Monday, October 21, 2013

A BART too far?

Can the public employees unions remake the Calculus of Consent? Seems they may be on the edge in California;
 "The danger to labor is if the strike goes on for a while, then the unthinkable begins to be discussed - like banning all mass transit strikes," said Harley Shaiken, a labor economist at UC Berkeley.
That discussion has already begun, in letters from California lawmakers to Gov. Jerry Brown, from state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who said he "looking into legislation that could prevent future strikes," a petition drive by a Democratic Assembly candidate in the East Bay seeking the same, and a piece by editorial page editor John Diaz in Sunday's Chronicle supporting a Republican proposal that BART unions be made to honor the no-strike clause in their last contract.
"This could have long-term implications, especially for BART unions," said John Logan, a professor of labor and employment studies at San Francisco State's College of Business, who sat in as an observer at the union-management negotiations. "Public employee unions have been under enormous pressure, including here."
The public interest in getting from home to work and back every day, might not be so dispersed. It might focus the anger of those inconvenienced on those responsible. Especially if the strikers are better compensated than those they're supposedly serving.

They had to strike to find out what was in it;
The state's Democratic lawmakers, tied financially to unions, have for the most remained studiously quiet on the matter. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barbara Boxer issued anodyne statements Friday, along the lines of "both sides need to get back to the table and resolve this dispute," and to "work to an agreement that is fair for management and workers." Pelosi's office has been in touch with both sides, I was told.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein was more forthright earlier last week when she urged the BART unions to accept the deal on the table before Thursday's breakdown. "Strikes don't work; they leave deep scar tissue," she said. 
Emulating Silent Cal.

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