The findings from Transparent California’s recent report on a BART janitor has been republished by some of the largest news organizations around the world.
The Easy Bay Times got tremendous mileage out of our work, publishing a series of stories on the topic. They added tremendous context, with none better than interviewing an area janitor who explained that there was no amount of OT he could work to earn a comparable wage.
From there, it went viral as we were cited in every print and TV media outlet in the San Francisco Bay Area, before going global.
Some of the larger outlets to cite our work included:
I did a brief interview with the local ABC affiliate that ended up airing in Chicago, Arizona and other regions as well.
The video can be viewed here.
It should be noted that the claim uncritically repeated by BART that OT is more efficient than hiring a new worker is false.
It’s incredibly easy to show that. BART paid $162,000 for 2,485 hours of OT for a position they say has an average wage of $50,000. The average benefits package for a BART janitor is $30,000. Ironically that’s what most private janitors in the San Francisco area earn, and it’s very safe to assume that their benefits package, if any, is less than $10,000.
The $50,000 wage works out to about $24 an hour.
A new BART worker would earn $50,000 for the first 2,080 hours and then $14,603 for the next 405 hours at an overtime rate of $36 an hour ($24 X 1.5).
Adding those two numbers up, with an extra $30,000 for benefits, brings the total to around $94,603. This is obviously far short of the $162,000 in overtime pay BART claims is cheaper than hiring a new worker.
You can tweak the numbers however you’d like, and we’re not getting anywhere close to $162,000.
For example, let’s assume that BART workers only work an 1,820 hour year instead of the standard 2,080.
So now the total OT hours from the original 2,485 would be 665. Let’s further assume that half of those OT get a 2x multiplier, instead of 1.5x.
1,820 * $24 = 43,680
332.5 * $36 = $11,970
332.5 * $48 = $15,960
That brings total pay to $71,610. Adding $30k of benefits gets us to $101,610. Even dropping the regular hours to only 1,420 and paying the remaining 1,065 in OT (half of which we apply a 2x multiplier to) gets us to only $108,810.
Heck, you could even hire two additional workers and still spend less than $162,000!
Splitting the hours evenly would come out to a wage of around $30,000 each. The benefits would be lower, given retirement are based on a percentage of non-OT wages, but even if we want to give the full $30k in benefits to both, we’re at only $120,000 for two new workers with full (overstated) benefits.
There is simply no way that paying $162,000 for 2,485 hours worth of janitorial work is efficient, contrary to BART’s claims.