Today veteran journalist Mark Kreidler begins a new weekly column covering the coronavirus and its social impacts.
Co-published by Fast Company
On Friday, BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit] employees at SEIU and ATU will likely ratify the deal negotiated last week and the following day BART’s Board of Directors will likely vote to approve it. Apart from a few crazies on both the left and right who were hoping that the strike or the dispute kept going, most of us BART riders will be extremely glad that it is finally over and hoping that we never have to go through this again. It’s not surprising, therefore, that some politicians have attempted to exploit public frustration. Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer, who is running for the California Assembly, has tirelessly promoted his campaign for change in state law to ban strikes by BART workers. It’s an easy time to call for coercive legislation but a strike ban is the wrong solution for the Bay Area and it wouldn’t work.
Are BART Workers Strike–
A tentative agreement between striking Bay Area Rapid Transit workers and BART management has ended the employees’ four-day strike. The new contract must be approved and ratified by members of SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555, the rail system’s two largest unions.
Last night, in a statement released by Local 1021, John Arantes, BART Chapter President of that local announced:
“Tonight the hard working men and women who keep the Bay Area moving, can go back to work making BART the most efficient and successful system in the country.”
Added Des Patten, President of SEIU 1021’s BART Professional Chapter:
“Let us be clear that our commitment to improving the safety at BART doesn’t end with these negotiations. With this agreement, we expect that General Manager Grace Crunican will continue the dialogue with its unions on working conditions and health and safety at BART.”
According to SFGate,
With all the misinformation swirling about on the BART strike, there are a few things to clear up.
Here are the three things you need to know about the BART strike (h/t to Pete Castelli of SEIU 1021):
1) The strike is NOT about wages or benefits. BART workers made concession after concession on the economic proposals with the goal of averting a strike. BART workers and management agreed to a deal yesterday on wages, health care and pensions.
2) BART management pulled the rug out from under workers at the last minute by insisting on new workplace rules that infringed on the rights of workers.
Whether BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit] closes down this week will come down to one issue and one issue only: whether the BART Board of Directors shows leadership or continues to act to hold Bay Area transit riders hostage by using the same playbook a small minority of elected officials in Washington, D.C. have used to close down our federal government.
No one in the Bay Area—whether they ride BART or not—wants to see a BART strike. This is especially true of BART workers, who live in one of the most expensive regions in the world and do not receive a paycheck while they are on strike.
To demonstrate their commitment to reaching a deal before a cooling-off period expires tonight, BART workers have put a proposal on the table that is fair and affordable and incentivizes BART workers to keep the system one of the nation’s best.