BART should value its employees


Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) went on strike recently due to a disagreement on pension, safety and healthcare. According to the Huffington post, Roxanne Sanchez, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 said, “the transit agency and its two largest unions have ‘come extremely close’ to agreement on economic, health care and pension issues.” However, she said the parties remained apart on work rule issues such as safety.

As reported by Bryce Covert of Think Progress, “the unions say BART’s offer falls below cost of living increases. BART’s unions are also upset about a proposal for workers to pay more into their healthcare benefits.”

And according to journalist John Osborn and information accumulated by the Bay Area News Group last year, average base salary for both station agents and full time train operators is around $56,000 a year.”

BART leaders fail to realize the impact of this loss in pay on BART’s employee confidence. BART workers organized a strike based on a lack of confidence in their management. As BART employees’ financial safety net continues to suffer, BART officials continue to remedy the problem with no solution.

According to The Nation a recent study by the Oakland-based Insight Center for Community Economic Development found that a family of four needed about $74,341 to get by in 2011— an increase of more than $12,000 three years prior.

The Nation study shows that BART employees are working under the poverty level. According to the budget project, “A family of four in the Bay Area with two working adults must earn $77,069, equaling an hourly wage of $18.53, just to pay for basic necessities.”

James Buchannan our fifteenth president stated, “What is right and what is practicable are two different things.”

City agencies should not weigh the citizens’ right to public access of transportation based on their personal needs.

— Herman Stampley