BART Employees Unions Holding Strike Authorization Votes Tuesday

by : sfappeal – excerpt

BART union workers are distributing leaflets to patrons today that highlight safety issues that they say aren’t being addressed by management at the bargaining table.
Leah Berlanga, a spokeswoman for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers at BART, said the safety of the transit agency’s employees and customers is being compromised by inadequate lighting in tunnels, a substandard electrical system and other problems.
Berlanga said the lighting in some tunnels is so bad that train operators can’t see fellow employees who are doing repair work…
Trost said she believes the fact that the unions are holding strike authorization votes “validates the signal they’ve been sending that they are prepared to strike so they don’t have to pay more for health care and pension costs.”… (more)

How will a BART strike effect the daily commute? They are having accidents and incidents now.

Warming Up: Muni Starts its Wastefulness Early Every Morning

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

Steve Foti is a great big teddy bear of a man who resembles a retired football defensive end. But he’s a retired bean-counter with the office of Harvey Rose, the Board of Supervisors budget analyst. On most days, Foti would find himself parked across from a pile of forms and files. But now it was 3 a.m., and he was parked across from the Muni yard on a chilly morning in 1996. He grins at the memory and explains his accounting adventure.
“It was like clockwork,” he recalls. “We’d heard rumors about this — they started coming in and turning the bus headlights on. And we were blinded by the headlights of hundreds of buses staring at us!” Some of those buses were allowed to idle for four-and-a-half hours; 15 minutes would have easily sufficed…
Cheney wants a charter amendment barring this practice in San Francisco. Ordinances in this city find their way into the blue, green, or black bins of history. Charter amendments, however, require six supervisors to place them on the ballot, and subsequently carry the gravitas of a vote of the people.
“Who on the Board of Supervisors is gonna say ‘We ought to be idling buses for hours’? Who’s gonna stand up for that?” says Cheney. “If they want, I’ll even help them write the legislation.
“We can turn the wheel,” he continues. “Even a little bit.”… (more)

Mr. Fix-It: A Mechanic Turns from Trying to Save Muni to Trying to Save the World

By Joe Eskenazi : SFWeekly – excerpt

“Here’s how you gotta start your story, dude,” says Mike Cheney, matter-of-factly. “You create this scene where there’s some sort of ceremony out on Altamont Pass and they’re removing the last windmill. They’re pulling down that sucker like it’s a statue of Saddam Hussein!”
In Cheney’s vision, energy sources — including the windmill — will be supplanted by the one he’s invented, which will set right the existing, flawed order…
Every decade and change, a big Mike Cheney story splashes across a San Francisco newspaper. In 1988, a San Francisco Examiner piece titled “‘Pit Bull’ Hounds Muni Management” was illustrated via a bus sporting Cujo fangs. Ten years later, an Ex article called “The Man Who Would Be Muni King” — in which Cheney held forth on how he’d fix the ailing system — was knocked off the front page of the paper’s later editions when an N-Judah train rumbled between Embarcadero and Van Ness stations without a driver….
 (more)

RELATED:
Mike Cheney’s Media History