So, my first commute day during the Bart strike pretty much was sucky all the way around. And I leave really early in the morning. Like butt cheek of dawn early. Although it does just go to show you that lots of people in the Bay Area rely on Bart to get to where they need to go because holy hell if this keeps up my road rage will build back up to Hulk like levels.
For those that were unclear about why Bart unions are striking SF Gate has a pretty solid breakdown:
Both the unions and BART management agreed that the two sides were close to an agreement on economic issues Thursday, but the talks broke down over the transit agency’s call for work rule changes.
When BART and union representatives talk about “work rules” leading to the breakdown in negotiations, they’re primarily referring to a clause in their contract that refers to past practices, or the way things have been done previously. To change a past practice, BART’s contracts require mutual agreement between management and the unions which can be hard to get.
According to BART officials, that makes it difficult to make technological changes like having station agents file reports by e-mail instead of writing them out longhand, using e-mail instead of fax machines to send documents and sending paycheck stubs to each work location electronically instead of hand-delivering them.
The worst part of all this is that the Federal mediators who have been working with the two sides have returned back to Washington.
This other short piece on how dependent the Bay Area is on public transit is pretty powerful too:
Last year, nearly 16 percent of Bay Area workers, or about 331,000 people, regularly used mass transit to get to their jobs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That puts San Francisco ahead of Washington D.C. (14 percent there use public transit), Boston (12 percent) and Chicago (11 percent).
So I guess in the mean time Alameda, take the ferry if you can take the ferry. Take the bus if you can take the bus. Work from home if you can. Drive if you have to but just be prepared to sit in a lot of traffic if you do.
Oh, as an aside from what I understand there has been pressure on some of the Bart Board members to bend to the will of the union or else face consequences come next election cycle. It was sort of alluded to here in this Matier and Ross piece:
Board members tell of getting calls both from politicians and the heads of their local Democratic parties. In at least one case, a county party leader hinted that that there could be paybacks down the line if BART directors continued taking a hard line with the unions.
Most of the politicians who showed up outside the talks over the weekend were clearly on the unions’ side. Two notable exceptions were state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom — who offered advice and reality checks to both sides.
The Tribune was a lot less coy and named the politicians that have been involved in the talks:
With the strike deadline approaching, state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-Hayward, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and former Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, who serves as Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s deputy, stuck their noses in where they didn’t belong.
Rumor has it that Robert Raburn (aka Alameda’s representative) maybe on the list of targeted Board members for not being sufficiently supportive of the unions because he won’t tell Bart management to give the unions whatever they want.