BART Wants State Mediator To Help Move Labor Talks Along
After watching this video, some commuters might sympathize with BART workers, perhaps even understand why they're asking for a 23 percent pay hike over the next three years.
Flickr/Michaelpatrick via Creative Commons Someone's gonna pay for this
But BART management isn't ready to give up that kind of money, and as a result, labor talks are moving about as fast as a delayed BART train. Instead of continuing the back-and-forth, BART is now asking a state mediator for help.
According to BART, the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 are "demanding far above what the transit district believes is financially sustainable for BART's future."
"There's no question that our workers are highly skilled and dedicated," said BART General Manager Grace Crunican. "But they've got to take a greater stake in the financial future of BART. We've got to normalize our employees' pay and benefits to bring them in line with the rest of the Bay Area if we're going to to keep BART running for another 40 years."
BART needs about $6 billion over the next 10 years just to keep the system running, she added. Meanwhile, the cost of providing benefits to the workforce has skyrocketed 190 percent over the past 13 years.
But BART workers argue that the pay increases are necessary at a time when ridership is peaking; and more riders means more safety issues a.k.a angry people with knives who can't hold it long enough to use a toilet.
"That's based on the fact that workers are working harder and safety conditions have not been addressed, making their jobs dangerous," said Leah Berlanga, a Service Employees chief negotiator told the Chron recently. "We haven't had a raise in over five years, yet we maintain this great system and ridership continues to go up."
Employees made their case last week with this six-minute video showing just terrified and grossed out they are by BART.
Neither side has mentioned anything about a strike as of now, but the contract expires in three weeks on June 30. We contacted the ATU to see how they feel about bringing in a state mediator. Stay tuned.