BART strike from a historical perspective

it's pretty disappointing to see how many people in the relatively left leaning bay area are eating up the anti-union propaganda being spit out by the capitalist media. it makes no sense at all for working people to go around claiming that BART employees should be paid less. if wages go down for one group of people, they are more likely to go down for everyone. if BART pays their workers a decent wage, they are less likely to go look for other jobs. if they are paid crummy wages, they are more likely to look for other jobs. the more people interested in a job, the less the bosses can get away with paying their workers. unless you are an owner or a boss, you should want the BART employees to be paid a good wage. in 1997 at least some knew that an injury to one, is an injury to all.

here is a pretty good article written in 1997 about the BART strike that took place back then, some of the media coverage and some of the reasons, many of which are still relevant today:
The extension of BART lines is critical to the development of vast new housing tracts in Tassajara Valley, Dougherty Valley, and other areas on the fringes of the cities of eastern Contra Costa County. The strike amply demonstrated that without BART service, there's no way for the prospective residents of these developments to get to work, other than on the freeway. Unlike bus systems of the inner urban core, there are no alternative public transit systems in the suburban fringe which can take commuters to their downtown jobs.

The Bay Area's powerful land developers have a big reason to ensure that BART's construction budget grows without limit, while the district holds the line on operating expenses.

if this strike does take place, it would be a part of the great american tradition of working men and women using collective bargaining to get a few more crumbs from the capitalists, including a list of transit strikes.

unions and strikes are the reason we have the 8-hour work day, child labor laws and other things most folks take for granted. however, without these reforms, is it possible that capitalism would have been overthrown? did reforms help stop revolution? in the 1997 BART strike at least one group accused the union leaders of being "partners with the Big Capitalists."

bicycle advocate and one of the folks who started the first critical mass rides, chris carlsson, pointed out that the BART workers should have considered a fare strike, and also pointed out how little attention was paid to all the people who commuted by bicycle instead of their car when BART was not running. check out the old Bike the Bridge! Coalition.

the 1997 BART strike also helped expose commuters to other forms of public transportation:
A BART strike in 1997 brought AC Transit its first stroke of good luck in years. The strike forced thousands of commuters onto AC Transit’s transbay buses, straining the agency to its limits. Amazingly, riders liked the bus, and passengers on the routes surged even after the strike ended, raising weekday boardings along the routes from 9,500 to 13,500 by the beginning of 1998. For the first time in years, the agency actually increased service, but only along transbay routes.

and thern there is this gem:
ODE TO A BART SCAB by anonymous

You snake, you rat, you festering scab
Your spine is weak, your personality drab
Your morality is nil, your ethics none
We stood for all, you crossed for one.

You don't believe in the strike you say '
But smugly accept your new found pay
Plus the check you made, the one we lack
Your blood money for stabbing us in the back.

Now in the halls, we hear you whine
Hoping all will be forgiven soon in time
But our resentment likely will last for years
You profited from our blood, sweat and tears.

You sat on your butts, ate like swine
Have no qualms about crossing the line
There will be no forgiving, we're pals no more
You crossed the line, now we've shut the door.

And if you think management is your friend
Judas, I advise you to think again
You'll struggle, you plead until you're dead
But not in this job will you get ahead.

Because bosses are dense, but they're not blind
And they don't want the odor of your kind
Lingering on in their one-way cabs
That malodorous stench of the BART strike scabs.

Note: Very few BART workers crossed the picket lines. Upon returning to work, the first thing that got posted to the union bulletin board was a list of scabs.

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