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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Chron's big duck on the BART strike

You think that, in a labor town, the major daily newspaper would be ready to play a leadership role in resolving the BART strike. But the Chron's editorial on the issue is about almost unimaginably weak, essentially saying: Gee, the strike is a bummer, and it's tough to negotiate in good times, and nobody should win. Here's the money quote:

What's needed is a balanced outcome, not a victory for one side. The polarizing lists of unrealistic demands and counterproposals in the BART dispute offer a template of what not to do.
That's really, really helpful.

Not: The BART Board, elected to run this essential transit agency, needs to tell its management team to get back to the table and talk. Not: The unions deserve at least some reasonable pay increase after five years without a raise. Not: The money lost to the economy by the shutdown of the transit system is soon going to eclipse what the workers are asking for, anyway.

The Chron was happy to report that former Mayor Willie Brown (who is also a Chronicle columnist) is eager to help, the way he did in 1997.  But the only useful historical analysis of why this all happened comes from Randy Shaw at Beyond Chron.

 This is a big, big deal in the Bay Area, the start of what could be a long list of public-sector labor challenges. It's embarrassing that the major daily can't even take a stand.

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