Critical Minute: Next Stop: Good PR

Union contract negotiations and strikes have long been a difficult PR task for corporations in the public eye.

Recently, San Francisco’s BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system shut down for nearly a week due to a strike, leaving around 400,000 daily riders with no choice but to sit in heavy traffic on their commute.

Eventually BART began operating again, having come to an agreement with the unions to extend contract negotiations another month. After a week of unhappy customers, and an ongoing, open-ended battle with the unions, BART was in need of some good PR.

In an effort to regain public support, BART administrators, including the General Manager, Grace Crunican took to the trains, personally handing out free clipper cards and apologizing to formally disgruntled riders.

KPIX news covered the story and got a lot of positive reactions to the personal touch in BART’s customer service. The news team polled residents and found that people were twice as likely to side with BART management over BART workers, thanks to BART’s transparency and excellent customer service.

What can the unions do to get some good PR of their own and even out the playing field? Tell us your ideas on our Facebook page!

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