While there isn’t a rash of strikes in local government, demands for increased wages and replaced compensation as we emerge from the Recession will continue to put pressure on the relationships between governments and the unionized labor pool they employ. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the BART strike has helped illustrated a divide and debate over public-sector work stoppages.

For many public employees, the recession has resulted in furloughs or pay cuts. More employees are having to pay more for their benefits, too. However, the private sector has seen greater job losses, wage stagnation, and resentment towards the perceived “cushy” wages and benefits afforded to public employees.

For those who remain out of work or have taken a lower-wage job, the call from BART employees for a 20 percent increase over three years wasn’t insulting, but it was off-putting. The strike made BART employees seem out-of-touch. However, others see the unionized efforts as an effective means for advocating for the common worker and strikes as their most powerful tool.

Read the full article at the Bay Area News Group.