Thursday, July 2, 2009

Politicians Go to Bat for BART Unions

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 7:03 AM

BART unions are using their political connections to get their way at the bargaining table. According to the Chron, fifteen state legislators from the Bay Area wrote a letter to BART management -- at the behest of the unions -- urging BART brass to back off from its hard-line stance in contract negotiations. BART management, along with the unions, then agreed to a cooling off period after receiving the letter. Although the legislators signed the letter, it was written by the union that represents train operators and station agents — the same union that had the audacity to demand a 3 percent raise over two years during BART's massive fiscal crisis.

BART management had been attempting to extract concessions from the unions to help solve its $250 million deficit. But now with state politicians stepping into the fray on behalf of labor, it's unclear how BART will balance its budget. If you ever had any doubt about the political power of labor, this should finally put the issue to rest.

The letter was signed by Senators Loni Hancock, Ellen Corbett, Mark DeSaulnier, Leland Yee, Mark Leno, Fiona Ma, Elaine Alquist and Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner, Sandré Swanson, Alberto Torrico, Mary Hayashi, Joan Buchanan, Tom Torlakson, Jerry Hill and Tom Ammiano. All are Democrats.

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