BART protests

Streetcar standoff

Muni sickout echoes earlier labor clashes and economic inequities

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joe@sfbg.com

San Francisco's municipal transportation system stood still, stranding middle class riders. Riots raged throughout the city as over 1,500 streetcar drivers, known as carmen, literally fought with bottles and stones for higher wages. Left with few options, stranded San Franciscans took to other means to get to work: by foot, by bicycle, and by horse-drawn carriage.Read more »

Unions suing BART board over contract disagreement today, no strike yet

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Two of BART's largest unions will announce a lawsuit against the BART board of directors today on the steps of the Alameda County Superior Court at 11am, which they plan to file shortly before the press conference.

The suit will directly challenge the board's Nov. 21 decision to ratify a contract between the unions and BART management without a hotly contested provision on family leave.

In their announcement of the suit, SEIU Local 1021 and ATU Local 1555 allege the board made "illegitimate and unprecedented actions" in ratifying the contract while removing a section on family leave, which was signed off on by BART management in July. Under the provision, workers who go on leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act would be paid for six of the 12 weeks the law allows them to take unpaid. 

Management has since called signing off on family leave a "mistake," and the board asked all sides to ratify a contract without the provision, hence the lawsuit.

But would a lawsuit mean a new strike? Read more »

From the mouths of BART workers; cleaning the dreaded escalators, skirting death

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A reprieve in BART negotiations has given the Bay Area time to breathe before the next possible strike, but a lot of public concerns and animosity toward BART still remains. So the Guardian decided to take a look at BART workers themselves (we found them through their union) and ask, “How would your life change if the unions adopted BART management’s offers on safety, pensions, wages and health care?”

Note: The audio interviews are summarized in this post, but give them a listen to get a fuller picture of the impact of labor negotiations on worker’s lives.Read more »

BART's failed press mainpulation

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Another nice scoop by Zusha Elinson at the Bay Citizen: He's got emails showing how BART tried to set up a fake counter-protest and press conference to skew media coverage toward how protests were inconveniencing riders.

Read more »

Powell station shut down by BART protest

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A Sept. 8 protest called to test the limits of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) agency's policies on freedom of speech inside BART stations ended in a cluster of protesters and journalists being coralled by nightstick-wielding BART officers, detained, and in some cases, arrested. The station was shut down at around 6 p.m. when police surrounded a group of demonstrators who had marched around the unpaid area of the transit station, as well as a group of media who were following them with cameras and voice recorders.Read more »

BART Police arrest journalists and protesters

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BART Police are cracking down hard on a peaceful protest in the Powell Street station, detaining a group of 30 to 40 people that includes almost a dozen journalists, including Guardian reporter Rebecca Bowe, who just called in with a report on the ongoing situation. (For Rebecca Bowe's account of the BART protest and arrests, with video footage, click here.)Read more »

The (sorta) nude BART flak pictures

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At first, I wasn't going to say anything about the kinda, sorta naked pictures of BART spokesman Linton Johnson that the Anonymous folks found somewhere (perhaps on his email) and posted for all to see. I didn't want to give this any more attention than it already had.

But it's been bothering me, so I decided to weigh in, to wit:

This is none of anyone's damn business.Read more »

Even BART must honor free speech rights

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Given the recent battles between BART and both the physical and online protesters organized by the group Anonymous, it's no surprise that the live video feed of this morning's (Wed/24) BART Board of Directors meeting is down due to “technical difficulties.” But we'll try to follow-up later with what happened during the special meeting focused Read more »

Why doesn't BART just apologize?

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It's pretty clear that people are still mad at BART for cutting off cell phone service -- and that the agency is doing a miserable job of responding. The latest protest featured BART cops arresting people for nothing more than speaking out in the station, which leaves the train system in the horrible position of attacking First Amendment rights. And the protests are likely to continue, making life difficult for commuters and discouraging people from taking BART.Read more »

BART arrests protesters for speaking out

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Faced with yet another protest over BART's disruption of cell phone service on August 11 to preemptively disrupt a protest, and with lingering anger over the BART police shooting of Charles Hill on the Civic Center station platform on July 3, BART police stifled vocalizations of dissent with immediate arrests during an Aug. 22 protest on the Civic Center Station platform. Read more »