With contract near end, union wants 'cooling off' period, BART officials don't

Schwarzenegger asked to make decision on extending negotiation time

With less than three weeks remaining before BART's contract with its employees expires, management and labor unions have sent conflicting letters to Gov. Schwarzenegger about the possibility of declaring a "cooling off" period in the talks.

It will be up to Schwarzenegger to decide whether to grant a cooling-off period, which would last up to 60 days. During that time, contract talks would continue, union members couldn't go on strike and management couldn't impose a contract.

BART spokesman Linton Johnson said eight of BART's nine board members have signed a letter to the governor telling him that they won't ask him for a cooling-off period if a new four-year contract hasn't been reached by the June 30 deadline.

The BART board said it is serious about concluding contract negotiations with all five of its unions by the end of the month.

The board's letter to Schwarzenegger reads, "To avoid unnecessarily prolonging negotiations, we respectfully ask that you deny any request that a BART union may seek from you for a cooling off period."

AFSCME Local 3993 President Jean Hamilton said employees sent a letter to the governor Wednesday urging him to consider a cooling-off period because negotiations are running behind schedule.

Hamilton said in a statement, "We're likely to need more time. We can't count how many times they have canceled on us or refused to give us specifics on a new contract. We've been warning executives for weeks that at this pace we'll never meet the deadline."

Contract talks for BART's employees have almost always gone down to the wire and sometimes have extended several months past the June 30 deadline.

In the last contract talks in 2005, an agreement was reached shortly before 3 a.m. on July 6, narrowly averting a strike that union members had threatened if an agreement wasn't reached.

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Posted by Change
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2009 at 10:43 am

Lots of unemployeed people that would love to have BART jobs at the current or less pay rate.

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Posted by Frank Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2009 at 10:53 am

No cooling off period. The workers can cool off in the unemployment lines or try to find a job with the pay and benefit package they currently have in another state or another country. Schwarzenegger needs to take a page out of Reagan's playbook (the termination of employment of union air traffic controllers).

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm

No cooling off period. Fire those union members that refuse to be reasonable. With the high unemployment rate, there will be no problem hiring people to replace those with unreasonable union mentality.

Enough is enough, the unions have now seen car companies collapse because the union refuses to negotiate.

Here in Pleasanton, young non-tenured teachers are losing their jobs, and it would have been so much better for the teachers' union to agree to feeze raises and save some jobs.

Unions must go. Their existence is no longer justified. Pay people on merit, fire the incompetent ones. No entitlements. Enough!

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Posted by Outside Looking In
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm

That's right, it was the unions that forced GM to make the Tahoe, the Denali, the Escalade . . . the Corvair, the Gremlin . . . it was the unions that have fought the federal government tooth and nail over fuel efficiency standards, it was the unions that fought the State of Michigan when it tried to provide single-payer health coverage to all of its citizens (if implemented, would have relieved the Big 3 from having to pay $2,000 per vehicl in insurance premiums). Are the previous commenters management? Sure sounds like it - if not, if you're working for a living like the folks at BART, support them against the BART executive mgmt that make over $300K per year. Question an executive mgmt team that hires an attorney for $1.5 million per year to negotiate with those "rotten" unions. It's rotten at the top of BART because there is no accountability to the riders and taxpayers - they couldn't give a flip about anything. By the way . . . given the dire straits that BART is in, what exactly has executive managment with their $300K salaries and company credit cards given up . . . NOTHING!

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Posted by He shrugged
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 11, 2009 at 10:58 pm

The Gremlin was built by AMC (American Motors Corporation), not GM (a.k.a. Government Motors).
BART management and BART union workers are, generally speaking, both sub-par working forces. From the moment BART was conceived, back in the early 1960's, it was headed for problems. Combining several technologies that had never been tested has proven to be its albatross. We were promised triple digit speeds, we got a 78 mph maximum, downhill. Many stations are filthy and barely safe. Union workers strike or threaten to every few years. Nothing improves, but the cost of labor, management, maintenance and every mile of track laid continues to increase. Did you know that adding a mile of BART track costs close to $200,000,000!
The “us verses them” name calling is really getting old. It’s the same thing, every time: union workers are terrific, management is terrible. Same message no matter the industry or public sector. The argument is weak and so “20th century”. I’d like to see union workers shut up, and start their own companies that will grow to be industry leaders. I’d like to see them risk everything to start a business, make payroll, provide a living for thousands and do it with honor. I’d like to see them negotiate with lenders for scarce credit. I’d like to see them raise capital and develop innovative products for world-wide markets. I’d like to see them navigate the treacherous regulatory environment, not just in this country, but in every market they compete in. I’d like to see them create wealth, instead of constantly complaining about “management”.
How, you can tell when a union is involved? Simple, whatever it is, it’s overpriced, it’s poorly made and the workers don’t care ‘cause tomorrow is just another day to punch in the clock, piss and moan, crank out garbage clock out and do it again, day after day after day.

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Posted by Union Worker
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2009 at 6:25 am

I've been a union worker for 14 years - and I take great pride in what I do (work for a municipality). I come in early, leave late, try to do the work of 2 other people (co-workers laid-off) and still smile when the public/tax payers arrive at my window and yell at me because they had to wait in line (I am not complaining, only providing context). I know that if my union wasn't here to defend me, I'd be doing all that I do and would be making even less money and have no future to look forward to (retirement). What irks me, is that the union workers have to fight for everything that we have, no one has given it to us. Management continuosly makes wrong decisions that have trememendous consquences down the line and when things get squishy they either blame the unions or move on to another city (usually getting a glowing review from the current employer so they can get rid of them!). I've hear a lot about PERS retirees getting it cushy - PERS was set up to save public agencies money. The employers contribution was tied to the performance of the fund - for 20+ years the PERS pensions were superfunded, employers only had to pay between 1-2% of employee wages for years, some paid 0 in a few years. Now that there is a dip/trough in the market, the employer share is going up, that's the big grip. Management, like almost all other government and corporate managers didn't plan on any bad times. They screwed up. What's the answer, cut smart, meaning trim the fat at the top first then work your way down the food chain. Why, becuase it's the people at the bottom who actually get the work done and deal with the public. Oh, regard public safety retirement, yes, I'd like to have 3% at 55, but I also know that statistically speaking, police and fire life expectancy is less than 60 years old on average. While we all are speaking in generalities, we should acknowledge that there are good, hardworking union people and their are good hardworking managers. Its the bad apples that we tend to focus on most, unfortunately.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 12, 2009 at 8:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Union Worker wrote: "Its the bad apples that we tend to focus on most, unfortunately."

And who's responsible for these bad apples remaining in place? If we both agree that they're bad, let's get rid of them.

I agree with you, the little guy always gets dumped on. But even with a union in place, that still occurs.

My husband used to be in a union and then they screwed him out of $30K in retirement. So much for the union looking out for the worker.

P.S., if you have to "fight" for something, it probably means you're in the wrong job.

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Posted by Frank Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2009 at 8:54 am

Will someone remind me how many years the highway 238 corridor (Castro Valley @ 580 to 880) has been under construction?

"Drum Roll, please!"

And the little field mouse squeeked...

"At least 15 years, perhaps as many as 20 years or more."

And the workers sang...

"Look for, the union label..."

Like this comment
Posted by Reposte
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 13, 2009 at 8:46 am

I read these comments and determine that each comment should only handle one idea/statement. Because if there is even one tiny dispute, the entirety (baby) of the comment is thrown out with the bath water . . .

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Jun 5, 2017 at 9:38 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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