Target: Board of Directors of San Francisco area transit agency
Goal: Pledge support for striking transit workers
While recently negotiating a new contract, the workers and management of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) agency have reached an impasse and a strike has been declared in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the region, the transit agency provides sole accessibility for thousands of workers, schoolchildren, and parents to reach workplaces, daycare facilities, and schools. In addition, BART spares the environment from much pollution by eliminating as much as 16 million pounds of carbon and 900,000 gallons of gas every day.
While many have been quick to blame workers for the impasse, even a cursory examination of the facts at hand paints a very different picture. At the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis, BART workers agreed to over $100 million in concessions to help keep the agency afloat during tough economic times and a sharp decline in revenue. Since that time, workers have gone through years of voluntarily foregoing raises, a burden they have been very willing to bear in the interest of the greater good. However, since BART revenue has recently skyrocketed (as ridership has reached record levels and the economy has begun to rebound), it is only fair for workers to ask for a share of the profits which they have, after all, been instrumental in bringing to the transit agency.
The two unions representing most BART workers are the Service Employees International Union and the Amalgamated Transit Union; both have committed to representing the wishes and interests of their clients to the full. While the unions have asked for raises commensurate with BART’s skyrocketing profits, management has refused any guaranteed and substantial raises while demanding that workers contribute far more to pension and healthcare costs.
Meanwhile, BART management has maligned its workers and tried to deflect blame onto the latter while refusing to budge from its miserly offers. At stake in this fight is not only the financial well-being of thousands of BART employees and their families, but the principle that workers should share in the profits they create, rather than all of that profit being absorbed by management. Please sign the petition below to pledge support for the striking transit workers in BART and take a stand for workers countrywide.
Dear Board of Directors of Bay Area Rapid Transit:
After reaching an impasse with your management executives, BART workers have recently gone on strike. While your agency has tried to manipulate popular opinion and the media to malign your workers, the facts of the matter are clear. Having made enormous concessions during years of hardship, your workers merely ask that they take some part in enjoying the massive and unprecedented profits BART is now experiencing. Rather than enhancing executive benefits and pay, or spending money on superficial changes, the wealth created by BART should be shared by those who made the profits possible.
As someone who cares about the welfare and well-being of the workers of this country, I pledge my support to the striking workers of BART, and I wish to communicate to you the importance of the stakes involved in this strike. I stand with BART strikers, and ask that you come back to the bargaining table with reasonable offers that can end this crisis.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: terraplanner via Flickr