Letters: Writers advocate race to the bottom on BART benefits
- 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
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.
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