Members of BART’s two largest unions overwhelming voted this week to give their leaders the authority to call a strike , while AC Transit workers are saying they might not go along with with plans to help stranded commuters get between the East Bay and San Francisco.
According to union officials, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employees International Union Local 1021 voted nearly unanimous in favor of the strike authorization.
Oakland city workers have also authorized a strike, which can take place after their contracts expire on Sunday.
However, the BART unions are not likely to walk out on Monday, immediately after their contacts expire. Union officials have said they will give commuters 72 hours’ notice of a potential strike.
AC Transit workers, represented Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, also has a contract that expires after Sunday, and has taken its own strike authorization vote.
Adding to the impact on residents of Oakland, city workers in Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 announced June 13 that their members voted to authorize a strike.
A strike could potentially take place after Sunday when the contracts expire.
BART has settled the $50 million case that was filed on behalf of the family of Oscar Grant—the young man killed January 1, 2009 by a former BART Police officer on the Fruitvale station platform. On Tuesday afternoon, following five settlement conferences over 2.5 years, BARTreached an agreement with Oscar Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, for $1.3million.
This is the second and final settlement in the $50 million case against the individually named officers, including Johannes Mehserle, for the death ofOscar Grant. The first was with Oscar Grant’s daughter, Tatiana, for $1.5million in January 2010. Last month a federal judge dismissed all thecharges Wanda Johnson raised against BART as an agency.
“The tragic death of Oscar Grant will remain a painful memory for all of us,” BART Board President Bob Franklin said. “While we cannot alter the past, we have been using the lessons learned as a catalyst to change our future. We on the BART Board have been continuously taking the actions needed to improve the BART Police Department to ensure our officers are better-trained and better-equipped and we’re working with the community and our customers to earn their trust and confidence by keeping them safe and secure.”
“No matter what anyone’s opinion of the case may be, the sad fact remains that this incident has left Wanda Johnson without a son,” BART Board Member Lynette Sweet said. Sweet chairs the BART Police Department Review Committee, which is guiding the implementation of the changes within the police department. “We’re working hard to make the Police Department the best it can be for our officers, our customers and our community. This settlement is critical in our efforts to move forward.”
Sharon Anne Kidd
The BART board of directors recently approved the Citizen Review Board, an 11- member citizens’ panel named to oversee the BART police department. The group was selected from a pool of 40 candidates. After receiving training, the review board members will listen to BART riders and provide input to BART officials about the agency’s police officers. The panel will report directly to the BART board and their duties will include reviewing and monitoring changes to the system’s police practices, reviewing citizen complaints about police misconduct, advising the agency’s general manager and police chief and meeting periodically with BART police association members.
Sharon Anne Kidd of Berkeley, (District 7) stated, “Being on the BART Citizens Review Board will allow me to be more aware of issues that arise regarding problems, questions or comments from our riders. Also, my actions will be unbiased because I am also a commuter. I can go into the communities and let our citizens know that we are working for them to make things better. They can come forward with their concerns, questions and comments, and perhaps help us to come up with solutions to help correct some of these problems.” Read more
From left to right: Jeremy Liu (EBALDC Executive Director), District 7 Councilmember Larry Reid, Janny Castillo (OHA Commissioner), Bill Witte (President of Related California), Gabriel Speyer (Vice President Community Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch), Eric Johnson (OHA Executive Director), Mayor Jean Quan, Moses Mayne (Chair, OHA Board of Commissioners), Lion Creek Crossings residents Aaliyah Carney and Marilyn Lawson, and District 4 BART Director Robert Raburn. Photo by Gene Hazzard.
District 7 Councilmember Larry Reid and Mayor Jean Quan kicked off groundbreaking celebrations at Lion Creek Crossings Phase IV in E. Oakland, next to the Coliseum BART station, on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 1 p.m. Developers and finance partners, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC), Oakland Housing Authority (OHA), Related California, and Bank of America held the event, although construction has already been in full swing for a couple months. Next door, construction workers with Nibbi Brothers were hard at work, and the sounds of hammering could be heard in the background throughout the speaking program.
In addition to speeches from elected officials and execs of OHA, Related CA, EBALDC, and Bank of America, Ms. Marilyn Lawson, a five-year resident of Lion Creek Crossings and community activist, spoke about what inspires her to organize an annual community health fair and reach out to youth. She was joined on the stage by two local youth leaders, Aaliyah Carney and Jamilla Lawson, who also spoke about civic engagement and contributing to their community.
Larry Reid commended the work of Ms. Lawson and the youth, saying, “[it] motivates you to continue the struggle- the struggle to change one of the areas that those who have any history about East East Oakland of being known as the ‘killing fields’ of this city. Well, that name does not fit this part of Oakland because it is going through some incredible change….I always say that God is good. Read more