Not shedding tears for BART workers

The salary figures below, which only include base pay and overtime, were taken from the 2012 BART salary schedule. The first number represents the number of employees, the second represents their salary range:

Train operators:

1: $140,000; 2: $135,000-$140,000; 8: $120,000-$130,000; 11: $110,000-$120,000; 11: $100,000-$110,000; 27: $90,000-$1000,000; 50: $80,000-$90,000.

Station agents:

1: $116,000; 8: $100,000-$110,000; 12: $90,000-$100,000; 33: $80,000-$90,000; 68: $70,000-$80,000.

The following list of fringe benefits was taken from the ATU-BART existing contract:

Medical: Employee pays only $92 a month, which includes spouse and all eligible dependents, vision program also paid. Dental: Paid dental program includes spouse and dependents. Holidays: 13 paid. Sick leave: One day a month, can be accumulated up to 250 working days. Vacation: Three weeks after one year, four weeks after eight years, five weeks after 15 years, six weeks after 20 years. Pension: Employee does not contribute anything. Shift differential: 7 percent for swing shift, 9½ percent for graveyard shift. Free BART ride for employee, spouse and dependent children.

I can shed no tears for BART employees.

Richard Van Kirk

San Leandro


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Supposed 'facts' in letter aren't facts at all

In searching for the truth about Israel, a recent letter writer was too quick to find false facts about Israel.

Uri Davis is not an Israeli and not an Israeli professor; he is a Muslim Palestinian married to a Palestinian wife, Miyassar Abu Ali, and his Ph.D in anthropology is not from Israel but from the The New School for Social Research, New York City.

The Human Science Research Council of South Africa is not located in the Middle East, and is not an expert and does not claim to be an expert of the Middle East conflict.

After these facts are corrected, the letter writer's attempt to bring "facts" is nothing but propaganda, especially since these days it is very easy to find the real facts about his claims on the Internet.

Gershon Luria

San Lorenzo

Elimination of Israel is writer's real goal

A recent letter writer is completely wrong about Israel. Unlike most Arab countries that have apartheid laws forbidding Jews (and often Palestinians as well) to own land or become citizens, Israel has no laws discriminating between its Jewish and non-Jewish citizens.

The letter writer's citations of extremist Israeli academics and obscure human rights groups should carry about as much weight as using Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones as an authority on Islam.

The underlying goal of the lies presented by the letter writer and his colleagues in "Jewish" Voice for Peace is to prevent, at all costs, peace between a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine.

Folks like him, JVP, and the rest of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement instead promote the same goal as Hamas -- the elimination of Israel and its replacement by the 24th Arab state.

Michael Harris

Novato

Why is the Middle East an American problem?

On any given day, the news throughout the Middle East is Muslims killing Muslims or Muslims killing Christians. And no matter where, they all hate the United States.

Yet, we seem to willingly accept the responsibility that the U.S. should do something about the violence. Why?

It's said the United States has special interests in the Middle East. Like what? Israel? Why is that our problem? The Suez Canal? Why do we need it if we're not running warships around looking for the next fight? Oil? Why would they stop selling that?

The Middle East is Europe's problem, if it is anyone's problem. Stop giving these people who hate us billions of dollars for tools of war. And while it would cost American jobs in the military-industrial complex, maybe it's time for the United States to stop subsidizing these companies that deal in war machines and put them to work manufacturing products for the good of mankind instead of destruction.

Dewayne Guidinger

Concord

Immigration issue, up close and personal

During the past year, the spacious senior apartment complex in which I live has been totally refurbished: construction, replacement of key components, lots of painting, roofing, landscaping and interior decoration. Now the upgrade is complete.

The workers throughout upgrade were skilled, diligent, polite and, invariably, Mexican (I even learned a few Spanish words). We elders are not lawless. At the same time, most don't care what ethnicity the workers are or whether they are naturalized citizens.

They did well the work assigned by a primary contractor or subcontractors, who deal with workers' backgrounds.

I hope the Mexican immigration issue is handled wisely, affording avenues for citizenship for those already here. Hounding workers for proper papers and, if they have none, placing them in the (rumored) rough West County Detention Center seems stupid and inhumane.

Claire J. Baker

Pinole