Don't allow BART workers to strike
BART workers should not be allowed to go on strike. Police and fire are not allowed, and they are an emergency force protecting the general public.
BART union employees are greedy individuals. They get their way by intimidation.
I say take a stand and fire all of them. There are thousands of available and qualified people out of work who would appreciate making $78,000 or more per year as blue collar workers. If the union's proposal is met, workers' average pay would climb to $90,000 in 2015.
BART unions have too much power. We need to change this. We need to outlaw these unions because they are out of control. The general public is getting a raw deal and it is going to cost the taxpayers plenty.
Can you imagine getting medical insurance for yourself and your family for only $92 a month, and a free ride on BART whenever you want, plus you don't pay anything into your pension fund?
They are the highest-paid employees of a transportation system in the state. It is about time our administrators and legislators develop some backbone and stand up for their citizens.
Striking workers should be ousted
Striking BART workers should be replaced. The militant attitude and stance that the representative unions display is not conducive to conciliatory talks.
Unions came into existence because they were needed, but in some instances they have outlived their usefulness in terms of representing people who need to work and want to work but cannot because of union affiliation.
Remember the air traffic controller strike, which was met with hiring and training new traffic controllers? There are very competent, able people out of work who are willing and able to be trained by BART. Leave the strikers outside with their placards. They most assuredly would have the public support.
My family members who depend on BART realized that their productivity was diminished during the recent strike. I hope union members are also aware of the fact that if and when they are striking and receiving no paycheck, the union representatives receive their full paycheck.
Their good faith is damaged, I think. Their demands are entirely out of line with other represented people who have received modest raises in the past three or four years.
Employees are facing hardships
Every day that passes without the BART board restoring pay to prerecession levels, more employees face financial hardships.
After several years of reductions in take-home pay, banks are foreclosing and evicting more BART employees from their homes -- both those who stretched to buy or rent a home with every spare penny directed to the mortgage or rent payment and, increasingly, those who once could comfortably make those payments, but now find they cannot.
Even if one can make housing payments, declining take-home pay reduces the cushion available to weather unexpected medical or other expenses. Reduced savings leave many with only one viable option when life throws them an expensive curve ball -- a bankruptcy filing.
As BART revenue from sales taxes increases, BART simply must reduce real financial hardships its employees face by offering take-home pay to restore prerecession purchasing power.
Religious leaders are doing their part
A July 30 letter writer wrote about being appalled and ashamed about the police department. She writes "where are the religious leaders, community organizers and political leaders to organize us?"
As a member of the religious leaders' group, I am where I'm supposed to be; in my parish and church on Sundays encouraging my parishioners weekly to stand-up for justice, better schools, safer neighborhoods, decent and fair housing, and job opportunities in the midst of the Scriptures we share each week.
Community organizers are creating public places for folk to vent and to seek solutions to correct injustices in our community. Instead of hurling thoughtless accusations, the letter writer might consider productive, behind the scenes actions that benefit our community in a real and material way. This is the approach that I and so many others take to foster change in Oakland.
The Rev. Jay Matthews, pastor
St. Benedict Oakland