BART reaches tentative deal with unions, ending the strike

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BART union members and supporters rally on Friday, the first of four days on strike.
Tim Daw

The BART strike ended this morning — the second four-day strike of the current labor contract impasse, both of which hobbled the  Bay Area’s transportation system — after the district reached a tentative contract with its three unions late last night.

The agreement was spurred by the tragic deaths of two BART employees on Saturday and by yesterday’s National Transportation Safety Board revelation that the train that struck the workers was being used by the district to train drivers, presumably in preparation for offered limited public service during the strike.

“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement with union leadership that will bring the trains back into service, starting tomorrow, while union members consider the agreement and vote on it,” BART General Manager Grace Crunican said in a public statement issued at 10pm last night, withholding details of the deal. “This is a good package for our union members while still allowing the District to make the necessary investments in our infrastructure. That investment is critical to the future of the Bay Area.”

Union sources tell the Guardian that Saturday’s tragedy definitely created the conditions to reach an agreement, with the district softening its hardline insistence on its “last, best, and final offer” and the unions agreeing to some work rule changes, which they say the district and media had mischaracterized their position on. Technological modernizing will go through, but the unions retained authority over safety and other working conditions. 

For more on the breakdowns that led to the strike, the circumstances surrounding Saturday’s accident, and the aftermath of that tragedy, read tomorrow’s Guardian print edition, which goes on line this evening. 

Comments

What a major concession. Surely pensions should be free for everyone always?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 11:44 am

Pension contributions were agreed to prior to when management instigated the strike.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

The workers call a strike when they don't like the deal they've been offered and they think they can blackmail the management or the public into conceding something.

That really didn't happen here, and two people are dead. That blood is on the hands of the unions, because of their greed.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

Management instigated this strike by introducing work rules into the mix at the very end after all matters in contention had been negotiated and declaring that their final offer, rebuffing arbitration. This was a capital strike.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

It shouldn't even be up for ebate.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

Because workers have fought and died for collective bargaining in order to get a few more crumbs from our masters.

BART management miscalculated. They thought they could dictate to the workers and break the union by having scabs run trains through the Transbay Tube.

Instead, they killed two people and had to back down.

Their next step will be to push to outlaw public sector strikes.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

If you cannot convince me through debate that you are correct, then you should not be allowed to blackmail me.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

All hail the omnipotent troll.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

So labor impasses are always the workers' fault? That's some pretty stark bias you have there, Guest. As far as the fatalities, it was the district that chose to run trains with a trainee at helm after the unions rejected its ultimatum, against the safety warnings of all three unions, so it takes a ridiculous leap of logic to blame union "greed" for that tragedy. 

Posted by steven on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 1:38 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

Staking claims on health care and retirement income streams is greed.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

As is not bearing any risk for those eventual cashflows.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by hdbje on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

as evidenced by 1% receiving 95% of all new wealth generated since 2008. They must have gotten smarter; the fact that fiscal and monetary policies favor them is just a coincidence.

1% of the world's population has 50% of the wealth; 50% of the world's population has 1% of the wealth. Now that's greed.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

Bill Gates has billions but he also created billions of wealth for others, hundreds of thousands of jobs, millions of products that are used everywhere, and he donated most of his wealth to good causes.

The rest of us are less poor because of the wealth he created, and I have no problem with his net worth being 40 billion or so, and certainly not just because it is "unequal" or far more than I have.

But then I do not suffer from this envy bug that is going around.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

just because you write this same garbage here and on Mission Local doesn't make it true.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:33 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by hdbje on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

(This is very simplified and with inflation left out, to make the point.) If you pay a worker $50k per year and give that worker a pension for free that is going to pay $50k per year after they retire, you are essentially paying that worker $50k per year for, let's say, 60 years.

If you pay a worker $55k per year and make them pay $5k per year into that same pension, you are still paying them $50k per year for about 60 years. The fact that the worker pays something into the pension is irrelevant, UNLESS, the purpose of asking the worker to pay into their pension is to actually LOWER their pay.

And that is exactly what is going on all over the country right now with public workers.

When we hired the BART workers we made a very specific deal with each of them which amounts to paying them over their lifetime a given amount of money in pay and pension. This amount of money can be averaged over time and expressed over the course of the worker's lifetime as a yearly compensation as I have done above.

Here's the key. When BART workers got hired in the past, they -knew- how much that compensation was going to be, and so they said "Yes, I will work 30 years in return for that much per year being paid to me over the next 60 years." BART and the workers had a DEAL.

So when BART now goes to the workers and says, "We've decided we need you to pay into your pension." all BART is really saying to the workers is; we want to pay you less now for the same work.

Thereby BART is -BREAKING- the original DEAL with the workers.

Period.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 1:00 pm

The public will not tolerate everyone paying for their own except for a few public sector workers. BART workers should have understood the public anger about this and agreed to it earlier. That is why they lacked public support and why they knew their strike would not get them anything better than what they had already been offered.

And they are still overpaid so they can expect more of the same next time around.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

or do you have some sort of dyslexia that allows you only to write without having paid any attention to what you are responding to?

it doesn't matter which pool of money pays for the pension fund because *all* of the money that pays the workers, and for the pensions, comes from BART in the first place

idiot

Posted by racer x on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by racer x on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

When BART started, back in the 1970's, DB pensions were the norm as was the employer funding that. Over the subsequent decades, that has been eroded and most workers, at least in the private sector, have DC plans funded jointly by themselves and the employer.

It is an anomaly that a few parts of the public sector still have old-school DB plans and they are gradually and incrementally being reformed as well. This move to make the BART workers starting paying in and bearing some of the risk and cost is just a beginning.

You may also be aware that various municipalities have filed bankruptcy or may have to, mostly because of this archaic system of over-generous pensions and healthcare.

So expect more of the same.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

Then that's what management should -call- it.

Instead of this euphemistic bs about workers 'funding their own pensions' which has nothing to do with reality, and is just a rhetorical trick designed to falsely paint workers as unreasonable for resisting a pay cut.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

And it's important that the workers fund their own pensions because then they can make their own investment decisions rather than have a fund manager do it for them. Everyone's risk profile is different and so individual retirement plans with defined contributions is the way the world has gone. The public sector is lagging but each new contract deal brings it close, as we have seen with police and fire deals as well.

And in a recessionary environment, or when funding is low, pay cuts are entirely reasonable.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

of the prosperous bring prosperity to us all?

Now, we are in a recessionary environment when actual wages and benefits are under discussion?

Make up your mind or ask the creators of your propaganda for some clarification.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

would have been. Whether that ends up being as much as you would like it to be is another matter.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

makes it more full....

spout meaningless platitudes much?

Posted by racer x on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

Rather than split the pizza differently, bake a bigger pizza.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

for the last two decades, but the most glutonous have been getting bigger pieces leaving even less for the rest of us.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

an envious frustration.

Focus only on what you can achieve and accept that there will always be smarter and more successful people who pass you by.

You are still wealthier than 98% of the world even with that burger flipping job for minimum wage.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by hdbje on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

Pensions are part of a workplace wide negotiated pay package.

Individual workers don't 'make their own investment decisions' about pensions.

It does not matter one bit whether pensions are worker funded or not.

What matters is what the final amount is, of full pay and benefits, to each worker.

And this ploy (essentially a lie) that workers should 'pay into their pensions' is fairy tale nonsense.

The honest approach would be to simply cut the workers pay and/or benefits directly instead of using the 'pay into your pensions' deception which hides the pay cut from the public mind. If BART riders knew that this was all -actually- about how much the workers were having their pay -cut- they would have a whole different attitude toward the strike.

Which is why management is using the utterly false pretense illusion of arguing that workers should 'pay into' their own pensions'. It's just a verbal parlor trick to fool the public.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

The main determinant of your eventual pension is the investment performance. With a DB plan, if returns are crap, the pension fund has a deficit and the pensions won't be there anyway.

A DC plan places that risk on the workers, who can then make informed decisions about what to do with THEIR money. If they choose not to pay into their pension and take that risk, that's up to them.

So it is MUCH better to pay them a little more and tell them they now have to fund their own pension. Likewise with healthcare. it's the only way to rid ourselves of these massive unfunded liabilities.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

You would have somewhat of a point.

But they are not.

And in any case you are again attempting deceive everyone by steering the conversation to the minutia of how pensions are funded, in order to distract people from the fact that asking workers to pay into pensions which they were not paying into before - is a pay cut.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

And that decision should be placed closer to the individual worker, hence the drive away from employer-funded DB plans to employee-funded DC plans.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

Keep the pension fund -funded- by solely by BART at the same level, but put the workers in charge of managing the fund. That way we get the worker oversight and responsibility that you are merely pretending to care about, without the workers taking a pay cut. ;)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 9:48 pm

on retirement funds, converted many into 401(k)'s, gotten rich off the fees, returns be damned.

And to think Bush wanted to give them Social Security to siphon and steal. Obama might still do it.

Don't you tire of reciting neoliberal talking points rather than thinking for yourself. And if you are thinking for yourself, no amount of money can fix your deficiencies.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

precisely because I made some good investment decision, rather than be dependent on some centralized scheme.

My pot is the best part of a million and I have it invested across a broad spectrum of securities.

That is what everyone should be doing, and the BART change is just the first step in that direction.

People need to stop looking at employers and government for everything and make their own investment decisions.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

Just because you don't want to learn how to manage your retirement assets and expect the rest of us to guarantee you an 8% ROI for the next 30 years, don't cry to us. Call Vanguard, located in Pennsylvania. Invest in their Retirement Fund 2045. If you're really daring, take 10% of the investment and put it in one of heir other funds that you think will do better than the others over the next 10 years. In five years, if you learn that you're not as brilliant as you thought, take the remaining sum and dump it back into the Retirement 2045 fund. Sleep well at night and learn to live within your means, both considering current expenses and expected future expenses. Problem solved.

Liberals who think that employers should be taking care of our health and retirement needs are the worst kind - paternalistic namby-pambys who end up hurting everyone, especially hurting hard-working taxpayers. Medical and retirement plans benefit the wealthy and highest income earners the most. But that's how liberals roll, always sucking up and carrying water for the wealthy.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

financial security that can only come from making your own financial decisions with your own money, and not some institutional ponzi scheme that the nanny state comes up with.

Tripling in 15 years is good considering we've had two market crashes. Interestingly, that is about what SF real estate has done - the other key leg of my fiscal independence.

I pity those who are waiting and hoping that those government checks will come thru, because the government is broke.

Stocks, real estate and gold, baby.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

There is a reason there are not 30 year employment contracts in the real world - things change.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

Strikes Work.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

the unions walked out on a few days ago, and two BART workers are dead as a result.

Tell that to their families and let me know how it is received.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

No, the district dropped its insistence on full authority over work rules -- which is what caused negotiations to break down, particularly after the district refused to let an arbitrator settle the dispute -- after getting caught training replacement drivers and killing two people in the process. That's why the district softened its stance and cut the deal, knowing that it could no longer force the deal by running limited service while its experienced drivers were out on strike. The district's plan fell apart when those people died.   

Posted by steven on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

That's what managers do - make the rules.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

Those closest to the work know how to best do the work and due to that expertise should participate in deciding how the work gets done.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

of management is to make the tough decisions, and that really should not be in question here.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

Management's job is to put the pieces in the right order at the right time to deliver the outcomes. How the pieces get organized during the workday is best determined collaboratively with those doing the work. That's the way it works in the tech world.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

share in the profits via bonuses and stock options. They have no need of unions and would never strike, just change job,

BART workers are a throwback to the mid-2000's when everyone thought that government knew best and workers should be seen and not heard.

The situation with tech workers owning their own corporation is a better implementation of what Marx has in mind than anything the SEIU ever achieved.

Posted by anon on Oct. 22, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

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