A BART board member has suggested that the rail concern put its own measure on the ballot in the next few years to disallow BART worker unions from striking in the event of contract disputes. It's a step in our country's slow and ongoing process of union busting, and it might be a popular one.

At the risk of sounding too Marxist here, strikes are, arguably, the best and final tool that labor unions have in the face of contract disputes. Many would argue that being a public transit system, BART unions should conform to different rules than those employed by corporate overlords. Muni, for instance, already bans its workers from striking.

BART Board member Joel Keller says that things have gotten "out of hand" and he believes that "fact-finding and arbitration are better than a strike."

In any event, the Bay Area's frustration following two different BART strikes this year, and a seemingly endless negotiation process over the workers' latest contract (which isn't even over), is likely to make a union-busting proposition like this a winning one. But that is sad.

BART management and the unions are still fighting over one last provision in their contract regarding paid family leave. A provision management did not include in the tentative contract that was brought back to the unions for their approval in November nonetheless got slipped back into the final contract that was heading for final approval by the BART Board. The unions are now crying foul, saying that it was a bait-and-switch.

Those who are still interested in this subject, intellectually, politically, or whatever, should definitely read this insightful recent speech by David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme. He discusses how our country, like it or not, has been built on a balance between capitalism and Marxist ideals, and even though it's been a messy balance, it's one we should strive to maintain. Because, like it or not, without a splash of Marxism mucking things up, our future is one of pure and simple greed and great income inequality.

[SF Appeal]