Luddite SEIU strikes over BART’s insistance to use email reports instead of long-hand

It is a little hard to fathom.  The Service Employees International Union and their allies that work for the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, have reached an agreement on economic terms to renew their contract, but decided to go on a full-blown strike Friday, inconveniencing tens of thousands of commuters, over disagreement on “work rules” which includes the union’s opposition to BART’s request that workers file management reports by email rather than by writing them out in long-hand.

The Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against newly developed labor-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817.  The SEIU leadership in the BART negotiations are Luddites by that definition, who want high salaries and pensions, but who don’t want to allow BART to use even basic cost-saving technologies like a lap top and email system for communications.  SEIU’s opposition to use of what can only loosely be termed these days as “advanced technologies” includes insistence on personal delivery of paper paycheck stubs to employees at work locations rather than electronic transmission of them, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

One would think that the usually media-savy SEIU would not expose themselves to potentially bad press coverage by making their stand in a terribly disruptive strike over “work rules” as simple as opposing use of email.  Even a person of below average intelligence who lacks critical thinking skills can see that it is a stupid position for SEIU to take, given the prevalence and convenience of email today, and that BART management is right to insist on it, and deserves the upper hand in the public debate on it.  But the San Francisco media is generally favorable to the SEIU, and the fact that SEIU’s selfish strike rests on opposing email and electronic transmission of payroll deposits, even close to the heart of the Silicon Valley, will hardly get the SEIU any of the critical media coverages its idiotic strike deserves.

Imagine a world where the BART public employee union member who makes $271,458 a year managing traffic at the train storage yard in Oakland is forced to use email on the job against his will; or where the fare booth watcher at the Fremont station who makes $167,784 to be on the look-out for “jumpers” is required to receive confirmation of her paycheck by email rather than on a hand-delivered paper payroll receipt?  No way, if the Luddite masters at SEIU win their strike with the help of a complacent Bay Area media.



  1. James V. Lacy says

    Willie Brown’s article in the SF Chronicle today, saying BART management precipitated the strike and made a mistake not going to binding arbitration over “work rule” changes that include use of email and electronic transmission of payroll receipts, is even more evidence of the obfuscation of the truth in the Bay Area media when it comes to SEIU and covering for the Luddite positions of the public employee unions. Brown spins the situation to say that BART management should have helped the union “save face” by agreeing to arbitration over the requirement that email be used rather than long-hand reports. (Brown of course would never suggest that the union help BART management “save face” at any time on anything.) BART management was right to insist on such basic, widely accepted practices as using email instead of a paper and pencil at BART, and such a stance should not even be considered a “work rule” to be negotiated and leveraged against by the public employee unions. It is a sham to let the union leverage some sort of benefit for its overly paid workers just to agree to come into the 21st century and use email, and the SEIU deserves to be pummeled in the public debate on this, which is symbolic of all the larger problems posed to California by the similar other excesses of these public employee unions.

    • Amen to enth degree. The spokesperson for the SEIU displayed an extreme disregard for the commuting public by not allowing her members to even vote on any of the proposals. This is an example of a pushy illiterate being given power beyond her ability to understand the adjunct demands of its use.

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