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Letters: Writers advocate race to the bottom on BART benefits

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  • 6/29 SF Chronicle
    Published Wednesday, June 29, 2005, in the San Francisco Chronicle Letters to the editor Editor -- The prospect of another BART strike is unacceptable. It is
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 29, 2005
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      Published Wednesday, June 29, 2005, in the San Francisco Chronicle

      Letters to the editor

      Editor -- The prospect of another BART strike is unacceptable.

      It is outrageous that these unions have the power to disrupt the lives
      and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents.

      Our BART directors and lawmakers must take steps to ensure that these
      unions cannot hijack our transportation system, and that the BART
      strikes we have been forced to endure in the past can never happen
      again.

      It is clearly evident that relying on union workers to operate and
      maintain BART has been a big mistake. We, the people who built and
      own BART, would be much better served if BART employees were hired and
      paid like the rest of us -- through competitive labor markets.

      That's the best way to ensure that BART employees are fairly
      compensated, rather than let the unions hold the public hostage until
      their demands are met.

      If the BART unions strike, then BART should terminate contracts with
      the striking unions immediately. There will be no shortage of
      qualified people to take the strikers' places, and at the right price.

      Dick Patterson
      El Cerrito


      Editor -- As BART and its unions struggle to come to agreement to
      avoid a strike, I hope the unions face reality and recognize that the
      sweetheart arrangement they and their retirees have for health-care
      coverage is totally unrealistic ("BART, unions clash on health
      benefits," June 26).

      In retirement, after working for the federal government for 31 years,
      I pay almost 10 times the $25 a month BART retirees contribute for
      their health care, and I think what I pay is fair.

      There just isn't enough money at BART to continue these types of
      benefits. The unions should accept reasonable increases in their
      premiums as health-care costs continue to rise.

      The public should not have to pay higher fares to subsidize these
      over-the-top benefits.
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