Suspension of strike is just a cynical ploy

The BART strike postponement is an effort by the unions to curry commuters' favor, in a lame attempt to show themselves as reasonable, and by BART, in a gutless move to put off the inevitable strike which is sure to come again.

BART employees have cheap health insurance, no-cost pensions, liberal paid vacations, and comparable salaries with lots of available overtime.

I am not anti-union, but these unions are guilty of overreaching. Haven't they learned from other industries choking on financial obligations resulting from over-demanding greed? BART is groaning under the weight of current and future obligations plus the need to update equipment. They can't afford it now and they can't afford it in 30 days.

My dream is that the powers that be fire them all, like President Ronald Reagan did to the air traffic controllers many years ago. It would be excruciating at first, but BART and the commuting public would recover, and be leaner and healthier.

Rob Hall

Walnut Creek

Good time to rethink the need to commute

Postponing the BART strike is an opportunity to talk about the problem our companies have created by insisting employees commute long distances from their homes to congested cities.

What we need to do is outlaw the greedy BART unions.


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Give huge tax advantages to companies to move their business to where the workers live and for those with company-owned buses picking people up at public parking lots.

Give tax deductions for carpools and for encouraging workers to do their jobs at homes. Allow flexible hours for employees. More students could get an education at home with computers and home teachers.

We would have fewer burglaries if more people would work and study at home. Think of the savings to taxpayers, less crime, and less congestion on our freeways.

Today the BART unions have all the power -- and we gave it to them. Power corrupts and that is what we need to change.

Al Paltin

Orinda

Postponement buys time to find agreement

It's good news the union workers and BART management have agreed to extend the previous contract for 30 days, thus giving both sides some breathing time to hammer out a new contract agreement. In the meantime, BART passengers and commuters can heave a sigh of relief.

Rail strikes are nothing new; Samuel Gompers organized workers' unions in the late 19th century. There was the famous Pullman railroad strike in 1894 and the modern air controller strike in the 1980s.

Let's hope that both sides in the BART strike will negotiate in good faith so that the strike will end before the 30-day period expires.

John Hom

Walnut Creek

Monopolies don't feel need to compromise

The core problem with BART is that it is basically a transportation monopoly. There is limited competition from vehicles such as buses.

In other fields, PG&E and Comcast are basically monopolies. In the case of a monopoly, there are two fundamental courses of action. The first course is to have government regulate the wages and prices of the monopoly. The second course is to destroy the monopoly, possibly by breaking it up into smaller, competing units.

BART will never improve as long as it is a monopoly. Postponing a strike does not change BART's basic structure.

Perhaps some people remember Lily Tomlin from the television comedy show "Laugh-In." Her famous remark about a monopoly was: "We don't care. We don't have to ... we're the phone company."

Richard S. Colman

Orinda

Unions ought to settle; they miscalculated

I don't know why the BART unions called their strike for the only three-day workweek in the summer vacation season, when many commuters would have already scheduled vacations.

They deprived their members of premium holiday pay, too. Are they crazy?

BART management can't call a strike. Only the union hierarchy can. And they really goofed. They would be ill-advised to try it again.

Far better for them to settle on the generous terms that BART is sure to offer.

Robert S. Allen

Livermore

Public gets a raw deal with BART strike, pay

The unconscionable BART workers and their unions' strike caused some 200,000 workers problems in getting to their jobs. They disrespectfully did this at the time of a national holiday, the Fourth of July.

The salary of $78,000 per year for BART blue-collar workers likely could start an engineer on a job and more than pay a teacher's salary. BART proposes to pay them even higher, $82,000 to $84,000. That's obscene.

Under the unions' proposal, average pay would climb to about $93,000 in 2015. That's outlandish -- especially for people who can get a BART job with only a GED -- when there are thousands of people out of work, some with college degrees and advanced degrees.

BART workers currently pay a paltry $92 per month for medical care for themselves and their families. I, a senior citizen pay $173 monthly.

An Internet report says BART workers cost the government $120,000 per employee -- high, considering levels of education, training and accomplishments.

The public is getting a raw deal and its really costing the taxpayers. Something needs to be done.

Evelyn Botti

El Sobrante

Many would be happy to take workers' jobs

All those BART people on strike should quit their jobs.

There are plenty of available people out of work who would appreciate making $70,000 to $80,000 per year. Rest assured, the vacancies would be filled with quality folks happy to have a job with BART.

Richard Splenda

Berkeley

Right to strike should be offset by right to fire

I absolutely agree employees should have the right to strike but companies should also have the right to replace them.

Companies need to be operated by owners in a free and competitive manner without undue governmental interference. Unions originally consisted of skilled, qualified workers you went to the union hall to hire.

Why is it that the reported number of corporate union employees is decreasing while government union membership is increasing? Part of the problem might be attributed to the present politically fueled bias of government employees, the unemployed, and welfare recipient voters.

Working for the government should be an honor; salaries and other benefits should be moderated. That is especially the case since the current unemployment rate is reportedly well over 7 percent and many have given up finding jobs.

It is also totally nonsensical that jobs are outsourced when there are so many people on welfare.

Paul W. Van Etten

Walnut Creek

Good job if you can get it; how do I do that?

The average BART worker already makes about twice as much as a beginning teacher -- without the necessary degree or specialized skills.

Throw in paid health care benefits, overtime and pension deals, and I have only one question: "How do I get this job?"

Kate Nelson

Moraga

Management and workers overpaid

All BART workers are grossly overpaid. To lead by example, management needs to cut their own bloated salaries and perks first.

Union workers need to realize they are also overpaid and need to contribute to their own pensions just like everyone else. They must quit asking the riders to pay more for their greed. BART employees have it better than the majority of their riders.

Cut all management and union wages by 40 percent and use the money to lower fares -- and maybe clean those filthy cars more often.

Kris Adams

Concord

BART should replace strikers

BART directors need to stand up to the union.

Some $71,000 a year to be a "station agent" who does not sell tickets and does not handle any money? How much training do you need for this? Why do you deserve more money?

I am an angry BART rider. I'm sure I am not that much different than many other riders. I have not had a raise in more than 10 years. I do not have a pension. I pay my own medical.

I have a college degree and make less than a train operator or a station agent -- and I am grateful to have a job. BART employees do not deserve a 15 or 20 percent pay increase.

The BART unions' demands are absurd. It is inexcusable to hold the public hostage to unreasonable demands. This is a great example of a public employees' union out of reality.

BART should be hiring and training replacement workers as quickly as possible and lawmakers should be supporting the public they supposedly serve, not the deep-pocket labor union campaign contributors.

Robert Mason

Walnut Creek