When Grace Crunican was brought in to become BART's General Manager back in the summer of 2011, BART listed the following reasons that justified her being hired:
Transportation professional Grace Crunican is taking over as the new BART General Manager. Crunican (prounounced: Krun-i-can) was appointed today, Wednesday, August 31, 2011, at a Special Board meeting, ending a nationwide search for the next General Manager of the Bay Area’s premiere public transportation system.
"The Board selected Ms. Crunican because of her 32 years of experience in the public transportation industry," BART Board President Bob Franklin said. "She brings a transparent and inclusive approach, ideal qualities to lead the BART organization in providing safe and reliable transportation service for its passengers and the communities of the Bay Area."
And this is what Crunican had to say on August 31, 2011 when the Special BART Board meeting selected her as General Manager:
"I believe any endeavor is stronger through partnerships," Crunican said. "I will work to build those partnerships from the first day of my job. This includes reaching out to BART’s customers, the communities BART serves, employees and other stakeholders. As BART’s General Manager, I will coordinate with other regional transit agencies, planning and funding organizations, our partners at the local, regional, state and federal level to enhance the services we provide daily."
Ok. Let's repeat what Crunican just said.
I will work to build those partnerships from the first day of my job. This includes reaching out to BART’s customers, the communities BART serves, employees and other stakeholders.
Here's the full video of newly-chosen Grace Crunican as BART's General Manager:
So to summarize, basically what Crunican said from this video was that her responsibility as BART General Manager was to serve.
Well, judging by the history of BART management with BART union employees and the latest update on BART union negotiations, it doesn't seem like Crunican is doing any of that.
We have tried for months to work with BART’s high-paid negotiators to address critical safety issues in the system. Workers have died because of the current lighting situation, but BART refuses to address this issue at the bargaining table. We want to open bathrooms in stations and keep them clean and safe, but BART won’t address that either. We want to ensure that the system is fully staffed so we have the capacity to keep trains, tracks, and riders safe.
And yes, some of this is about fair pay. We gave up over $100 million in concessions in our last contract negotiations, and we haven’t had a raise in 5 years, yet the cost of living in the Bay Area has spiked by over 18%. Meanwhile ridership is at record high and the system is running at peak condition. We are being asked to do more, with fewer workers and less pay. Its not fair and it hurts our ability to serve the riding public.
We work hard to get riders where they need to go quickly and safely, and as a result, BART has had back-to-back budget surpluses. We stepped up 4 years ago and agreed to freeze our pay, to help keep the system running. Now that their budget is flush, they are still asking us to make cuts and concessions. BART is telling the public that they have offered the workers a pay increase, but they aren’t telling you the whole story. They are also taking away more of our paycheck to fund our medical care and retirement security. They even admitted in bargaining that their latest offer would leave each BART worker with a net pay increase of just $1 per year for the next four years.
OAKLAND -- Negotiations between BART and its unions resumed Thursday morning as fewer commuters took to the road on the July Fourth holiday.
But a union representative from Service Employees International Union Local 1021 signaled little sign of progress as the strike entered a fourth day.
Talks resumed at 11 a.m. after negotiations between management and officials from SEIU and Amalgamated Transit Union 1555 dragged on until near midnight
During a break from negotiations Thursday afternoon, SEIU chief negotiator Josie Mooney detoured to the Lake Merritt station to thank union members for their show of support on the holiday. While the two top state mediators sent in by Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday ordered both sides to keep the talks confidential until a deal is reached, Mooney gave a brief update to union members without expanding upon the nature of Thursday morning's talks.
Mooney said that while not at an impasse, negotiations with BART were "not going well."
"We are working very hard under the auspices of two of the state's best mediators," Mooney said. "We are fighting for liberty from employers who treat workers like you-know-what."
Furthermore, Grunican is noticeably absent per SEIU chief negotiator Josie Mooney:
Mooney went on to incite cries from union members when she informed picketers that BART General Manager Grace Crunican was still conspicuously absent from negotiations.
"I just have one more question ... where's Grace?" Mooney asked an aroused group of picketers, some hoisting missing persons signs with Crunican's face on them. "We saw her in the newspaper, but we haven't seen her at the bargaining table."
About 150 BART SEIU employees rallied in front of the Lake Merritt station, reciting such chants as "They brought the trains to a halt; don't blame us, it's management's fault!"
Ok, if you are a BART General Manager and a sign of your face is on a picket sign, that doesn't look good for your credibility, particularly considering BART's management has been arrogant from the get-go. We know there are people with anti-Obama or any anti-incumbent president signs during political campaign season but that's partisan rhetoric coming from another side's point of view.
The picketing this time is going after a BART General Manager because of not being accessible or proactive in the BART negotiations. BART doesn't need this union fight right now, especially considering there are a lot of other repairs that need to be made:
1) Overall safety on BART trains
2) Cleaning up dirty and smelly BART trains
3) Enforcing the NO Food and Drink policy (which hasn't been done in years)
4) Mis-communicating to BART patrons and riders not to enter the first car of a train with a bike when there's a bike rack there. *face palm*
5) Rise in crime
6) BART union employees salaries restored of course plus full benefits
7) Fixing the trains to avoid tracking problems, mechanical problems and computer problems (always excuses coming from BART)
8) Renovating and fixing the BART trains and transportation into a more modern system that's faster and more efficient
9) Anything else I didn't mention
Speaking on #8. Here's a video of BART as BART pictures it in the future. Too bad absolutely nothing has happened on this front yet.
Furthermore, you know something is a problem with BART when even the transit agency in its own video admits getting a few billion dollars in funding for new, advanced cars is going to be a challenge.
Seriously, if new advanced cars and an advanced BART transit system are funded across the board in the Bay Area, there is no reason why there won't be a significant increase in business. Less problems to deal with, no concern over aging cars and mechanical problems.
Furthermore, BART isn't going to make any regular riders or commuters happy with the following plans in lieu of the BART strike:
BART Plans Limited Fourth of July Charter Bus Service if no train service
Morning Service: First Come, First Served
3 buses at 6 am at El Cerrito del Norte,
Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton,
Fremont & West Oakland Stations
OAKLAND, CA – If BART trains continue to remain out of service July 4th, BART will provide very limited charter bus service to and from San Francisco during the peak commute periods: starting at 6am from five East Bay stations and 4 to 6 pm from San Francisco.
The limited charter bus service will pick up riders at the following five BART stations: West Oakland, El Cerrito del Norte, Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton and Fremont stations. At 6am, 3 buses will arrive at each of these stations. Once a bus is filled it will leave for San Francisco. This is first come, first served. Each bus carries 50 passengers. The service will only last until all three buses are filled or 8am, whichever comes first. The service is intended to serve those who are working July 4th.
The trip home will be a direct ride to each of the 5 stations with 3 buses serving each destination from 4-6pm. The last bus to each station will leave at 6pm so riders need to arrive before then.
Friday’s service will be similar but each station will have 7 buses show up at 5am and it will be first come first served. The service will only last until all seven buses are filled or 8am, whichever comes first. The return trip home will be from 3pm-7pm. The last bus to each station will leave at 7pm so riders need to arrive before then.
Should ongoing labor negotiations yield a settlement at any time, it will still take approximately 18 hours to resume BART train service.
Limited charter bus service eh? So only West Oakland, El Cerrito del Norte, Walnut Creek, Dublin/Pleasanton, and Fremont stations?
This sounds like a REALLY attractive temporary fix while BART union strikes are going on. REALLY attractive!
So if you're living down in the Peninsula through Millbrae, you're screwed.
What do you think: Should BART General Manager Grace Crunican resign and be replaced? Should BART get a new, fresh board?
In the meantime, call Grace Crunican's office at 510-464-6060, the BART Board of Directors at 510-464-6095 during business hours and firstname.lastname@example.org to vent your frustration.
Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 12:04 AM PT: UPDATE: BART Strike is OVER