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Old July 8 2013, 03:10 AM   #50
Samhain Special
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Re: Should Public Transportation Agencies be Allowed to Strike?

Carcazoid wrote: View Post
Over 50. Thanks for asking.
Really? Then prove it ...

What do you do?
Like millions of hardworking Americans, I work a full-time job, and I pay my taxes. Thanks for asking. I work in accounting for a public utility agency in the SF Bay Area, which isn't very different from BART in terms of my employer being a municipal entity or a special district. I (along with hundreds of other employees) am represented by a labor union, and I pay my monthly dues. What some people fail to understand is the concept of collective bargaining.

From the link that I posted:

At a workplace where a majority of workers have voted for union representation, a committee of employees and union representatives negotiate a contract with the management regarding wages, hours, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment, such as protection from termination of employment without just cause. Individual negotiation is prohibited. Once the workers' committee and management have agreed on a contract, it is then put to a vote of all workers at the workplace. If approved, the contract is usually in force for a fixed term of years, and when that term is up, it is then renegotiated between employees and management. Sometimes there are disputes over the union contract; this particularly occurs in cases of workers fired without just cause in a union workplace. These then go to arbitration, which is similar to an informal court hearing; a neutral arbitrator then rules whether the termination or other contract breach is extant, and if it is, orders that it be corrected.
When management and employees fail to reach an agreement during contract negotiations, the employees have a legal right to go on strike. And as mentioned, going on strike is not all about salaries and benefits. In the case of the BART strike, the employees have also addressed safety concerns. Granted, what the local unions are asking for--a 5% increase every year--may just be a tad much.

But the economy is better now compared to a few years ago. Three years ago in the midst of the recession, our local unions voted to extend our labor contracts through 2013, which meant we got to keep the current benefits we had but also meant there were no cost-of-living increases. We have been negotiating with management since March, and it's been an exceptionally difficult process, as management refuses to accept reasonable proposals from the negotiating team and only counters minimal provisions. They expect employees to pay more towards their retirement benefits while--at first--not offering any CPI+ increases, at the same time tripling employees' medical copayments for doctor's visits and prescription drugs. Those are just a few examples.

Going on strike is not about being greedy. Employees are not out to get rich; they just want decent compensation and benefits for the work they do, along with a safe and healthy work environment.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
--Bilbo Baggins, LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
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