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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Labor faces backlash over BART strikes

Today's post was shared by Steven Greenhouse and comes from

The two strikes that BART workers staged this year damaged the image of labor unions in California, particularly among middle-of-the-road voters, according to a new Field Poll.

The survey found that 45 percent of respondents said unions do more harm than good, while 40 percent felt they do more good. That's a large shift from when the Field Poll asked the question in March 2011, when 46 percent said unions do more good and 35 percent felt they do more harm.

Among those who described their political ideology as "middle-of-the-road," 47 percent in the new survey said unions do more harm and 36 percent believed the opposite. Two years ago, the numbers were reversed: 45 percent believed unions are generally a force for good, and 34 percent said they aren't.

The latest poll's findings are a warning to unions, said Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo, heading into a year in which voters statewide could be considering a ballot measure that would increase public employees' pension contributions.

"A lot of this is due to the BART strikes," DiCamillo said. "It may have only affected Bay Area commuters, but it was watched around the state."

Ill will in Bay Area

Bay Area voters, despite being more liberal than those elsewhere in California, are now especially unsympathetic to public transit workers unions, the poll found. Although voters statewide support such unions' right to strike by a bare 47-45 percent, a majority of Bay Area respondents said such...

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