BART Trains Stop Running at Midnight. BART Union Negotiations Go On Forever.

Just when you thought they were out ... they pull you back in
You know how BART is going to run 24 hours during Labor Day weekend while the Bay Bridge is closed? Well, maybe not! How about zero hours?

A strike -- and the idea of a Dunkirk-like fleet of small boats being required to move folks across the Bay -- is once again a possibility. While BART's largest union, the SEIU Local No. 1021 enthusiastically posted its 75 percent ratification of the transit agency's labor proposal online yesterday, the Amalgamated Transit Union No. 1555 did not bother to self-report its overwhelming spurning of the deal. Make of that what you will. Yeah, it was late -- but Twittering doesn't require vast expenditures of effort.

Even the French are growing less sympathetic with transportation strikes these days. You don't have to be an oracle to predict that with both the private and public sector shedding jobs and BART train operators earning healthy salaries, the public will not be getting behind potentially striking transit workers in solidarity. People are not in a charitable mood these days -- ask charities.

That's not to brush off union complaints of BART management's wastefulness as invalid. It's just essentially irrelevant the moment hundreds of thousands of Bay Area commuters are left in the lurch because a BART driver taking home upwards of $100,000 yearly goes out on strike because he or she wants the opportunity to earn a raise after two years instead of four.

With negotiations potentially kick-starting once again this week, the BART saga is the latest example of what appears to be a sorry trend. Take something intensely unpleasant and make it last as long as possible. The state budget, the city budget, the Muni budget, Gavin Newsom's gubernatorial campaign, Glen Beck's social relevance -- the list goes on.

Hopefully, when BART's clock strikes midnight, we'll be on the train -- and not standing on the platform.

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