Thoughts on Today’s BART Strike, Unions and the Value of Workers

Bart TrainSomeone was complaining about today’s BART strike, talking about how it was a drag because traffic was gonna be messed up… Yes of course its gonna be messed up.. That’s the purpose of a strike to shut down business and show the importance workers have to a larger system.. That’s shown when vital services they provide are with held..

If workers as a whole, were stronger and understood their true value and weren’t in such economic dire straits, they would’ve been in a position to call their respective places of employment and say ‘No way am I coming into work if there’s no public transportation’ ..They’d understand that it is not right where CEOs make 320x more than their workers..

Many folks look at unions and say its wrong for them to collectively bargain, while remaining silent as managers and CEOs collectively build to set prices and policies via Trade organizations, lobbying groups and other associations we ain’t even heard about..

Some are upset that union workers are pushing back and demanding a raise, because they haven’t gotten one in 5 years as gas has increased, food has gone up and average rents increase to $3700-4000k in SF for two bedrooms and clearing $2700 in parts of Oakland.. In short Living costs have increased dramatically while living wages remain stagnant or in the case of city workers in Oakland who are also on strike today have decreased 10%…Bottom line is the average worker deserves more, especially when they are working at companies like BART, Wal-Mart and other outlets that had made nice profits..

On the flip side, for those who are in unions and deal with the public day in and day out.. Ideally union folks need to make sure that those in their ranks are more gracious to the people they serve.. Far too many of us have come across rude dismissive workers who left bad tastes in our mouths so much so, that when strikes come up, you hear remarks like ‘F– them Folks’ vs ‘Right on I’m with Ya..’

In my particular case, I’m shouting out the white guy at 20th street BART station who wears glasses and works the booth.. I’m that customer you didn’t wanna help when my ticket got jammed because you thought I was some ‘black guy from Oakland trying to scam the system’ vs a paying a customer who wound up paying a second fare because you ignored my requests…. Remember me? I should post your picture but I’m smart enough to know the fight for workers rights should not hinge on the bad experience one had with a particular individual, but sadly many will..

Hence this a reminder for those who are in unions to make sure public support is there and that starts with good interactions..That includes Oakland Parking enforcement folks who are also on strike today.. All of us are struggling to get by… Many of us are one paycheck away from financial upheaval. Many of us are underpaid and don’t need the extra hassle.

At the same time, we who are encountering workers should bear in mind their job is probably super wack in terms of pay and benefits, leaving them short-changed, so we too can give them a break.. In short like they say: Game Recognize Game.. How about we adopt the understanding Worker recognize Worker and push for all to have better tomorrows

Anyway Good luck on the strike.. Get a good contract..and If I have to deal with a massive traffic jam or don’t have all the city services needed for today for that to happen, so be it.. It’s a small price to pay in a world that is defined by a 1% vs 99% dynamic..

-Davey D-

3 New Hip Hop Videos from the Bay Area that Hit & We Should All See

Mistah Fab hits us across the dome with one of the better videos that speak to our conditions in 2010

Mistah Fab

Definitely digging the new video from Oakland’s own Mistah Fab This is Cool / Is a great song w/ a powerful message that challenges is and is coming from someone who has been through a lot.. Gotta applaud more songs like this.. Keep it coming such messages are needed..

Another dope song that’s coming from the Bay Area and shot in San Francisco is Razor Sharp Thoughts featuring Shamako Noble and Pasha.

We gonna repost this joint from Oakland rapper AshEL who teams up with Sticman from dead prez to do battle with Monsanto and the food industry.. The song has a great concept and nice wordplay.. Food is a drug.. It can help you or hurt you.. I like the way these cats break it down..

Oakland City Council Votes for William J Bratton….Community is Outraged

5 Oakland police officers surround one lone women who expressed outrage at the City Council voting to extend a contract to former LA and NY police chief William J Bratton

5 Oakland police officers surround one lone women who expressed outrage at the City Council voting to extend a contract to former LA and NY police chief William J Bratton

Oakland—After a marathon meeting that saw an attendance of more than 500 Oakland residents and nearly 4 hours of public testimony, the Oakland City Council voted in the early hours of Wednesday morning to move forward with spending $250,000 on a contract to hire controversial police consultant William Bratton.  Bratton’s notorious policing methods—including stop and frisk, gang injunctions, and curfews—remained center stage, as countless residents called for an end to harmful, divisive policing policies in Oakland.  Despite several Council members turning out pro-Bratton elements of their districts and a strong police presence in the chambers that heightened tension among participants, many residents stuck the meeting out to the bitter end, calling for public safety strategies that were more inclusive of community input and participation. Toward that end, Oaklanders recommended broader and better after school and restorative justice programs, job training, and services for residents returning from prison and jail.

Desley Brooks

Desley Brooks

Noting how the Council seemed to be playing into people’s fear, Councilperson Desley Brooks took a strong stand against the contract asking questions about what had been delivered on the existing contract and suggesting that the Council had been sloppy in considering the proposal to amend it. “Rejecting this contract tonight,” Brooks stated, “isn’t about not addressing crime.  It’s about doing the hard work that needs to be done.”  Brooks offered the lone voice of dissent on the Council.

“Sure it’s frustrating that the Council is moving ahead with the contract and Bratton despite all common sense, but many residents seem more ready than ever to band together and fight for a smarter, more sustainable way of dealing with harm in Oakland,” said Rachel Herzing of the Stop the Injunctions Coalition.  “Our work will continue to fight Bratton-style zero tolerance policing however and whenever it comes to our neighborhoods—to carve out wider and wider spaces for the real innovation and creativity in implementing strategies that are viable, that take into account the knowledge and experience of the community itself, and that are effective in making our city healthy and strong.”

That above piece came courtesy of  Stop the Injunctions Coalition

Below is the interviews we did with City Council women Desley Brooks

Here is our interview w/ Isaac Ontiveros of Stop the Gang Injunction Coalition..

I attended this marathon meeting and wrote an open letter to Oakland City Council and the Mayor Jean Quan…You can chime in by hitting this link..

Dear Oakland City Council members Rebecca Kaplan Pat Kernighan Desley Brooks Lynette Gibson McElhaney Libby Schaaf Larry Reid Noel Gallo for City Council Dist. 5 Oakland Mayor Jean Quan…….

After 5 hrs of testimony and over 500 people from all over speaking out against Chief Bratton and his infamous Stop and Frisk policies, y’all decided in a 7-1 vote to go ahead and vote for him anyway last night..During the discussion we heard some of you note that you wanted strategies from Bratton to make Oakland policing more efficient but not have racial profiling and Stop and Frisk.. Well if Bratton coming to consult Oakland is not going to lead to racial profiling and Stop and Frisk, will you all put that in writing and make that crystal clear?  How about putting in his contract Stop and Frisk and similar profiling tactics like the nicknamed ‘Jump Out Boys‘, ‘Open Halls‘ , ‘Run Up and Freeze‘ etc WILL NOT be used by police in Oakland?The point was made at the meeting that in order for crime to come down in Oakland, trust between the community and police is needed. How is the community supposed to trust OPD if they have a consultant who may recommend intrusive policies like Stop and Frisk?

Last night speaker after speaker expressed concern about this.. Why not ease those fears? This is especially important now that the judge who prohibited Stop and Frisk in NY has just reversed her position on many of the tactics used in this procedure..You can read about that here—–>

In NYC which many like to point to, you still have large scale protests against NYPD..around this issue including last springs march of silence that brought out close to 40k people… You even have police officers in NY objecting to stop and frisk because of the pressure to meet quotas.. You can see that here—->

Again why not put this in writing and take Stop and Frisk off the table if its not about that in your 7-1 decision to bring in Bratton?

We await your response Thank u
Davey D