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BART talks continue, but union leader pessimistic about reaching agreement

Original post made on Jul 30, 2013

BART management met with union leaders again Monday to try to reach an agreement before the union employees' contract expires at midnight Sunday. SEIU Local 1021 executive director Pete Castelli said negotiations have been ongoing but have been proceeding more slowly than they should because BART's lead negotiator has been on vacation for the past 10 days.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 7:56 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by William Tell, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 8:25 am

BART union won't be happy until they have 5 hour workweeks, work rules that prohibit them from doing any work, $1M annual salary, healthcare that includes five specialty doctors assigned to them personally at no expense and full retirement at age 25. And they way they're going, they're probably eventually going to get it.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 30, 2013 at 8:30 am

I would only add to William Tell's posting that when this happens, nobody will be able to afford to ride on an antiquated rail system anyway. Eventually the unions unrealistic demands will come back to bite them as layoffs and furloughs occur due to diminishing numbers using BART.


Posted by Don, a resident of Ironwood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 8:47 am

I find this whole situation a classic example of "greed". For any CEO of a company to be away from the table on vacation during these critical talks is really a slap in the face. If they go on strike again, the whole bay area suffers financially, and the stress it causes is beyond anyone's comprehension. There has to be a solution to this without punishing the riders who depend on this daily to get to and from their jobs etc.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 9:29 am

The solution is easy. Give the workers the wage increase that they've gone without over the past five years.

With $74,000 needed for a family to live a modest lifestyle in Bay area, the workers are not asking for anything extraordinary.

Mid-70s no doubt sounds like a lot to Willy/Don/Dave and others whose skill levels don't allow them to secure a full-time job. But I think most Bay area residents sympathize with the workers' goals.


Posted by bleed the riders, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 10:18 am

Mike, you could not be more wrong. One thing that is apparent to even the most casual observer of the BART unions seige, is that they long ago lost the PR war. Only the most shrill union thugs carry the mantle and the riding public are fed up with the constant demands, threats, lies and misdirections forwarded by union management.
Actually, Mike, I'd be OK with your cliam of $74000 annually---with no paid pension, no paid medical and no overtime. Pushing buttons on an automated train system is not a career that demands a six figure compensation package...if that's what union members feel they require, they need to change jobs/careers and learn some skills.


Posted by JTR, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 10:53 am

Yes, this whole situation is a classic example of greed from the union.

The CEO of any company, or agency like this, is in constant contact and could come back and assist the negotiation team but it would be a waste of time for the CEO now as the union is not cooperative. Personally I think their current salary and benefit package is too much so I am not interested in give them a raise. They got a raise and a free pension and heavily subsidized health care when we had BART board members who agreed to give away everything to the unions. I say no more raises until the benefits are in line and the pensions are under control. If we cannot afford the pensions then they need a plan with less payout. Since the union keeps repeating they don't have social security, I am in complete favor in eliminating pension benefits for them and switching them to social security.

Like said above, these jobs are not skilled jobs. The unions have priced themselves out of the market. Time for the taxpayers to take our system back.


Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm

The union has cleverly disguised compensation to make it look like they haven't had a raise in five years. In fact compensation has increased, accounting for half of the increased revenues over this same period. Medical and pension costs are up but employees are paying no more into those. Overtime is up, so take-home pay is up. BART's total employee compensation package is the highest in the state. BART's system-average employee made $30,000 more than his or her counterpart in LA transit. The $92 per month that employees pay for health care speaks for itself.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 30, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I strongly support another strike.

BART workers only want to live decent lives and to be able to provide for their families and loved ones. That's not too much to ask for.

Not skilled jobs? They are jobs and the jobs require responsible adults to show up and do the work. It's time and hard work out of their lives.

If anybody is unhappy with the workers are demanding, get ready for another dose of strike reality.

i rest my case...


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm

If anybody is unhappy with the union demands, take a nap!


Posted by David, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

So let's step back from just talking about train operators and station agents. Were you aware that BART hires it's mechanics and electronics technicians and electricians under promises of benefits and pension packages? Because those workers can make much more elsewhere. They give them so much overtime because they can't find enough people to pass their initial hiring test process.

The last technician hiring class set out to hire at least 10 new workers. Of the over 100 applications accepted, 6 people passed the hiring process. 6! BART electricians are so under manned that they have to work overtime, and BART can't attract a journey level electrician at $27/hr when a union electrician makes almost DOUBLE that hourly elsewhere. But you're right. They're greedy, those lazy slobs with at least 5 years of experience in electronics and troubleshooting (many even have degrees in engineering).


Posted by Homer, a resident of Danbury Park
on Jul 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Cholo, I thought you rest your case? And no they don't show up for work ergo all the excessive overtime.


Posted by JTR, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm

David, as long as the mechanics are in a union and the same union as the train operators and station agents, you will all go down together. This might be a good time for you all to break out from the union.

I am also not in favor of ludicrous benefit packages that BART workers receive. We cannot afford them. When looking at the employee 'salary' I look at everything including overtime, pensions, health care, etc. The excessive benefits are hidden costs to the taxpayer. If you want fair then we should make the benefits like the private sector AND THEN adjust the salary to the market (if it is really under-priced). Maybe once you all leave the union you can do this. Until then, no raises until the out of control benefit costs are reined in.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I don't know one union member who has ever lied about overtime!

some people...


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

David, The SEIU collective bargaining agreement and Maintenance Workers range from $27.24 (MW111 1st Year) to $35.61 (MW111 5th Year) or $56,659 to $74,068. A Foreperson makes a range of $30.25/hour (FP Electrical 1st Year) to $40.87/hour (FP Electrical 5th Year) or $62,920 to $85,280 annually.

A search for an electrician's wage in the Bay Area turned up several citations for $77,000 ish as the average salary. There was no indication of whether benefits are similar outside of BART or whether the private salary includes a similar foreperson in the average.

There is less certainty in many private electricians' work year (subject to supply and demand if they are at a trade shop rather than on staff at a corporation), whereas a BART employee is working full time, year round and has the potential for getting overtime. Wages, then, could be comparable. BART electricians could be considered to have the advantage because most in the private sector do not get free retirement plans and pay such small amounts toward health benefits for themselves and families.

It could also be BART holds their people to higher standards and thus are short on staffing.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Please don't confuse me with "David, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood"! :)
Also, enjoyed your "tongue in cheek" remark as "BART holds their people to higher standards and thus are short on staffing". It was meant as such, wasn't it?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 30, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I did address David, not Dave. David indicated only 6 of 100 applicants passed the test for technicians, so it could be higher standards . . . No way to know without the test. It could also be a bad pool of applicants. Just giving the benefit of the doubt to BART hoping for the best.


Posted by Anti-union, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm

(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


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