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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Labor & Workers
BART, AC Transit, and other workers blockade BART Office, July 1st
BART and AC Transit workers shut down front of BART office during march.
On July 1st, BART workers rallied and announced that they would continue their strike (which has now been put on hold by the Governor), that was called off a month ago after 4 1/2 days of shutting down the bay area's rapid transit system. Police announced that they would be heavily watching the march in fear that union workers would be joined by Occupy protesters as well. In top form, union heads stated in the media that they would not tolerate any sort of 'occupy violence.' This creation of two tears of protesters, one 'bad,' one 'good,' has been seen again and again in bay area struggles. Those that are contained, organized, and managed by groups that work closely with the government, (such as they unions and non-profits) are "good," as long as they stay in the bounds of the law, while groups and individuals which do not work with the state and take action on their own accord, are "bad." Sometimes they are labeled "occupy," or "anarchists," but the intended effect is the same. Workers and others are scared into taking action outside of the bounds of the law or outside of the direction of their leaders which might place their own struggle in their control. This is why we are including this video of workers taking action blocking the front the downtown Oakland BART office along with rank-n-file AC Transit workers and others. As workers gain experience and confidence in their struggles and make connections with others around them, they can begin to take control of their own struggles.
Both AC Transit workers (who's union excepted a tentative agreement that gives concessions to management) and BART workers are angry that union heads have not brought workers out on strike together. Workers understand that both groups out at the same time would shut the bay area down and give them more power to fight against taking concessions. It was the 1946 Oakland general strike that began just blocks away from where the downtown BART rally took place that set in motion the ruling elite to push the Taft Hartley Act which curtailed the ability of labor unions to launch strikes and helped pave the way for McCarthy attacks on organizers. While labor bureaucrats fear the coming together of the Occupy movement with their own members, the ability of the working class to organize itself and carry out it's own struggles is the only way forward. With the California government possibly placing BART workers in a 'cooling off period,' for several months, denying them the ability to strike, and AC Transit workers stuck with a contract that offers concessions, workers will have to make the choice to organize themselves, together, or continue to lose. This struggle will go out of the bounds of the law, involve workers from a broad range of industries, students, the unemployed, and will come up against the power of the state and the existing union leadership.