Pigeon droppings cause uproar at BART meeting

November 19, 2009 6:38:08 PM PST
BART workers packed a board meeting because they are worried about future layoffs and angry about past ones. But there is also a very lively discussion of something not related to money -- the topic of cleaning up pigeon droppings.

Pigeon droppings, according to the union, pose a definite health threat to workers and BART.

Money is really the main topic being talked about at the BART meeting. They are talking about money and jobs. BART announced it is $26 million short in money and revenues -- up from $22 million before.

Sales tax and ridership are down and BART has laid off five part-time workers and may need to lay off more.

Union leaders point to the contract battle last summer and say they have a memo from BART management vowing to try to avoid layoffs and the threat of layoffs so soon, it means the management is going back on its word.

BART said they never made a promise about no layoffs.

Then there's the issue of pigeon droppings.

"It's dry, it gets scraped, then it is airborne. People breathe these things in and our workers want protective equipment and clothing and proper training on how to clean up after this," said President Local 1021 Lisa Issler.

"You can go to Cal OSHA, I encourage you to do this, or go to any agency that does look at pigeon droppings and other types of feces and that type of thing, and you are going to find that it is not any more toxic than the stuff that they already clean up," said Chief BART spokesperson Linton Johnson.

Pigeon droppings are a problem at BART and all over the Bay Area. But ever since a Daly City BART worker decided it wasn't in his or her best interest to clean something up, there has been some controversy about how well BART workers are trying to clean it up and if they have enough protective gear to clean up the droppings.


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