Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bart's Union Negotiation Website

I usually pay relatively close attention to the ins and outs of local politics, but I complete missed the website that Bart has set up to inform riders and taxpayers about the excesses of its current union contracts.

Bart announced today that it will hike fares in the face of the recession, essentially increasing the fare to ride to SFO so high that I doubt many people will continue to use the service. The high cost of riding Bart is directly related to its union pay and benefits. And, it might surprise many readers of this blog to find out that the Bart station agents and train "drivers" frequently make more than $100k a year when counting pay, benefits and overtime.

I realize that union-bashing is out of vogue with the rise of the Obama administration, but Bart is a prime example of how unions hurt pretty much everyone in the society except their own membership.

Unions even nonunionized poor people, because they make it more difficult for companies and governments to hire new employees. Sure, that's great for those who are already in the door, but for the rest of us it's terrible.

I applaud Bart management's effort to push back against the unions, and I encourage readers to look at that website and provide encouragement to management wherever possible.

I for one would like to see Bart demand real reductions in pay and benefits in the next contract, and I would be more than willing to suffer service interruptions during a strike to get there.

And, needless to say I would be overjoyed to ride a train driven by "scabs." If Bart got rid of its unions, I'd throw a party with all the money I'd save on my tickets.

1 comment:

  1. The common myth about unions is that they're responsible for the increase in standard of living of working people. The inexorable advancement of technology has continually increased worker productivity... increasing the amount of wealth produced by an hour's labor. It has also drastically improved the safety of the work environment.
    Public employee unions, as in the case of BART, exist without any competitive forces that would otherwise keep their economically harmful tendencies in check.
    Beyond setting worker pay, unions tend to take over management... implementing policies that further reduce economic viability. Cross training is strickly forbidden... and compells employers to maintain artificially high staffing levels... a.k.a. featherbedding.
    Other than this, they're just wonderful organizations... unless they know where you live.