BART facing criticism for paying bonuses to employees

Agency says bonuses part of labor contract signed after two strikes in 2013

BART is facing criticism for providing contractually required bonuses to employees, but the transit agency is arguing the bonuses are an important incentive for hard-working employees.

The bonuses are part of the 2013-2017 labor contract signed after an acrimonious negotiation that led to two strikes in 2013. BART's roughly 3,350 employees get $500 a year for every 1 percent increase in ridership,

with a cap of $1,000.

No bonus was paid in 2013 and 2014, but employees did receive a bonus last year. This year they will get the full $1,000 after a 3.2 percent growth in ridership, BART spokesman Taylor Huckaby said.

As ridership increases, workers have to work harder for longer hours, and the bonus is an important incentive for employees working under greater strain, Huckaby said.

"It's very difficult to tell workers to work harder and longer and not have anything in return," he said.

But state Sen. Steve Glazer, a vocal BART critic since the 2013 strikes, called the bonuses "an outrageous giveaway of taxpayer money by a transit system that is billions of dollars in capital debt."

"This secret bonus is on top of the 15.4 percent raises BART gave to all workers and managers in its last contract," Glazer said.

BART has faced mounting infrastructure problems in recent weeks and months, including the recent shutdown of the line between the North Concord/Martinez and Pittsburg/Bay Point stations because of mysterious electrical problems.

BART is planning on asking voters to approve a bond measure for $3.5 billion in infrastructure improvements this November.

Huckaby pointed out that the cost of the bonuses are covered entirely by revenue from fares since as ridership increases, so does fare revenue. The bonuses amount to about $80 per month per employee, he said.

Scott Morris, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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17 people like this
Posted by AlamedaCountyNative
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 28, 2016 at 10:17 am

BART has a $3.5 billion bond for capital improvements on the ballot this November. To build public opinion they're giving a $1000 bonus to all employees. In looking at thisdata base, a quick search found 350 staff members with a salary over $170,000. I guess they need that bonus to feed their families.

Like this comment
Posted by AlamedaCountyNative
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Mar 28, 2016 at 10:21 am

Sorry. Here's the link
Web Link

8 people like this
Posted by Jason
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Mar 28, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Wasting tax dollars is not good for any agency. The argument that more riders means longer hours is not true. BART added more employees to cover any additional work. So the workers are not working harder. On top of that, how many of us can say we received a 15% raise last year? BART employees did. By being in a union, they hold the public hostage and anytime they don't get what they want, they go on strike.

6 people like this
Posted by Anti-public union
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2016 at 11:44 pm

Remember in just the final weekend of the last labor battle, BART fattened benefits 48 percent !!! That would never happen in our real world...only those who suck up public dollars.
Daniel Borenstein in Sunday's 3/27 BayArea Times, had a great BART editorial on the diversionary scare tactics because of the upcoming BART tax vote on the ballot. Even after their excesses, they have the gall to ask us for Billions more in that election.
Borenstein reminds us the BART workers do not put in 40 hour work weeks, do not pay their full share of pension costs & health care premiums, and receive free benefits such life insurance and retirement savings addition to their pensions.
Wow!! if only....I can't even imagine such excesses.
Interesting editorial about their recent diversionary tactics showing how badly more $$ are needed for BART. That may be true, because of these labor excesses...lots of bad recent choices. The solution to their repeated excesses is always to run back to us...then shame on us if we don't cave in. They seem unable to budget and we have to do to bail out their excesses.

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