BART Workers Stage Demonstration, Say Move To Do Away With Paper Paychecks Was Factor In Breakdown

4:58 PM: Less than a day after BART union leaders announced a strike, more than 100 workers and supporters gathered today at a noontime rally at the Lake Merritt BART station in Oakland to protest what they say are unfair labor practices by the agency’s management.

Dozens of BART workers wore purple Service Employees International Union Local 1021 T-shirts or shirts representing Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and toted signs with messages such as “On Strike” and “Replace the BART Board.”

See all Appeal coverage Of BART’s second strike of 2013 here

Attendees heard from about a dozen union representatives and leaders of local organizations standing in support with the unions during the strike, which began this morning.

One ATU Local 1555 representative, veteran train operator Chris Finn, told the crowd that the BART unions did all they could to avoid a strike.

Finn, who has been part of the union’s bargaining team during the lengthy negotiations with management, said this afternoon that ATU officials had not received any offers from BART to return to the bargaining table.

“They are intent on causing a strike,” he said. “They are hoping the public will not support it.”

Union leaders today said that the union representatives and transit agency management were nearing an agreement over the financial terms of the contract.

But as talks drew to a close, Finn said, BART management “brought up a proposal … to effectively kill unions’ rights to bargain.”

The proposed changes could allow management to make decisions about major workplace procedures, such as scheduling, without first consulting the unions, per the current practice, said Gary Jimenez, SEIU Local 1021’s East Bay regional vice president.

“Obviously, workers are fighting that, because everyone wants to have a say in how their workplace is run,” Jimenez said.

“They want to impose changes in the workplace without mutual agreement,” he said.

Union officials say talks also broke down over BART management’s proposal to do away with a contract clause known as “beneficial past practices,” including doing away with paper paychecks and converting to an all-electronic payment system.

“Not everyone has access to a computer,” Jimenez said.

He disputed BART management’s arguments that eliminating beneficial past practices would make the transit system more efficient, citing BART’s on-time record of more than 95 percent.

“We are sorry that it’s come to this, we absolutely did not want it to come to this,” Jimenez said. “But when management comes back with ‘take it or leave it,’ it left us no choice.”

He said union members plan to man picket lines at the Lake Merritt station until the strike ends, as well as at SEIU offices throughout the Bay Area.

3:26 PM: Less than a day after BART union leaders announced a strike, more than 100 workers and supporters gathered today at a noontime rally at the Lake Merritt BART station in Oakland to protest what they say are unfair labor practices by the agency’s management.

Dozens of BART workers wore purple Service Employees International Union Local 1021 T-shirts or shirts representing Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and toted signs with messages such as “On Strike” and “Replace the BART Board.”

See all Appeal coverage Of BART’s second strike of 2013 here

Attendees heard from about a dozen union representatives and leaders of local organizations standing in support with the unions during the strike, which began this morning.

One ATU Local 1555 representative, veteran train operator Chris Finn, told the crowd that the BART unions did all they could to avoid a strike.

But at the end of negotiations, he said, BART management “brought up a proposal … to effectively kill unions’ rights to bargain.”

Finn, who has been part of the union’s bargaining team during the lengthy negotiations with management, said as of this afternoon, ATU officials had not received any offers from BART to return to the bargaining table.

“They are intent on causing a strike,” he said. “They are hoping the public will not support it.”

Laura Dixon, Bay City News

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  • native

    Replace the over paid union workers @ BART. They arethe best paid transit workers in the whole country .They also have the lowest standards for performance.

  • native

    We need to create a way that this union can not hold the working class people who need to get to work hostage.

  • mz

    This is utterly idiotic on the part of the unions. There is a lot
    more to “beneficial past practices” than paystubs, yet that’s what they
    are making this entire strike about. If there are legitimate safety or
    work rule issues, then let’s hear them. If there aren’t, then get back
    to work. Bay Area commuters will be far more sympathetic to workers
    expressing real safety concerns than workers who are shutting down BART
    over paystubs!

  • The Yaoi Review

    “The proposed changes could allow management to make decisions about major workplace procedures, such as scheduling, without first consulting the unions, per the current practice”

    UGH… I absolutely HATE it when my employer tries to tell me what to do. Like when they insist I be at work by 10AM. Pfft… Who do they think is paying me? Oooooh, wait… That’s right. They do… They pay me.

  • Christopher Riess

    “not everyone has a computer”

    On an average of $85K a year? That is their own damn fault.

  • poco

    It’s unfortunate that the Union doesn’t understand how electronic paychecks work. All that is needed by the employee is an active bank account. Yes, it’s probably more convenient to set up electronic transfers via computer, but it’s not necessary. The employee provides the bank routing number and their personal account number to the payroll department, and each pay period their $ is electronically deposited into their bank account. Super easy, has been done for decades – most people absolutely love the convenience.

  • Don

    How hard is it to sit in a Train and earn over 100K in wage and benefits with only a High School Diploma? Hope they fire them all and open the jobs to everyone at half the pay.

    • thesfmofo

      yes…because im sure your work is much more vital to the city. dickhead.

  • danno

    I’m a union transit worker in philadelphia for SEPTA . We generally go out on strike after every contract over work rules and I absolutely understand the public and their frustration over this. Let me first say it’s never the unions agenda to go out on strike it is an absolute last option and you rarely have public opinion on your side. That being said it doesn’t mean you should be held hostage by an employer who will not negotiate in good faith. I don’t know everything about the contract negotiations but I strongly doubt SEIU went on strike solely over employee pay stubs. A Management Rights Clause can be crippling to a unions rights to negotiating and the fact that unions set the bar for income and benefits rather than just being upset that you have to get up a little earlier, find out the facts of the matter before you judge these people. Remember the management that makes these decisions are still getting paid, the magnets on strike are not