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Area's State Senator suggests law to block BART strikes

Original post made on Aug 6, 2013

As BART's unions agreed to postpone a scheduled strike against the transit system, one California lawmaker is suggesting legislation that would keep the transit workers from ever striking again.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 5, 2013, 3:52 PM

Comments (15)

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Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 6, 2013 at 8:50 am

I totally agree with Senator Mark DeSaulnier.
He is expressing the desires of many many voter's in the Bay Area.
I wish him all the success in creating this very important Legislation.

But Mark, be careful, I am sure most of you colleagues will put their tail between their legs. There are very few with the guts you have.

I am with you all the way. You have my vote NOW and in the FUTURE.

Thank you....

Julia Pardini from Alamo, California

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Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Aug 6, 2013 at 9:20 am

Talk precedes action. But I'll believe it when I see it.

For once, some reasonable thinking from a Democrat politician.
I'm glad to hear it....but it's hard to believe that a Democrat (with their huge tie-ins to Union money and votes) and an admitted organized labor supporter is now understanding the validity and importance of prohibiting striking power by "quasi-governmental" employees providing necessary services.

There are other ways to determine fair and reasonable compensation, than allowing workers to act as Highway Robbers--this is a stick-up, hand over your money. It's our way or no way. Give us what we want, or else.....

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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Danville
on Aug 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

"There are other ways to determine fair and reasonable compensation" Wold you support this approach to corporate pay for CEO's?

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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Aug 6, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I appreciate and agree with Sen. DeSaulnier's proposed legislation. Although I am not sure how seriously to view it, in light of the fact that he probably knows full well that it will never pass in our union-dominated state legislature. For all I know, he got "permission" to talk tough, since the state Democratic Party knows that he is in a district that is perhaps not totally solid. (But, perhaps I'm being too cynical, and should just congratulate him on taking this position.)

As for Huh?'s comment above, about legislating limits on corporate pay for CEO's, the government has no business in telling a private corporation what they can pay their employees, CEO on down. Even though I agree that many/most CEO's are grossly overpaid, this is an issue for each company's shareholders to decide.

Now, if Huh? wants to legislate limits on BART management salaries (as well as other public-entity managament salaries), I have no problem with that, at least in principle. There may still be jurisdictional issues, in terms of which government entity should be deciding things for which public entity, but I would agree that government oversight into the management side of public employees is justified. In the case of BART, I firmly agree that BART's management employees are overpaid, and also have overly cushy benefits, excessive vacation, and other unwarranted perks, such as the ability to apply unused vacation days to their pension calculations, etc.

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Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Aug 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm

BART gets federal and state subsidies besides the revenue from the ridership. It should have some checks and balances besides the union that is whining about higher wages and more benefits. They pay $90 a month for healthcare. Who in the private sector gets to pay so little. No one I know. BART employees are the highest paid in the nation in public transportion. They are powerful and know it and the public is at their mercy. Why can't our state say no to striking? We all know the true answer. Our politcal leadership is not pro business but pro union and its another way to continue to gouge the taxpayer and riders in California.

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Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Aug 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm

If we all hate Unions and the strikes that they may bring, please refresh your memory with the following (duration in days):

1) 1981 MLB strike (50),
2) 1982 NFL strike (57),
3) 1987 NFL strike (24),
4) 1994 NHL strike (104),
5) 1994 MLB strike (232),
6) 1998 NBA strike (204),
7) 2004 NHL strike (310),
8) 2011 NBA lockout (161) and, of course, the recent
9) 2013 NHL lockout (113).

Did I miss any of the notable ones? If not, WHY do so many of us in the valley have season tickets to the Giants, A's, 49ers, Raiders, Warriors and Sharks? The vast majority of these workers are non-degreed, high school / GED holders. Their greatest contribution to society is the ability to throw, catch and/or hit a child's play toy with or without chemical assistance. However, they share another unifying credo with the chastised BART employees - they're all collective bargaining unit members. A brotherhood that forms a binding Union. Yes, even our beloved SF Giant Buster Posey and his $151MM salary is a Union member. BTW, who pulls down this kind of money? "No one I know."

What never ceases to amaze myself is the crazed vitriol for any and all Union members unless they predominantly work on Sundays, in the evenings from 7 to 10p (or so) and have a number and the name of their 'work crew' in big letters on the front of their uniforms. More so, I bear witness on nearly a daily basis to 'neighbors' who point to Union members as the Genesis of all evil that invades their paradise then turn around and dress their offspring, head to toe, in the work uniforms of those noted Union members (who work on Sundays and so forth).

Prove me wrong with my characterization of what 'the work on Sundays crew' adds to society in comparison to the individual who operates a 60-ton plus vehicle at greater then 65 to 70 mph with an average weekday ridership of greater than 350,000 souls (source BART Aug 9, 2012).

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Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Aug 7, 2013 at 9:00 am

Posted by Huh?: "There are other ways to determine fair and reasonable compensation" Wold you support this approach to corporate pay for CEO's?

Yes, I do not think that CEOs should be allowed to take their companies on STRIKE. Imagine if they had a corner on the market and refused to sell their products: food, toilet paper.

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Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Aug 7, 2013 at 9:20 am

I agree wholeheartedly that NFL players are grossly overpaid however, their occupation does not directly impact the livelihood of millions who must get to and from work enabling them to support their families and pay rent or a mortgage. There is a huge difference in what each contributes to society. One provides necessary transportation for the benefit of many and the other is merely one form of expensive entertainment for pure enjoyment and distraction. Big difference most would agree.

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Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Aug 7, 2013 at 10:04 am


So to satisfy your salient needs for Roman Coliseum styled 'enjoyment and distraction', your opinion is that one group of Union members do not impact the lives of millions while another similarly educated group of Union members do. Fascinating.

Tell me, just who is impacted by property, sales and hotel taxes to finance the construction of each of these sporting venues (Web Link)? In December of 2011, the Santa Clara City Council voted to underwrite an $850,000,000 loan from Goldman, BofA and U.S. Bank so that a club comprised principally of Union members could build a $1.2BB showcase arena with 165 luxurious suites for their friends and sponsors.

By 2011 Census numbers, the current population of Santa Clara (not the county) is just over 118,000 souls. The county of Santa Clara has just over 1.8MM souls, inclusive of the prior count as well. Perhaps you'll disagree but by my assessment, the building of this palace does 'impact the livelihood of millions'.

The point. If you 'hate' all Union members, stop watching the Union members who offer "enjoyment and distraction" on Sundays and most evenings this time of year from 7 to 10pm. Stop showing up in masses at Safeway on a Friday afternoon so that they can sign your kid's hat or your replica Union work-shirt. However, if you revere and admire those noted Union members to the point of donning their work uniforms as well as putting them on your offspring, perhaps you could at least come to accept you actually 'like' Union members - so long as they work for millions and not minimum wage. I'll give you that.

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Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Aug 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Regarding Conservator's listing of various strikes by professional sports ahtletes, I think it is obvious to most of us that professional athletes are not paid using taxpayer funds, and are not public employees. We are also not equating BART employees with unionized auto workers, unionized grocery store employees, or any other group of union employees for private companies.

Conservator DOES make one interesting point, though, in that professional sports teams are often the beneficiaries of taxpayer subsidies, whether in the form of stadium financing, or special tax property tax breaks, etc. But that is still not the same situation as exists for public employees. Whether it makes sense for a given city or town to offer tax breaks or subsidies to a private business (whether it is a pro sports team, or a large local employer) is an interesting question or issue, but is unrelated to the issue of public employees going on strike. Obviously the cities or towns do this (or think about doing it) in order to then receive the economic benefit of having the team stay in that city or town, bringing in sales tax revenue, ongoing property tax revenue, and other economic benefits. Whether this makes SENSE or not is debatable, of course.

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Posted by Carolyn
a resident of Danville
on Aug 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Unions and pensions just need to be abolished. They are destroying our state and the politicians don't have the b***s to do anything about them. Once upon a time they had their place, but no more! It is time for everyone to have to actually earn their wages not whine about them through their union rep!!!

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Posted by Conservator
a resident of Danville
on Aug 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm


You are clearly a thinking person. I would however disagree with you regarding what the 'average' Joe or Jane who takes the time to post to this topic feels about anyone that they consider to be a union member. You have highlighted a criticism of the BART public-employee union, alone. I truly believe that the vitriol expressed herein is not so specific. That is until one highlights a group of employees that most don't stop to consider as a bargaining unit. In your own writing, you have chosen the popular description of "professional sports athletes" which carries a certain connotation as opposed to union member or union rep which carries a very different societal perspective. Think about it for 10 seconds and I think you'll see my point.

At the end of the day, these are all simple minded and somewhat silly discussion threads. This is a polarized topic and nothing presented will likely change minds one way or the other. It is, under the best light, a 'rant'.

I am hopeful however that when one pays their personal seat license (PSL) of five-figures plus to the San Francisco 49ers just for the right to then pay for each seat per season in the new Palace that they are supporting a strong Union. In one form or another, they helped pay the salary AND pension negotiated under collective bargaining agreement by the NFL player's association of each and every card-carrying Union member who predominantly works only on Sundays, sometimes on Monday's and every so often on Thursdays. Res Ipsa loquitur.

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Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:03 am

Prohibit since the service provided is


serves way to many many people to strike

similar to firemen and police in providing critical service

a base worker who cleans earns more then an average teacher in any district

a base worker can be hired on a GED or less with right contacts or ethnicity

when I return to earth I want to be a base worker for BART way easy big time salary.

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Posted by Ann debolt
a resident of Diablo
on Aug 11, 2013 at 9:33 am

Since he is a dem---he is in union pockets. The senator is a liar.

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Posted by Jake
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 11, 2013 at 6:20 pm

I believe in private sector unions and not for public service employees.
FDR warned us about this. Even if they are allowed to be organized, there should be a no strike contract. The current linkage between union compensation and management compensation needs to be eliminated. Management who negotiate for these contracts know that whatever they give to unions they will get it too! Public service unions have been electing their own bosses indirectly by having the politicians influence the management of various service organizations. The public service sector is unique in allowing management to have a union also! No wonder so many retire with pensions equal to or larger than their salary; and we pay for it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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