So I had my evening in San Francisco tonight (thanks for the suggestions by the way, had a good time in the Mission! Even got some authentic San Francisco prices at a bar, which was a joy.) Anyway, when I got off at the 16th St. station, a woman was handing out some material about the BART workers, who are going back out on strike next week after an impasse in negotiations. I figured it was a member of the union and grabbed it just to read later. Oh no. It was someone handing out pro-BART, anti-union propaganda. BART workers are currently working without a contract and have not received a pay raise in 4 years. The BART message seems to be that since all workers are getting screwed, their workers should get screwed too. Specifically, the agency is making a huge deal out of the fact that its workers are ONLY paying $92 a month for the health coverage, as if they are fleecing the taxpayers by this. Instead, it wants workers to pay 10% of healthcare costs. This is a classic 21st century corporate negotiating plan, turning everyone who has seen their economic stability fall apart against those who have managed to hold on to a standard late 20th century union contract package. The anti-union flyer also seems to think that people will be outraged that BART workers want more safety lighting and more restrooms in underground stations, which both seem like great ideas to me.
I did think it was a bit less than classy for a state agency to be handing out anti-union flyers outside a station. It’s clear that any BART strike will annoy commuters so it is operating from a position of strength. But just because they are annoying commuters (and I’m not underestimating how much a strike would suck if I was a commuter, but what are you going to do other than offer solidarity to people still holding onto a middle-class life) doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve our support.