So, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we (the long suffering commuters) have survived another meltdown between management and labor. This time it was BART and some of it’s union workers. After a series of “will they or won’t they strike” moments, things came to an impass and the strike finally happened.
Oddly enough, almost 50 years ago, folks here in the East Bay went through the same experience. The Key System, which had trains, streetcars and buses, was at odds with it’s own union workers over similar issues to those faced by BART in 2013. Pay hikes and work rules. And a management unwilling to accept binding arbitration.
In 1953, that strike lasted 76 days. In many ways, it helped cement feeling against the transit system. People could commute in their own cars across the Bay Bridge. And so they did. The last Key System train ran into San Francisco in 1958. Less than two years later, AC Transit was created by voters to create public transit.
Glad to say that so far, we are not being held hostage this time around. Votes have yet to be taken on the proposed BART contract by both the unions and the BART board of directors. Things could go back to the negotiating tables. Like many of you, I hope not. We have suffered enough and it is past time for the unions and management to move forward.
Learn from the past…