BART Strikes: Hindering or Helping?
Katana Collado ’14
After striking twice in the past five months and threatening to do so in the future, Bay Area Rapid Transit works have elicited both criticism and support from the general public.
Between longer commutes, backed up highways, and hours in traffic, no one comes out of the BART strike smiling but it does raise the question “are the strikers justified?” BART workers are among the highest paid transit workers in America, with good healthcare and pension packages, according to SF Gate. Knowing that, one would logically think, “what more could they want?” They want better safety measures, which, after the tragic death of two workers in November, seem reasonable. They are also calling for increased wages, which they have not been granted in five years. With the price of living in the Bay Area being as high as it is, the second demand does not seem too farfetched either.
However, BART's last strike resulted in chaotic traffic jams and added 25 minutes to most people's commute according to Marin News. BART's four day strike alone cost an estimated $73 million dollars a day according to the Los Angeles Times. BART is responsible for over 40% of the Bay Area's commuters so, when there is a strike, hundreds are left scrabbling to get to work and school on time. Strikes definitely provide BART workers with a useful tool to demonstrate their power and bring attention to their grievances but at what point do the costs start outweighing the benefits?
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