Union membership should be voluntary

Properly, yes, as well as they could be. But compulsory union membership for public employees is a setup for failure.

Unions are fine as long as membership is voluntary. When a public agency like BART requires one to pay the union a bribe in order to hold a job, collective bargaining goes too far. The public is forced to pay for those who have the power to shut the agency's services down.

Public employees' primary loyalty should be to the public and their agency, not to a union.

Robert S. Allen

Livermore

BART doesn't matter; it's ineffective system

Since BART is only used by about 2 percent of all Bay Area commuters, it really doesn't matter what actions are taken. This is a result of not having a real system like New York, London or Paris for example. BART hardly goes anywhere.

Additionally, I have no idea what most of its employees do. The tickets are read automatically and the trains drive themselves. And all maintenance should be contracted out to a third party.

Thus, I believe that the current benefits and wages are way too high and should be cut. If the workers will not accept this, then close the system down until they come to their senses.

David Brusiee

Pleasanton

BART workers shouldn't be allowed to strike

Well, isn't that nice of the BART unions to give BART management one more day to negotiate. How gracious, how thoughtful -- before these 2,400 undeserving, greedy people deliberately create transportation chaos for the entire Bay Area.

The unions tell us they are being forced to strike by the BART management. Bull feathers. The unions can strike or not, it is completely their choice if they want to use this extortion to strong-arm the public. Remember, they are paying $94/month for health insurance. Are you? They pay nothing for their pension. Are you?

Orinda City Councilman Steve Glazer is running a petition to prevent transportation strikes. Other states prevent strikes; why don't we? Why does BART have to contract with a union in the first place? And why these unions?

I'm sure the Teamsters and many others would like this deal. I think Steve is right, and I urge all the BART riders and Bay Area taxpayers who are going to be impacted by this domestic terrorism to sign his petition at BanBARTStrikes.com.

Jim Cauble

Hayward

Riders should boycott the transit systems

The major Bay Area transit systems are flexing their muscles again because their management people seem to believe they have all the power. I really feel for those riders who are being jerked around by people who appear to have only their own agenda uppermost, without regard to the needs of their customers.

There seems to be a dearth of common sense at play here. After all, if there were no people riding BART and AC Transit, there would be no need for those highly compensated managers in their cushy jobs.

People go to bed wondering whether there will be a strike or not, and what arrangements they need to make for getting to work the next day.

I can't think of a better time for the transit-riding public to remind these fat cats of what happened in December 1955 in Montgomery, Ala., when the African-American citizenry boycotted the Montgomery bus company. It took about a year of running those empty buses to make all involved realize who had the real power, and then things changed.

With today's technology, particularly regarding instant communications, which was not available in 1955, there should be no reason why an organized effort to rein in the current insanity could not work. There are a lot more BART and AC Transit riders than employees.

Maybe when the managers of these companies spend their nights all stressed out, as many of their customers are now doing, things might get better. After all, we get what we'll accept.

Clyde E. Albert

Hayward

Time to stop the union blackmail

Greed: Another name for the BART union.

BART and AC Transit are essential services, similar to firemen and policemen, and should not be allowed to strike. Other cities prohibit this abuse of power. This should be a state law and not just a city law. No more blackmail.

This problem can be quickly resolved if our governor and legislators, who are bought and paid for by the unions and special interest groups, will get off their dead butts and pass this necessary law.

When this strike is finally resolved and the union's outrageous demands met, their monetary gains will have to be paid for by an increase in fares, as well as an increase in our property taxes. Guess where this will come from? Out of your pocket and mine.

Gino and Mary Pacini

San Leandro

Greed makes a deal impossible to attain

Before the cooling-off period, a BART union leader stated, "We're not greedy."

Really? They are the highest paid transit workers in the area, working less an 40 hours per week, but they're not greedy?

They manipulate their weekly schedules to collect overtime, refuse to contribute to their pensions and refuse to pay more than $92 a month for their health care. Then they have the nerve to say they're not greedy.

Impossible to negotiate with people who have this mindset.

Robert Hoag

Concord

Public unions shouldn't be allowed to walk out

Regardless of the outcome of negotiations with the BART employee unions, I eagerly await a state ballot initiative prohibiting public-service employees from striking for their own aggrandizement -- at the expense of the public which they have been hired to serve.

The audacity of BART employees, who are among the highest paid public transportation workers in the nation, to hold hostage the entire Bay Area is unspeakable.

To demand a pay increase above what BART has already offered, coupled with the amazingly low cost to them for their health plan and a sweetheart pension plan, simply shows how out of touch the unions are with the real world.

One of the few things I agreed with President Ronald Reagan on was his actions to replace all the air traffic controllers, who flaunted the same greed and absence of common sense as the BART unions.

For the record, unions have a place in the work environment. However, public employees, first and foremost, have a responsibility to serve the public. Anything less is unacceptable.

The BART unions clearly show why public-service employees shouldn't be allowed to strike at the expense of the public.

Jim Jenkins

Pinole

Politicians empower BART unions' strike

Allowing any government employee group, especially the overpaid BART employees, to strike, and put the public to such great distress, is an indictment against our politicians for not outlawing it, and the lack of public outrage.

Rodney Stich

Walnut Creek

Sick of BART unions; state should run transit

I am so sick of BART union members who are holding the Bay Area riders hostage -- just so they won't have to pay for their retirement and contribute more for their medical insurance.

These workers are among the highest paid transit workers in the country. If they were to be laid off, there would be hundreds of applicants waiting to take over at the same pay or even less pay.

I would like to see the state of California take over all public transportation. That way, there would be no possibility of a strike and the public would be able to get to work or any other place they needed to be.

Walter D. Terry

Union City