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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

BART talks to resume -- what you can do

The parties are getting back to the table, which is a good sign because the commute this morning was worse than yesterday, and people who can't get to work are going to be more and more frustrated and angry. (The other good news: Maybe more employers are finding that telecommuting, for some jobs, isn't such a bad thing. My friend Alex Clements posted a list on facebook of jobs that you can't telecommute to -- barrista, judo instructor, and prostitute were on his list. A lot of other jobs, you can.)

So at this point it's important to put the pressure on the BART Board.

This strike is going to be settled by politics, not just traditional negotiation. The board has to direct staff to get this done -- and not to play games by trying to delay, increase popular anger, and blame the unions for the traffic mess on the bridge. BART is paying $400,000 for a labor consultant (whose job is apparently not to settle things, because if that was his job he should have been fired.)

I have to say, I've supported Tom Radulovich for years, but he's been very disappointing as board president here; just about every other elected official representing his district has come forward in support of the unions, and he's been largely on the side of management. But he's accountable to progressives, so we need to let him know that this can't drag on.

Generally speaking, the BART Board members are aloof, hard to reach, and lazy. They don't have individual email addresses. But there's a roster here, and you can email them at boardofdirectors@bart.gov.

I've had a lot of conversations with union folks, both leaders and people on the picket lines, in the past couple of days, and they really want a new contract. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it has to include a pay increase (that's not 100 percent eaten up by higher health-care costs.) That doesn't seem impossible at all. Let's make the BART Board do it.

(BTW, Chris Carlsson points to this fascinating piece of BART history.)


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