The BART strike began in the wee hours of July 1, after all trains had reached their final stop that evening. We were in Evanston, IL, with plans to depart for Nashville later that morning. We're in Nashville for the week, and will return to Chicago Saturday night and then be home to SFO Sunday. Today we're having a family reunion/Fourth of July party that will be one of the highlights of the trip.
It's a good thing we weren't planning to take BART home from SFO; perhaps the strike will still be going on by then. The last strike, in 1997, was six days long. Our return date would fall on the 7th date of this strike, if it's still taking place.
I haven't researched the specifics of the earlier strike, but presume it occurred due to the usual clash of worker-management priorities. This time around BART is offering smallish raises, while the unions are demanding higher wages that are completely guaranteed. BART's wage package, to some extent, will depend on BART achieving increases in ridership. The unions don't want member salaries to depend on factors they cannot influence.
I've been learning all this by reading the excellent coverage at SFGate. While reading I've been thinking about what I would have done if I'd been in this situation when I was dependent on BART to get to work. Probably ride on an overcrowded AC Transit bus, or take the casual carpool. Getting a car wouldn't have made sense for that commute, as the roads are already congested and parking is expensive at UCSF.
Fortunately for me, I never had to endure a strike throught my BART-riding commuting years. (These days I walk to work, which is even more fortunate.) So I am grateful to be in the enviable position of just reading the coverage and hoping for a quick resolution that enables people to return to normal.
We'll get there. Meanwhile, it's been interesting to see how the two sides promote their causes. Management pillories the unions for being unreasonable. The unions release statements from politicians who are indebeted to union supporters. Meanwhile some of my Facebook friends express their exasperation, and from where I sit the union appears to be losing the PR game. In the end, the two sides will find a resolution after all the chest thumping and posturing. As ever, I'll wonder why they couldn't have achieved this without first kicking up such a fuss.