Phil Matier: Why Transit, City Workers Are Willing To Strike

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The labor movement’s teamwork with Occupy activists around the Bay Area for May Day shines a spotlight on the workplaces of tens of thousands of city and transit workers and nurses throughout the region.

It’s obvious that all these workers aren’t happy about something at their workplace, but for some Golden Gate Bridge District employees it’s not about wages, considering what some of them are paid.

Painters of the Golden Gate Bridge average about $88,000 a year. The captains of the ferry boats that went on strike make about $80,000 to $90,000 a year, while the deckhands earn $60,000.

It’s more about health care. It’s about how they’re going to pay for something that’s becoming increasingly difficult for everyone to manage which is the rising cost of health care.

KCBS, CBS 5, and SF Chronicle Insider Phil Matier reports:

There are about 14 unions in negotiation with the Golden Gate Bridge District and one of the more militant groups went on strike. Initially they were reluctant to bring in the Occupy movement. An invitation was extended to them for help, but the initial plans to shut down the Golden Gate Bridge had some of the unions thinking “this is nuts” and that it would do them more harm than good.

So they backed off a bit and instead we have this one-day strike. Bringing in or associating with some of the more militant and fringe Occupy protestors could politically backfire. You only have the pull with the government when you have the pull of the public.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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