Maybe I shouldn’t gripe. But I’m annoyed, like some others, especially commuters who depend on BART to get to work and school, about those train operators and station agents who are refusing to ratify a contract and threatening to go on strike Monday morning.
By the way, I don’t depend on BART to get to work or school, so this doesn’t affect me.
But, I’m still mad because I’m normally a pro-worker kinda gal, because I’m a worker, but I hate it when workers and their unions give themselves and other workers and unions a bad name.
Anway, station agents earn anywhere from $71,031 to $115,053. That’s base bay, plus “other pay.”
I found this information on 311 agents from on a Contra Costa Times database on BART salaries. These agents belong to one of three unions that backed out of a contract settlement on Monday. That union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, also represents train operators who earned anywhere from $81,706 to $136,330, when you factor in overtime and “other pay.” One operator more than doubled his $61,776 base pay by earning $62,432 hours in overtime.
Sure, maybe I shouldn’t begrudge them refusing to accept the four-year pay freeze accepted by the two other unions, because, yes, the economy could get better.
But I do begrudge them. Because I had to take 15 percent pay cut recently, and others at my work place are taking pay cuts of 20 to 30 percent. I also know other people who have been laid off from their jobs.
Sure, maybe BART isn’t the most efficiently run organization, and I’m sure there are lots of ways it could rein in costs. But right now, it really needs to rein in costs. It could lay people off, or it could raise ticket prices, but that would increase the financial burden on riders, a fair share of whom rely on BART to get to those jobs that they still have and who probably earn less than your typical BART station agent.
By the way, with 10 percent unemployment in the state, San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci notes, in her blog, that even in labor-friendly Bay Area, sympathy for potentially striking BART workers is pretty low, at least judging by online comments on the Chronicle's strike story.
"Sympathy for BART workers? Nope--anger is more like it," the blog reads.
As of late Friday afternoon, BART management and union representatives had not scheduled a new negotiating session, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says he won’t intervene.
Meanwhile, if you do need to find alternative forms of transportation you can visit the BART web page on updates and options in the event of a strike.