Thursday, July 22, 2010

Open Letter To The ATU From An Angry Bus Rider

I am nearly blind, use a walker and rely solely on "public" transportation. Here in the Oakland, CA area that includes AC Transit and BART. Every so often one of these unionized entities decides to play a nasty game of "chicken" with their management.

AC Transit, at the moment is having a labor/management dust-up. A court injunction favored the union and they return to court on the 30th for a continued decision. (Oh, blah, blah, blah).

So, while the union goes to court, management says that the new "unapproved" contract went into effect Saturday, 7/17/10. The union can't strike (yet), so they are having what is termed "a rolling sick-out". So double the normal absent drivers. Buses are severely delayed, or just cancelled all together. This is bad for passengers and the brave drivers alike. Passengers are late and on crammed buses with other angry customers. They end up yelling at the driver, who is attempting to continue to work under dreadful emotional conditions cited above.

I am going to have to take a cab from my home to where I can connect with BART (a rail system) that is (so far) not on strike. Oh how wonderful that prospect of paying for a cab on a fixed income.

I've heard sob stories from both sides. They are accusing one another of lying to the public. Well, frankly, I hope Alameda County just shuts the whole system down. It will be a drag to have no bus service, but I believe some fortunate folks who are currently employed (far above the minimum wage) need an attitude adjustment.

If AC Transit is shut down, those same drivers will look back with longing for the-non-existent job they just couldn't tolerate. Now facing unemployment and truly terrible minimum wage jobs they will get to discover how many of their former passengers are forced to live.

ATU, you think Alameda County won't shut the system down as a way of trumping a strike? I refer you to a group of former air traffic controllers who tried it under Reagen and gee, they're gone from that job.

Better think it through before you force Alameda County to "solve" this money problem, more dramatically then you ever dared to imagine.