BART workers may soon be on strike.
Employers and their news media allies have responded to the threat of a BART strike by trying to pit different groups of working people against each other. The corporate media has spread lies about BART workers' supposedly high salaries, and highlighted difficulties other workers will have getting to work during a strike.
Employees of many large unionized work places are close to going on strike. Workers at The Chronicle and The Examiner and San Francisco Public School support workers are all considering strike action soon. A BART strike could galvanize this process, and be crucial in preventing attacks on MUNI employees in 1995.
BART, MUNI and A/C management have a scheme for using MUNI and A/C Transit workers against BART workers. Muni and A/C Transit are expected to take up the extra commuter load that will result from a BART strike. MUNI management reportedly has plans to run "BART Express" busses- using MUNI workers as strike breakers.
Unlike most other people who work for a wage, MUNI workers are in a potentially powerful position to aid BART workers. MUNI workers can also prevent impending attacks by MUNI management and Frank Jordan by taking on the job action:
Don't give out information to riders about alternate ways to get to work in the event of a strike. Encourage MUNI riders to avoid commuting hassles by calling in sick for the duration of the strike. The BART strike is an ideal opportunity for every worker who hates to go to work to call in sick. There are literally tens of thousands of wage workers in the city who hate their jobs and would be happy to go along with a suggestion of this sort.
Don't scab on BART workers. If you're scheduled to work a special strike breaking BART Express run, refuse to drive or call in sick. Timid actions by union functionaries hold you back and rob you of the leverage you need to win. Ignore rules that try to prevent you from taking action in solidarity with BART workers. Take direct, collective action outside of and against the control of the unions.
Spread the idea among your co-workers that when BART goes on strike, everyone who works for public transit should call in sick to work for the duration or go on wildcat strike.
It's not in public transit workers interest to enforce the payment of fares. Let riders on for free. It's a great way to make allies. Look the other way when people get on the bus without paying, when they board through the back door or jump the gate. During a French rail workers' strike in 1987, strikers issued leaflets calling on passengers not to pay fares. During a recent job action by public transit workers in Seoul, South Korea, millions of passengers were allowed to ride for free. Make it happen in S.F. Let Frank Jordan and Pete Wilson pick up the tab.
The news media have acted against your interests by referring to BART workers' strike action as an "inconvenience" to commuters. Today it's BART workers; tomorrow that line will be used against MUNI workers. The S.F. Examiner has already prepared the way for attacks on your wages, benefits and working conditions by running countless articles attacking MUNI employees. Don't wait until Jordan and the Board of Supervisors decide the time is right to scapegoat you for the City's financial problems. MUNI employees are among the most crucial wage workers in San Francisco. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS. Instead of going on strike next year in isolation, you should give serious thought to walking out when BART workers do.
MUNI workers have an immediate interest in supporting BART workers. If BART employees lose their fight, other transit workers will come next. Politicians and city government bureaucrats are out to shaft MUNI workers in '95. But if they see that transit workers won't take it, they'll back down- they'll have to. Without you, the economy of the City will grind to a halt.
Working class people in the United States today face some of the worst working and living conditions found in any of the wealthier industrialized countries. Key to this fact is that for the past ten years relatively few workdays have been lost to strike actions. Bosses and their allies in the unions depend on employees being docile and willing to accept any attacks that management has to offer. A loyal and obedient working class is a defeated working class. It's time to turn this around.
The system that rules the world today needs our compliance in its plans for our exploitation and total impoverishment. This system depends on our atomization and passivity. Unlike most other working class people, transit workers are in a potentially powerful and strategically significant position to reverse attacks on themselves, and to set a fighting example for other working class and poor people. A major strike by BART employees, backed by effective solidarity actions by MUNI employees, could reverse attacks by employers and the state on the living standards of all working class and poor people. Victory in a strike could set an important precedent for the near future.
Cooperating with the system, and with attempts by the unions to prevent solidarity actions, leads in one direction only - to lower wages, worse working conditions, and eventual unemployment. If you don't want to end up stuck in a $6 an hour shit-job doing temp work in the Financial District, or flipping burgers at McDonald's for $5 an hour - TAKE ACTION NOW.
WHEN YOU ACT IN YOUR OWN INTEREST, YOU ACT IN THE INTERESTS OF OTHER WORKING CLASS AND POOR PEOPLE AS WELL