Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the September 18, 1997 issue of Workers World newspaper
Twenty-six hundred workers shut down San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit system when they walked out on strike Sept. 8. The walkout seemed to stun transit officials, who haven't faced a major strike since 1979 and apparently expected the unions to back down on their demand to eliminate BART's two-tier wage scale. Workers are united, however. Train operator Doug C. Herbert told reporters he and his fellow strikers were inspired to fight for an end to two tiers by the Teamsters' success in the United Parcel Service strike last month. "We feel like unions are coming back," he said.
The strike unites three unions--the Service Employees, Amalgamated Transit Union and AFSCME--representing train operators, conductors, controllers, maintenance and clerical workers. And it unites higher-seniority workers with some 500 hired in the last two years at a lower pay scale. All say they're determined to lift up the lower-paid, so the strike is built on solidarity.
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