Untied We Stand: The Unraveling of the BART Strike Conversation

Categories: Labor

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Aside from leaving commuters stranded, what is this BART strike really accomplishing?

What we do know is that it's definitely created momentum among all unions in the Bay Area. Along with a possible AC Transit walkout, there are striking concessionaires at AT&T Park, protesting security guards at Google, an embattled teachers union at City College, and Walmart workers attempting to unionize.

All of this union buzz has gotten public-sector workers' attention, but it's also managed to upset the rest of the working world in the Bay Area, experts say. Other Bay Area employees are angry at the benefits the transit workers are seeking: They see their own wages remaining flat and their work hours increasing while they're left footing the bill for BART workers who are demanding more - a lot more.

Meanwhile, across the country in a far less liberal town than San Francisco, the Chicago Teachers Union enjoyed the support of the entire community and other unions when they walked out seeking many of the same things -- higher wages and better healthcare.

So why are we not seeing that same kind of support here? Why are Bay Area workers so against their union counterparts? It all comes down to money. But why, when the U.S. Census Bureau claims Silicon Valley as home to the nation's second-highest concentration of wealth?

Labor lawyer Bill Sokol attempted to explain the problem to a room full of San Francisco college students one evening by walking them through a simple wage exercise, challenging everyone to figure out what they were actually owed for a week's work.

Nobody arrived at the correct figure.

Perhaps the real issue is this: Instead of turning to class warfare where the poor and middle class demand more from the rich, our society perpetually demands more from the poor and middle class. "They might be able to own their own home," says Sokol, speaking about the average salary for a BART worker. "Is that something we should be angry about?"

To find out, we need to take a closer look at unions, their history, and what they mean to everyday American workers.


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10 comments
Knowuuh Stevens
Knowuuh Stevens

shitting on anybodies plans who went to Treasure Island Music festival

seeforyourself
seeforyourself

Some people say Unions are old fashioned and unnecessary, then please explain why our  wages have been on the decline for 30 years for everyone but the elite 1%?  Maybe there are some trust fund babies that aren't worried but everyone else is tired of working harder & longer for less & less money.   Robert Reich's documentary 'Inequality for All' explains who has been manipulating of our economy and how 'We got here'.

Bubu
Bubu

BART workers did do outreach by handing out flyers on several occasions...months before contract expiration. The messages were BART is a green industry. BART gets you to the Giant games. Along with telling the story of how they went 4 years without a raise. So, not a good message? Didn't go to the heart of what Unionism is all about.? The flyers were handed out at most BART stations, so passengers should have been aware a strike was near!

William Dolan
William Dolan

Wow, haters gonna hate, this BART strike is FULLY warranted, BART management is who you should be blaming. Think about how much money they make and all the benefits they receive. Seriously, you wish you were a part of a union like this, more of us should be. Organized labor needs to go HARD IN THE PAINT when it comes to issues like these, wages, etc. No bargaining, either pay up or shut up. Wouldn't it be awesome if AC Transit went on strike as well, at the same time. Damn Gov Brown and your cooling off period, spoiling all the fun.

Dallas DeBurger
Dallas DeBurger

It's proving that the service value of unions has passed.

Stan James
Stan James

Internally the strike for BART workers is to maintain the control to question what managers do...because BART managers are not stellar! They are like foxes overseeing the chicken coupe!

PJ Lugo
PJ Lugo

Thanks for putting another dent in my already financially limited means everyday you keep me from being able to get to work you greedy, lazy FUCKS.

Bubu
Bubu

@William Dolan  As long as everything remains in balance and people realize that Unions pushed for the higher wage in California. Most people individually don't have political power or don't get involved. It can only happen through a collaborative effort! This is what the Unions provide. Maybe Unions need to ask of the haters...how can we help you! Instead of the consumers seeing Unions as a wallet drain!!

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