Tag Archives: BART-Oakland Strike

Governor orders investigation of BART negotiations with SEIU, ATU

With less than two hours before the deadline to walk out, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a seven-day investigation into the stalled state of BART negotiations, forbidding any strike or lockout. Unless the Governor mandates a cooling off period or the unions and District reach an agreement by the end of the seven days, the strike will resume.

The mutually agreed upon 30-day contract extension between BART and its unions was a squandered opportunity thanks largely to BART management’s bad faith bargaining. The District’s $399,000 lead negotiator took a 10-day vacation in the middle of the extension. Then in the few remaining days, BART wasted more time:

“In just the final two days before the expiration of the contract, our bargaining team waited for 22 hours for BART management negotiators to counter our proposals on core issues of pay and benefits,” said SEIU 1021 President Roxanne Sanchez. “Our hope is that the Governor’s Board of Investigation will reveal how little time BART management has spent at the bargaining table in the past 30 days, compared with how much time they’ve spent posturing to the media. Our hope is that the Governor’s Board can show the public how BART has manipulated the process and continued to bargain in bad faith.”

To this day BART management has yet to make single commitment to fix any of the safety problems identified by workers, including improving lighting in the stations and in tunnels, where workers have been injured and, in one tragic instance, died because of poor lighting. Instead, BART has proposed to eliminate safety inspectors, the workers who make sure trains are safe to operate.

The Bay Area is not Wisconsin

In the final week before the August 5 deadline, the Bay Area community and California’s labor movement turned out in force with a strong showing of support for the BART workers represented by SEIU 1021, ATU 1555 and AFSCME 3933. More than 2,000 turned out for a United Labor Rally in Oakland last Thursday that featured actor Danny Glover; and on Monday a rally at the Lake Merritt BART station brought several Bay Area unions, labor councils and legislative representatives to stand united against BART’s anti-worker scorched-earth strategy designed to bust unions.

We never thought the “war on labor” — like we’ve seen in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest — would become the strategy of a public agency like BART, it’s clear now that day has arrived. BART workers are willing to fight back against extremist policies that try to rob working people of their power and their voice, and their struggle is uniting communities and workers across the region to stand up and say in one resounding voice: “The Bay Area is not Wisconsin.”

Spirit of sacrifice

SEIU 1021 BART Chapter President John Arantes called upon the media “to have the courage to speak the truth” as he said that “in 2009 the District came to us and asked us to sacrifice and we did — $100 million in sacrifices. And we all did it because we care about the Bay Area. But we also expected that in 2013, if things got better, ridership went up, economy got better, the District would be there for us as a family like we were there for them in 2009.”

“We must stand united, the working families of the Bay Area of California, and not allow the lies being put out that we’re a bunch of greedy workers. We are not. We’re just making enough to pay the bills, to keep our houses, to prevent foreclosures. We’re not getting rich, we’re not making $300,000 like the general manager.”

Read and share these stories and photo albums:

SEIU1021.org: “Walking in the Shoes of a BART Worker”

Photos of 8/1 United Labor Rally

Bay Guardian: “From the mouths of BART workers; cleaning the dreaded escalators, skirting death”

More 8/1 Photos: BART Riders & Workers United

CA Labor Federation: “Safety of BART Employees and Riders At Center of the Current Dispute”

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Oakland Workers to Ratify a No-Concessions Contract Friday Aug. 2

With the BART strike looming….

Roxanne-Oakland

OAKLAND, CA — While BART management continues to drag out negotiations, forcing workers back to a strike, Oakland city workers are voting today on a two-year contract that includes a 12% increase in take-home pay. This comes after a long fought-battle where Oakland workers went a strike along with BART on July 1.

“The City of Oakland has suffered financially much more than BART yet understood that workers who have sacrificed in bad economic times should benefit when the economy improves,” said Pete Castelli, Executive Director of SEIU Local 1021. “Oakland workers will be voting today on a contract that reflects the hard work and sacrifices they made.”

Once it is approved, the contract includes a 3 percent raise over two years and with concessions expiring, adds up to another 9 percent increases for a total of 12 percent increase.

The City Council is expected to give final approval of the contract today. Oakland employees will end two days of voting tonight. Results are expected by 7 PM.

The employer, which boasts a sizeable surplus — but not as much as BART — once demanded healthcare and pension concessions that would have meant a loss of up to $1,200 each month from each worker. Union officials see this contract as a game changer for the region. Oakland’s contract ends six years of concessionary bargaining. Here are some of the highlights of the Tentative Agreement (TA):

  • 2% raise this year, 1% raise next year
  • All economic takeaways withdrawn
  • City drops demand for 10% increase Medical Contribution. (Oakland employees pay no medical premiums/few contracts contain this protection).
  • City drops demand to pass through PERS increase to employees
  • City drops demand to shut down city operations for one week at Christmas
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Aug. 1 – Stand up to the attacks on workers at United Labor Rally!

Rally Info:

5p – Rally at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza, Oakland

6p – March to BART headquarters

Info: 415-867-5174 or Cfinn.2000@Yahoo

 

The BART strike is everyone’s fight.

Stand up with members of the community and your fellow union brothers and sisters on Thursday, August 1, to speak out against the attack on all working people.

When BART workers went on strike on July 1, the entire Bay area was affected, but this struggle is not just about BART. We’ve seen the same attacks in Wisconsin and across the county, and, among our own Local 1021 members, on the city workers of Oakland, Hayward and San Francisco, and workers at the Port of Oakland, Oakland Airport and many other places.

These attacks are part of the austerity attacks on all working people, with bosses demanding cuts to jobs, wages, and medical and pension benefits. They’re trying to take away everything that workers have won through generations of struggle, forcing millions of home foreclosures, cuts to essential services, downsizing of public education, and looting of the public treasury to “bail out” Wall Street while hard working people are forced to do more with less.

SEIU 1021 members will join our brothers and sisters from ATU 1555, ATU 192, AFSCME 3993, ILWU 10 and other Bay Area unions in calling for all working people to stand up in strength and solidarity. Non-union and immigrant workers are more vulnerable and face even greater struggles. We invite all affected and concerned workers to come out and join us on Thursday, August 1.

Download a flier.

 

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SEIU 1021 reveals extent of BART negotiator’s union-busting background

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Pictured: SEIU 1021 lead negotiator Josie Mooney called on BART to send a substitute negotiator at a press conference on July 22, the day BART’s lead negotiator began a 10-day vacation.

SEIU 1021 released a report this week that exposes the anti-union background of lead BART negotiator Thomas Hock at a press conference held the same day Hock began a 10-day vacation just as bargaining approaches the most critical days — right before a state mediator’s 30-day extension expires on August 4.

On Monday BART informed SEIU and ATU that discussions on their general proposals, including all their economic proposals, could not even begin until Hock returned. That is, after six fruitless months at the table, the unions’ major proposals don’t even get discussed until three days before the end of the extension. And BART still refuses even to discuss the unions’ safety issues.

“Hock intentionally created the conditions for a strike by surface bargaining, a technique designed not to make progress. He used the strike to create a backlash against workers,” said SEIU 1021 President Roxanne Sanchez, noting that Hock is not available to bargain 10 of the 14 days remaining on the extension.

“We, however, are committed and will be here every day, and are asking the BART board and general manager to send someone with the authority to bargain or else they’re creating the same conditions that led to the four-day strike on July 1.”

According to the report, Hock has taken part in negotiations resulting in seven transit system strikes over the past 11 years, including a three-day transit worker strike in Austin in 2008. Hock and his companies have also been accused multiple times of harassment and discrimination based on race, gender and disability.

“We are alarmed that [BART] would have hired an individual with that track record,” Sanchez said. “This negotiation style is not welcome in the Bay Area. It is unnecessary. And to hold at ransom the public and the commuters and our community, and workers without pay, to destroy the little growth we’re having in our economic rebound, is unconscionable.”

Get more details.  |  Download the report.

 

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Thomas Hock and His $399,000 in Taxpayer-Funded Salary to Go On Vacation, Resulting In the Cancelation of BART Negotiations While Bay Area Is Left Hanging

Oakland, CA – A week after provoking a strike and leaving thousands of Bay Area residents stranded, Thomas Hock, the District’s high-paid, out-of-town negotiator with a long history of anti-union practices, has effectively canceled BART negotiations.

Statement from SEIU Local 1021:

“With a possible disruption in Bay Area rider service hanging in the balance, Thomas Hock and his $399,000 taxpayer funded salary are going on vacation, which has caused the cancelation of an entire week of negotiations. This makes it clear for all to see that BART Board President Tom Radulovich, BART General Manager Grace Crunican and their hatchet man, Thomas Hock, are simply not engaging in good faith negotiations,” said John Arantes, President of the BART Chapter of SEIU 1021. “Where can Hock be going on vacation that is more important than making sure the interests of the taxpayers paying his $399,000 a year salary? Given what he is being paid, Hock needs to cancel his vacation and get back to the negotiating table.”

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#BARTStrike: “We are all BART”

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Why all working people should care what happens in the BART struggle.

Last week, employees of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) made national news with a four-day strike that quickly became a test of wills between BART management and the striking workers, represented by SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555. In the wake of Wisconsin, the Chicago teachers’ strike and other high-profile labor battles of recent years, the BART strike is already being seen as the next defining moment testing the strength and survival instincts of public sector unions. It is a fight we cannot afford to lose.

On Friday, both sides agreed to a state mediator’s request to extend their contracts by 30 days so that negotiations could continue and the trains — which carry 400,000 riders a day — could keep rolling.

The road ahead

The San Francisco news website Beyond Chron has reported that the unions “have already won” — by standing firm, we can only emerge with a better contract than management’s last offer. Beyond Chron may be the only publication to think so, however. On the contrary, the often biased, pro-management slant of mainstream media coverage has become a news story itself.

The media has thrown much ink and many airwaves at “greedy” workers’ wage proposals yet overwhelmingly ignored the management takeaways and other critical issues that pushed BART workers to sacrifice their paychecks, and a paid holiday, to strike:

  • BART management refused to negotiate about safety issues, including lighting in tunnels — a situation that cost one BART electrician his life several years ago.
  • BART management has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
  • BART management proposed offering a raise in exchange for eliminating safety inspectors — a measure BART workers refused.
  • BART management has spent over half a million dollars to bring in union-busting consultants to pretend to negotiate, while refusing to bargain in good faith.

BART’s general manager, Grace Crunican, receives $320,000 in base salary (after a $20,000 raise less than six months after starting work), and will be vested in health care for life after only two years — all while demanding further cuts from BART’s frontline workers. If BART can get away with this while in the spotlight of the national media, the rest of us are next.

We are all BART

It does not matter if you earn more or less than BART workers, or if your benefits are better or worse. BART management has shown callous indifference to both their employees and their riders:

  • By lining their own pockets while demanding cuts from their workforce,
  • By emptying the coffers on union-busting negotiators and attorneys to fight health and safety rulings,
  • By leaving the public stranded for four days rather than negotiate in good faith with their employees.

Today it’s BART; tomorrow it’s the rest of us. For more information on how you can help BART workers win a fair contract:

  1. Follow @SEIU1021 on Twitter.
  2. Share and comment on Facebook.
  3. Sign up at KeepBartRunning.com to receive regular email updates.

 

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Challenge BART Management – 7/10-11

We 7/10 – 1:30p – Near Market and 6th, San Francisco

SEIU 1021 members and community supporters will challenge BART leadership to a debate over their decision to approve bonuses and compensation increases to BART’s top manager.

View the Facebook Event.

 

Th 7/11 – 8:30a – 344 20th St., Oakland

Members and allies will converge on the Board of Directors meeting to speak out against BART’s decision to spend $1 million on union busting propaganda and consultants instead of bargaining in good faith.

View the Facebook Event.

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SEIU 1021 Issues Statements on End of BART Strike

Oakland, CA – Late last night, SEIU 1021, ATU, and the BART District agreed to accept the state mediators’ proposal to extend the current contract through August 4, 2013. The agreement, designed to encourage good faith bargaining, bars lockouts, strikes, and includes measures that would prevent unilateral implementation of a contract.

A Statement from Roxanne Sanchez, SEIU 1021 President:

“Today BART workers can return to working on a system that they’ve helped make one of the country’s best and get back to keeping the Bay Area moving.

We regret that BART’s high-paid, out-of-state negotiators did not share this same commitment to our communities, that they chose to stall and bargain through the media, consequently leaving hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents stranded and costing our local economy hundreds of millions of dollars. BART workers would like to assure the public that we are working diligently to quickly reach a resolution that is fair and improves safety for both riders and workers.

We thank the leadership of Labor Secretary Marty Morgenstern and the work of the mediators to bring about an agreement that gives BART management the chance to reverse direction and do the right thing.”

Statement from Pete Castelli, SEIU 1021 Executive Director, on BART negotiations:

“We are happy to be back to work moving the Bay Area, but we do so knowing that BART management has raised hypocrisy to a whole new level. Management has spent taxpayer money on themselves like they were Wall Street bankers! While BART General Manager Grace Crunican pays herself $320,000/year, she refuses to adjust employee compensation to simply keep up with the cost of living here in the Bay Area.

BART management has spent a million dollars of taxpayer money paying consultants to pursue a union busting strategy based on the tactics of what anti-labor forces have done in the Midwest over the last several years. But we have news for them: the Bay Area will stand up for working people.”

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Update! 7/4 Rally moved to 11a at Lake Merritt BART

Join us at 11:00 am at the Lake Merrit BART station, 8th & Oak Streets, Oakland.

The District has hardly started to engage in serious negotiations and yet it is already considering imposition – a move that would be essentially declaring war on riders and the union.

View the Facebook Event.

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New Bargaining Dates Set for Oakland City Workers

After a successful one-day strike where 3,500 city workers set up picket lines throughout the city, Mayor Jean Quan’s office offers dates to bargain with city employees this Friday, July 5 and Monday, July 8.

Oakland — With the ongoing BART strike as a backdrop, and after a successful one-day strike, Oakland city workers are heading back to the bargaining table on Friday.

“We work for the citizens of this community, not just for City Hall,” said Dwight McElroy, Oakland Chapter President of SEIU 1021. “Dozens of community organizations joined us in our struggle at the picket lines. It is with their support that we anticipate productive movement at the table.”

The community has pledged statements of support with workers in their demands, highlighted on July 1, for an economy that works well for all. And calls on the city to aim at the true culprits – the Wall Street profiteers – not at the working class of this community.

More than 5,000 people joined in the day-long strike, from community and labor allies to elected officials. Both SEIU 1021 and IFTPE Local 21 went on strike over Unfair Labor Practices related to bad faith bargaining and refusal to give vital financial information related to bargaining. They returned to work the following day.

“We hope the city is finally ready to settle a fair, no concession contract that bolsters much-needed public services for the community and recognizes the contribution of Oakland’s city workers,” McElroy said.

CONTACT: Anna Bakalis, SEIU 1021, 510-387-5341

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