all transit workers to go on strike. Perhaps all government workers.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

nurses go on strike all of the time

the world clearly survives and patients receive more good than harm because one thing the nurses strike over is to gain higher nurse to patient ratios and other patient safety protections

your thesis is nonsense

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

Evidently your strategy hasn't worked for them.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

and their strong unions *lead* the rest of the country in many fights for civil rights and the public good

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

Striking hasn't helped the ones I know.

As care givers, they should be banned from striking. It will happen.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

that proves nothing

and patients are *far* better off because nurses have the power to strike

and so will be we commuters, because BART union workers finally stood up and fought back

happy fulfilled workers = a happy well run train system

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

contributing to their pensions, thereby taking some of the strain off the rest of us. I can support that.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

We need more people to wake up and realize the gawd awful damage public employees are inflicting upon California's future This strike will help.

Time to wake up.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

key public sector workers are.

Then they would have to accept reality and start making real concessions.

Posted by anon on Oct. 18, 2013 @ 10:01 am

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