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Monday, October 7, 2013

BART Strike: Faux Point-Counterpoint Gives Commuters an Even Less Clear Picture of Labor Dispute

Posted By on Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 8:20 AM

click to enlarge Nobody is having fun anymore - FLICKR/WALLYG
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  • Nobody is having fun anymore

After way too many days at the negotiating table, and with little progress, BART riders still don't understand why the unions and BART management can't get their shit together and just promise we'll have a ride to work come Thursday when the governor's 60-day cooling off period ends.

In effort to help commuters get why neither side is willing to get over themselves, here's a point-counterpoint from BART and the unions. Let's see if you can figure out what's going on here.

Point: We Shall Grease Our Tracks with the Blood of All Our Workers

By Faux BART Chief Negotiator Thomas Hack

As BART looks to the future, it's clear that there are many challenges. Our pension liability alone presents a significant fiscal obligation that we simply cannot meet given current contractual realities.

But perhaps a more pressing issue is this: Where the hell did the 4:15 p.m. train from Pittsburg/Bay Point go? Has anybody seen it?


Current fiscal projections suggest that unless we can get our employee expenses under control, we will never have a stable system. That's why it helps if you think of our employees as cogs in a machine. People don't bring stability, but cogs do. Good 'ol reliable cogs.

Fuck, that train's gone, isn't it.

It's one thing when a train breaks down in the Transbay Tunnel and backs up service for hours. We know how that happens, and are on track to acknowledge the problem by 2016. It's all part of our five-year plan to get you to forget how terrible the service in 2011 was.

Look, I'm not saying that our employees aren't people -- only that we can't think of them as people in this economic climate. By not thinking of them as people, we're on track to realize tremendous savings. It's a strategy successfully used by Wal-Mart, Starbucks -- all your favorite companies.

If all goes well, we'll be able to stop thinking of our riders as people, too. Although they'll never be cogs to us. More like cattle who are transported from one meaningless destination to another by cogs who have no health care. It's the natural evolution of the BART system. Deep down we all know it.

How do so many trains disappear? Off the schedule completely? They're on tracks, for fuck sake!

I'm also not saying that BART is a wasteful system, although I am asking if anybody knows how to fix an escalator. That would be really helpful, if we could fix those. And don't even get me started on the elevators -- because I actually have no idea how those are working. Or how many we have.

I should probably find out and write it down.

But we can't commit to keeping every cog safe on the job. That's just unreasonable. We can barely keep every passenger safe. We're just not organized enough to look after both our riders and our employees. It's too much to ask. The rats in those tunnels are enormous.

If the cogs want safety, they should go into another line of work, like BART management. I'm constantly impressed by how well my door locks.

Now Read The Unions' Response on the Next Page

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Benjamin Wachs


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