A few days before it all went down the tubes, Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, had this to say on the organization's website:
"Whether BART closes down this week will come down to one issue and one issue only: whether the BART Board of Directors shows leadership or continues to act to hold Bay Area transit riders hostage by using the same playbook a small minority of elected officials in Washington, DC have used to close down our federal government."
BART riders and other denizens of the Bay Area so far haven't seen it that way. Quite the reverse: The unions are the hostage takers - a furious public has said so in overwhelming numbers. The unions are the ones who have closed down BART.
And, like the Republican Party in Washington, the unions appear to have suffered some serious damage. "The danger to labor is if the strike goes on for a while, then the unthinkable begins to be discussed - like banning all mass transit strikes," said Harley Shaiken, a labor economist at UC Berkeley.
That discussion has already begun, in letters from California lawmakers to Gov. Jerry Brown, from state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who said he "looking into legislation that could prevent future strikes," a petition drive by a Democratic Assembly candidate in the East Bay seeking the same, and a piece by editorial page editor John Diazin Sunday's Chronicle supporting a Republican proposal that BART unions be made to honor the no-strike clause in...