BART: Would You Strike? - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Jeff Michael

BART: Would You Strike?

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Friday morning in our Studio 11 LA meeting, we talked about the two unions striking the Bay Area Rapid Transit. It was one of those times when we looked at a story and rubbed our eyes to make sure we were seeing things clearly.  Because if we are, this BART strike in and around San Francisco doesn't seem to have a single toe dipped in reality.

Take this ride with me and see if you can figure out where the unions are getting off.  BART employees are among the highest paid transit workers in the nation. The average salary is already $79,800. Add benefits and it jumps to $130,300.

One train operator made more than $60,000 just in overtime for a salary last year of nearly $175,000; a train operator who doesn't even really drive the train, just keeps an eye on the doors. Workers all have free pensions and full family medical insurance for $92.00 a month.  And against that backdrop, unions asked for a 23% raise over four years.

They are getting 12%, but this strike isn't really about money.

It's about rules.

BART wants employees to file reports by email. The unions want to continue letting them write them out by hand. Bart wants to send paycheck stubs electronically. The unions want them hand delivered. There's a rule that if BART adds extra train service to accommodate a special event, say around the holidays, the union can force the agency to add the same extra service again the next year, and the year after; even if there is no special event.

Now there's a way to ensure future overtime.

Against this backdrop the SEIU president said, "we made concessions but you can only bend so far before you break".  Everyone in our newsroom (except for management) is in a union, and we don't understand this.  Is it any wonder that it is harder to get a job at BART than it is to get into Harvard? Both require a high school diploma. Harvard accepts 6% of applicants.

BART accepts less than 1%.  Great gig if you can get it.

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