All BART commuters need to organize a class action lawsuit against the BART union if they've suffered because of the greedy strike!!!

And we all need to STORM SACRAMENTO and DEMAND that public sector unions be PROHIBITED FROM STRIKING so that we never have to suffer at the hands of the union thugs again!!!

Train Operator's picture

Hi there folks!
I've been gone from here for a while but since I'm on an unscheduled vacation I thought I'd drop by to see how the rage was going. Ah I'm not disappointed. Whelp since I'm here I may as well drop a few nuggets of knowledge as I'm just passing through, for example;

1 Unions have a legal right to strike. However... You could demand us be declared a safety sensitive position (like Cops and Firefighters)and then we couldn't strike. The bad news is we would get a higher percentage retirement at age 50. So please, be my guest, most of us would love that!

2 "Fire and replace them like the air traffic controllers!" Not going to ever happen. Reagan used air traffic controllers from the military to pic up the slack. There are no military train operators, and to replace us? see #3 below.

3 These BART workers are low intelligence,little trained,low skilled etc, etc.
Agents and T/O's go through months of intense training and skills/knowledge testing, background investigations, all on a pass or wash out status also we are PUC certified. BART usually hires the cream of the crop of the Bay Ares and beyond. Just for example my foray in applying; Out of 30,000 people that applied, 12 of us made it.

4 "I'm ready to work for half that much." "I pay out the ass for medical." "These workers are just greedy."
I understand this is a major sore point with most but, and this is my casual opinion only as I haven't looked into it.
This country is sliding into a "Grapes of Wrath" climate. Employers routinely threaten employees with replacements as "There's x amount of more people that would line up to take your place." More people are doing more work with less benefits. Bottom line here is YOU accepted that as the conditions for your employment and most likely you are not in a union. That was your vocational choice, not mine. Funny how nobody cares what management gets for wages and benefits because socially the general populous believes they (managers) deserve it and employees desire it. We all know managers that are completely clueless about what they do but they network and kiss ass to the higher ups why? power,prestige,money.

5 "BART workers want a 23% raise!" Are you sure of your math? Us front line workers haven't had a raise in 6 years & now we are negotiating the next four. That's 10 years folks. 23% divided by 10 years = 2.3% averaged over the 10 years in question. How much has the cost of living gone up in that time? Doesn't sound too greedy to me.

6 They get X amount of overtime blah blah blah. This one is irritating. so here it is WE IN THE UNION ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERTIME! Management OFFERS it because rather than employ another person at full benefits. They would rather pay OT to an already employed worker. Also as a side note Top paid T/O Ron Gadola has a single income family and is putting his kids through college. I know him personally and he has NO LIFE but to support his family so he sacrifices his quality of life for them and... he"s been doing this for years. Most of you couldn't do what he does so think about that when you are bitching about these people.

Whelp, I hope that should be a little more helpful in the discussions going on in here I have some picketing to go do,

See ya, T/O

Train Operator's picture

Please go re-read # 1

It's a fact that socioeconomically the middle class is being squeezed down by the wealthier class that's what the occupy movement is protesting all about. I bring home $64+K/year and people are throwing all kind of figures but that's the truth. No I'm not throwing in all the invisible benefits to pump it up, this is what I make before taxes. This is the bottom line for us so yes, we are the middle class. BTW no, we don't get social security.

This is the Bay Area so if you're not making close to what we make and benefited you are being herded to the have not section. You have been fed the rhetoric by people who are not headed to the have not section because they gave you their ticket. It's been repeated so often you believe it.

Do you believe the cost of your ticket has anything to do with my wage? if yes, then you must believe when you pay your DMV fees that it goes directly to their employees. Do you think it's not a coincidence that BART always raises fares at the time we get pay increases. Do you know that when contract time comes up BART is crying how they have to do cuts and the budget is in dire straights. It's amazing how after contract negotiations they declare they have a huge budget surplus and that they always seem to find millions of dollars in accounts they had forgot about,then they give themselves raises. You are buying into the shell game.

You don't have to believe me but here is something to think about. The average Blue collar works for BART 17 years ending with a pers retirement and depending how much you add, there is the option to put into a 457 IRA that BART matches.

Last contract THE UNION offered to increase vestment (for retirement) from 5 years to 15. That would save money from people working for 5 years and retiring. Management said no... Why? Managers come to BART,work the 5 years to get vested then bounce to another agency to collect another 5 year vestment. Rinse and repeat over 30-35 years and they retire on your dime with 6 to 7 retirement checks. But they want you to focus on us and how unreasonable the union is being.

Oh and get this, Grace, the head of BART gets fully vested after 2 years! so come September she can retire after 2 freakin years at her wage the retirement will be sweeeet! Oh you're paying for that by the way. Yup wonder when we get a new honcho that makes more than the governor of California. Um yeah, you'll be paying for that as well, and so on and so on. Keep focusing on the Union folks so Management can slide it in you and whisper that we are the pain in your ass.

Train Operator since 2003's picture

I said the average career was 17 years. I think I was told the average age of a BART employee is 44 so I suppose 17 years is about right. Retirement is # of years of service and the age you retire = % of your salary worked the last year you worked. So if you work 5 years and retire depending on your age at the time you leave, you would get something like $10/month.
I don't have the chart so I'm just guessing from when I saw it.

All retirees pay their own healthcare.

I never mentioned how good or bad I think BART is.

I work for a Cartel operating in California for the most powerful Mafia on the planet. The same Mafia that sent me to Desert Storm. The Don of California just stepped in and ordered a cooling off period for negotiations. Everybody knows you don't just quit the Mafia.

Train Operator's picture

Yes, Station Agents go through months of training as well.

I would guess the general public has an average IQ of 100-110, or was that a rhetorical question?

Train Operator's picture

Smug response? Wow, I wasn't even trying. Anyway, Cream of the crop referred to talent not personality. That came directly from a higher managers speech when we were at the welcome orientation. Charles Barkley comes to mind in that he was good at what he did but "I am NOT a role model" was what he proclaimed.

Now as far as Agent attitude goes I think I covered this years ago on this forum but what the heck.
Agents are routinely abused by the general public every single day. They are the face of BART and receive no love from both the public and no care or support by management, cops are usually 15 minutes away or more if there is a problem and there are always problems somewhere. Little over a week ago an agent was assaulted in her booth and was in there for 15 minutes with her attacker holding a pen and threatening to kill her with it. What if that agent was your mom,wife,GF,BFF,child?

My point is that the job wears on you like battle fatigue. The longer you do it the easier it is to give in to apathy. Try to stop a naked man on drugs assaulting passengers and it gets physical, guess what? you are up for termination. stop a purse snatcher yes, you're up for termination. somebody attacks you physically and you defend yourself at all, yup, you're fighting for your job next. Management has made this the environment that agents have to work under, this is why the Union is harping about safety and ultimately what we are striking about.

Now that you mentioned it, I dunno if agents are certified with the PUC so apologies as I'm unsure about that.

I'm sorry that you haven't met one nice Agent or T/O at BART. I have met lots of nice people and lots of belligerent jerks myself so I empathize with what you are saying. I once met an agent that I wanted to fire 10 minutes later just because of how she treats people. That bullshit attitude from her alone could affect how lots of patrons view the agents.

I know of a phenomena that when you go through the gates on your commute that if you give a little wave or smile at your agent, they will start to remember you. Once they remember your face they will usually bend over backwards to assist you because you simply made yourself "One of the nice ones." Just trying to be helpful.

Train Operator since 2003's picture

Well.. again this is back to vocational choices. When I was 17 I was bagging on how stupid golfing was. My mother said that I never played the game and to give it a shot, so I signed up for lessons. Turned out I was a natural and the instructor begged me to join the club. Long story short, I could have become a professional golfer, I was that good. The next summer I was asking if people wanted french fries with their order. Not long after, I was in a very hot region of the world operating million dollar equipment and fighting people who hated us that I had no beef with. I thought I had a career but the cold war ended.

Job after job I never made more than $30k-$35k per year. I was driving buses when I saw the job posting for BART. I didn't make over $50k until after I was 34, apparently I went to the college of hard knocks and beatings. Personally I didn't have the opportunity to finish college because I had to eat so that was my penalty for not going. My skillset acquired in the transportation industry is what got me the the opportunity to advance my vocational choice. I could easily advance farther but I can't stand office politics so here I am. As far as the pay goes it's less than a union electrician or garbage man but BART whips people up into a frenzy at contract time and so here you are.

Is operating a train more difficult than flying a small jet?
Oh hell yes. Mechanically the vocations are similar but the people factor makes our job far more difficult.

As to the base pay. Whelp being a T/O or Agent is not nearly as easy as people think. It becomes your life. You start out working till after 2:am and all new agents are usually closing down the SF stations for years while rookie T/O's are always the later trains. My daily commute was 120 miles round trip for almost two years. It wasn't until 10 years into my job that I could work near where I live. This and because you aren't going to see a weekend off for 8 years kills your social life and is brutal on relationships. Not many partners can take you getting calls at odd hours and then you disappear hours before your shift or on your day off. Next just like nurses and doctors, BART has it's own language that you have to learn, Agents become pretty good, T/Os have to be fluent. Add the crazies, criminals and homeless plus a public that is abusive to you (just look at the responses I'm getting) and this is just the beginning of your career. I told a friend of mine years ago that I have a minimum wage job, the rest of my pay is to put up with the bullshit that comes with it.

Train Operator since 2003's picture

If the jobs at BART are so easy that an individual with substandard intelligence can do them why aren't you in charge of the district? The posting for Deputy General Manager has been open since April 11th. So why aren't you here? Or are you? The Job starts at $132,198 to $204,910/yr. So what... you wouldn't want to take the paycut?

Judging by all the random times you post on this board it would seem you have lots of free time between your World of Warcraft account and the porn sites you're visiting. You have an opinion as to how many jobs operate and yet for all I know you are not employed at any of them. Not enough credentials? So? BART has been hiring Police officers for years.

You could take the Criminal justice courses at a Jr College and make MORE MONEY and have BETTER benefits than me within a year if you focused. So what's holding you back? A wooden leg? Ninja attacks? Obviously you ride the trains so for all I know you are a fluffer for gay porn. There's another job you probably know all the in's and out's about.

I remember you from years ago so it's not like you didn't have the time. So what do you do for income? I'm curious as to what you have chosen for your vocational choice as you seem to know a vast amount of information and come across as an expert at jobs you don't have. Not much an issue and you don't have to answer I was just wondering but, even as I type the curiosity is fading to be replaced by weather or not I still have a V8 juice in the fridge.

Train Operator since 2003's picture

(Yawn) Damn, I'm all outta V8 juice.

Train Operator since 2003's picture

You notice I tend to give long thoughtful responses and all you can come up with is a few hostile sentences. You talk of personal attacks and you're the guy calling me a union thug, idiot,and so far my favorite one, Union slug. Really? do you honestly believe I expect to change your mind or enlighten you? You talk all this shit and then you want to bait me into defending my job?

As far as discussing anything with you it is an obvious waste of my time and you are woefully outclassed in conversation with me anyway. The true pain is that you are a one note drum and I'm getting bored after being back just two weeks. So I'm guessing if I leave another 4 years you will still be here vomiting your rhetoric as if you matter somehow. You are living proof that evolution is a two way street and will only best serve as an example to my child.

My guess is you see us BART employees and compare what we have to what you have. Analyzing the vitriol you push with all effort your tiny mind can muster tells me all I need to know about you. Let me dumb down this response so that even you can understand the message I've framed around you.

It Sucks to be you.