Monday, July 1, 2013

Strike Wave Hits Bay Area

Today, BART workers across the bay area went on strike, effectively bringing the bay area to a crawl as hundreds of thousands of people were forced to find other means of transportation. Joining the BART workers on strike were Oakland City workers who are engaging in a one day strike, rallying in downtown Oakland. While AC Transit bus operators and mechanics, represented by the the same union as some bart workers, ATU, are still in contract negotiations, at the moment it looks as though they will also be on strike by possibly Tuesday. Such a shutdown hasn't hit the east bay since the 1946 general strike in Oakland.

Unions representing BART and AC Transit workers are focusing largely on "safety" as a key concern, calling on more police on transit lines and against management calls for private security. While attacks on BART and AC operators has gone up, the reasons why such incidents occur is that fares on both BART and AC have gone exponentially over the past several decades. This rising cost for transit pits operators and riders against each other while in reality they both have the same enemies and are allies in a struggle against the agencies and corporations which profit off us. More police on BART and AC buses will not make us safer. People need free transportation.

Bus and BART drivers at the same time have seen attacks on benefits, the loss of vacation days, and in AC Transit drivers case, a wage free since 2000. While the transit bosses rake in the big bucks, the workers are getting screwed.

Riders have also faced massive cuts in service at AC Transit over the last several years. At the same time, business interests pump money into free shuttles for Downtown Oakland and rapidly gentrifying sections of the east bay. With the ongoing construction of the new bridge and the downtown SF transit center, the gentrification process already underway in full force on both sides of the bay will only increase.

Today, there is a call for a march in Oakland during the strike, marching on the AC Transit and BART offices starting at 1pm at 14th and Broadway. Read the call out here.

No comments:

Post a Comment