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July 08, 2007

Comments

Chris Prevatt

So, with minutes to go before the cooling off period expired, Teamsters Local 952 (the bus drivers' union) president Patrick Kelly responded to an OCTA concession by increasing his demands.

Matt, I wonder if maybe the change in wages demanded by the Teamsters was an offset to a reduction in some other benefit made by OCTA?

Above all, an OCTA employees union cannot be allowed to dictate policy to OCTA. If the bus drivers' union wins via a strike, you can bet the union will resort to it more readily in the future.

So what you are saying Matt is that the drivers should be happy with whatever they are offered. That is certainly not a negotiation.

OCTA should begin replacing these drivers as quickly as possible. Striking drivers should be invited to cross the picket line and accept the wage-and-benefit package spurned by union prez Kelly. The rest should be given a deadline to return to work -- and any who return after the deadline should do so as entry-level drivers. Union demands are geared to the benefit of the senior drivers, so such a stance would be a powerful incentive to return to work.

Heck Matt, given your perspective here, we may as well simply outlaw the premise of collective bargaining. If workers could simply be replaced if they went on strike then, there would be no reason for OCTA to negotiate.

And as far as the free market is concerned, I presume you mean the Laissez-faire, unregulated, free market. The one that OCTA has already contracted with to provide substitute drivers and provide sub-standard service to those who use OCTA's ACCESS Van service.

Yeah, that makes sense Matt. From your perspective it is always the fault of the union, or employee greed. Never is it the fault of Laissez-faire captialists like you and your Republican colleagues who run the OCTA Board.

Free Citizen

To government bureaucrats like Prevatt, private sector people are just cows to be milked.

When does Prevatt ever advocate anything else but submission to union demands?

Chris Prevatt

Free Citizen:

I am uncertain as to what distinction you are trying to make? ...private sector people are just cows to be milked.

Public employees pay taxes and use services just like anyone else. We work hard for a living and are not out to "milk" anyone.

Although, my guess is that you have no problem with the Managed Health Care companies milking our healthcare system into extinction while paying their CEO's billions of dollars in pay and bonuses.

Wear the Label

Jubal,

Coach operators making between $13-$21 is certainly "milking" the taxpayers. As usual, you can't make the distinction between reasonableness and your ultra conservative philosophical "values."

I'm sure the Christian right is glowing that a group of elected politicians are "protecting" the taxpayer dollar while thousands of riders who are dependent on public transportation can't show up to their jobs.

Bottom line, those at the bottom continue to get shafted while the Republican politicians stand tall. Jubal, what would Jesus do?

Concerned

Jubal's got the right idea -- the union can kiss off, and the drivers can come back under his stated conditions. Public employees, for the very generous benefits they receive, should have very limited rights for work stoppages (in some cases, none -- should firefighters go on strike?) -- it's simply the cost of doing business and enjoying the job security.

One other thing -- will the OCTA be refunding money to those who've bought monthly passes? It's only fair if the service is being denied.

These clowns need to get back to work!

FLowerszzz

I read that the Unions ae fighting for the older workers and leaving the younger ones out in the cold. This only leaves way for future issues and strikes. OCTA, stand firm....dont let the unions bully US around. I will gladly give a few Bus riders a ride ro work....or they can whip put their bikes....I ride my bike to work 2x a week for the excercise.

The Wheels on the Bus Don't go Round & Round

We have some of the worst bus drivers in the nation and they want more pay! I for one will be glad to have them off the roads for a few weeks or months. Like the above reader I"ll give my maid a ride to and from work this week and same with the guy who who cleans my office. If we all do our part then the strike will not hurt anyone.

Chris Prevatt

Wheels:
I'm curious, upon what "facts" do you base your claim that OCTA has the worst drivers, and for that matter worst at what? Or are you simply speaking out of your tail pipe?

Flowerszzz,
Do you have any actual factual basis for your claim that the Union is shafting junior workers in favor of senior workers? Or are you basing your comment upon the unsubstantiated claim that Matt has made in this post?

Common Sense

Jubal,

Your comments and observations on this are right on. However, I'd like to offer one more option for the whiny union bosses and their sheep:

Give them the option to have their hourly rate increased to include whatever the total amount of their benefits are (medical, dental, retirement) and then take away the benefits. This would allow each employee to take (or not) responsibility to shop the market place for their own benefits. It's a win-win! The employees make more per hour and just might earn even more with prudent shopping for the same benefits they currently receive as part of their employment package.

By the way, can anyone tell us, the taxpayers, exactly how much per hour the benefits received by the drivers comes out to? I sincerely hope this is being considered in any/all negotiations.

Rifleshot

Chris: you've done a thorough job of answering the claims of others and asking for proof of those claims. I'd be interested in hearing your point-of-view regarding the strike. Is the union justified? What is a fair settlement and why? Thanks.

Free Citizen

Rifleshot:

Of course Prevatt will say the strike is justified -- the union called it, therefore it is justified.

Prevatt is a through-and-through public employee union apologist. To him the definition of a fair settlement is whatever the union says is fair.

He's good at being snarky and insulting, but he's got no ideas for improving transit except spending more money doing more of the same.

FLowerszzz

Prevatt - actually I heard it from Bladerunner not Jubal.

FLowerszzz

Ooops, it was actually Morning Coffee.

Morning Coffee

And I got it from the Register! Sure wish I knew how to link to this story so I didn't have to do this the hard way! I'm only going to post the part that dealt with this issue, but the entire article is still on their website.

Sunday, July 8th- O.C. Register Article by CINDY CARCAMO and ELLYN PAK.

Headline-Passengers stranded during first day of strike.

"A major source of contention was whether drivers with less than five years on the job should get a wage increase.

Union leaders said they want the increase only to go to drivers who have more than five years on the job while OCTA wants the increase for all drivers.

Patrick Kelly, the secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 952 said the money would be wasted on newer drivers because of high turnover among newcomers.

“They want to put money into a revolving door and we're not interested in that,” Kelly said. He said senior drivers were forced to receive an unfavorable wage increase a few years ago because of a contract that favored the newer drivers."

Free Citizen

Morning Coffee:

Why did you have to do that? Not only will Prevatt have to deal with an actual fact, he may actually have to criticize a guvmint union boss.

Please don't upset Prevatt's cozy little socialist world like that.

Art Pedroza

Matt,

Why didn't the OCTA accept the counter-offer? It was only a $700K difference. Surely the local economy will lose far more than that with so many workers unable to get to work.

calwatch

On the other hand, it is really to neither side's advantage to avert a strike. OCTA needs to show that it has power to prevent the union from demanding an excessive amount next contract. The other dirty secret about public transit is that you actually gain money but not running service. During a labor dispute, all subsidy money from the state and federal government flows through as usual, as does the pittance the bus operation gets from Measure M (in favor of freeway lanes and Metrolink-to-midnight). But expenses are basically security around the bus yards and the few administrators driving the scab bus (at 1 hour 40 minutes on eway, 30 minute service on Harbor comes out to be about 7 buses TOTAL along the street.... come on, there has got to be at least a couple dozen non-union folks at OCTA with their Class B's). And we've already established that the union leader, Patrick Kelly, is pulling the same stunt that Neil Silver, the ATU leader, did in 2003 in Los Angeles, meaning that he is standing tough to keep his job. So there is no incentive for either side to settle and every incentive to keep demonizing each other, while jitneys keep plying down the street (I may be tempted to earn a few bucks later this week and drive my jalopy around to pick folks up for a few bucks).

Art - as to your question....I think we all, people, employers and even the county is sick and tired of being bullied around by the union thugs. It certainly does not take a rocket scientist to drive a bus.

Karl Rove

I find it rather fascinating that the union is trying to eat their own young. Here OCTA has offered a raise to ALL drivers, and the union says no, only to the SENIOR drivers.

How does that garner future union support from the younger generation? With an attitude like that, in a few years, their won't be a union. Hey...there you go, keep it up union guys!

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