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Friday, October 18, 2013

More details emerging on BART strike

So we're getting more details on the reasons for the BART strike, and it seems pretty clear to me that management is at fault.

The economic stuff is done. Wages, benefits ... settled. The remaining issue is work rules.

There are places where work rules are a bit crazy. (Check out the California prison guard's union rules.) But it doesn't seem that anything at BART is that over the top. At least, not worth this strike. Not unless I'm missing something.

The Chron lays out its account the disputed rules, and they go like this:

BART wants all electronic paystubbs. Some workers want paper. Someone has to hand them out every two weeks. Takes four hours. This is absolutely NOT worth shutting down Bay Area transit over.

BART wants workers to actually work 40 hours before they can collect overtime. The workers want to be able to collect overtime if they're sick one day and then work a schedule day off. This doesn't seem like that huge a deal. Hell, there are substitute prison guards who have a deal where they get a call in the morning to come in to work, and if they say they're sick they still get paid for the day.

The other issue seems to be scheduling. Management wants to be able to tell someone who's already worked 40 hours (many BART employes work four ten-hour days) that they still need to come in on the fifth day. The union wants predictable schedules.

The union even offered to take the work rules to binding arbitration. They'd win some, maybe lose some.

And management refused.

For this -- not money, not pensions, not health care costs -- we have a shutdown. Orchestrated by a labor negotiator with a history of problems. Sorry, I put this one on the BART Board.

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