While workers throughout California are taking pay cuts or being laid off because of the economic crisis, BART train operators and station agents are demanding a 3 percent raise over the next two years, according to the Chron. Those BART workers, along with another BART union, also have voted to sanction a strike, the paper reported. In other words, BART workers have just won the award for being both the greediest and ballsiest public employees in the state.
A 3 percent raise? You gotta be kidding. Obviously, they believe that if they go on strike and cause traffic gridlock throughout the Bay Area, then BART management will abandon their demands of health and pension cuts and give the unions what they want. But the workers may have badly misread the situation.
Bay Area commuters are unlikely to sympathize right now with already overpaid BART employees no matter how bad traffic gets. Many folks in the private sector have taken pay cuts of their own, or at the very least, have watched the value of their homes and 401Ks plummet. As a result, it seems farfetched to imagine that they would demand that BART management simply capitulate to the unions any time soon. In short, it looks like we're in for a long, hot, smoggy summer.