The first day of the BART strike was a tremendous success.
Pickets at the BART facility at the Port of Oakland were honored by longshore workers. This was not expected by BART management nor by their handlers – the Bay Area Council, which is made up of top executives of many of the Bay Area’s top businesses and includes Grace Crunican, BART Executive Director. (See their membership list here.)
There was also a small picket at the East Oakland Bus Barn. AC Transit workers are also threatened with a concessionary contract and had been scheduled to go out on strike. Workers there were extremely friendly.
Meanwhile, the BART union leadership is trumpeting that they have more or less accepted BART management’s demands for concessions on pay. This demand includes: a 12% wage increase over four years (which might not even keep up with inflation). But this would be offset by workers paying 4% into their pension and 12.5% into their health plan, for a total of 13.5%. In other words, they would end up with a paycheck that is 1.5% smaller in absolute terms than it is now! And when inflation is taken into account, their buying power would be even smaller.
According to reports, the leadership has also made concessions on key issues such as contracting out. Feeling the pressure from their handlers in the Democratic Party, they are offering even more. See their most recent letter to BART.
Across America, there is a mood against the race to the bottom, the continual drive to cut wages and benefits down to the lowest level. BART strikers, joined by AC Transit workers, can build on this mood and reverse this race.
If not now, when?