BART Board of Directors Might Not Approve Labor Contract After All
Just when you got comfortable on your cloth seat, BART informs everyone that the painful labor struggle isn't over.
Flickr/This Year's Love BART and its unions go at it again
As commuters already know, both sides agreed to a tentative labor deal on Oct. 21, putting an end to the second four-day BART strike. The BART unions signed off on the deal earlier this month, and as far as they knew, the BART Board of Directors was expected to do the same.
Everything was moving smoothly and everyone (including you) was happy.
According to the unions, BART management derailed the harmony when it recommended to its board of directors (who must sign off on the labor deal) not to approve the agreement; management claims that the unions wrote in a provision that the transit agency did not agree to.
"BART management believes that a provision that it did not agree to was inadvertently included in the final labor package, which is scheduled to be considered by the BART Board next week. BART is currently costing out the impact of the provision," said Jim Allison, spokesman for BART.
Upon hearing the news about this curious provision, the BART Board of Directors quickly called a special meeting for Friday so its members could analyze every line of the final package and discuss the latest glitch.
Board Director James Fang confirmed to KTVU Thursday that the sticking point is family medical leave. Under the new contract, 3,200 BART workers would get six weeks of paid leave each year. Other contract language stated that workers would have to use sick leave and vacation time first.
"It's very unfortunate," Fang said. "We're going to discuss the options and one of them is to not to approve the contract."
Needless to say, the unions are pissed, and yes the word "strike" came up.
Pete Castelli, executive director of SEIU 1021, said that back in July, BART management and the unions reached a tentative agreement on family medical leave, which was signed by BART management and their chief negotiator. "After a thorough review of the final settlement last month, BART management and their attorneys did not raise any concerns about how this tentative agreement or other provisions in the final settlement would prevent them from recommending the contract to the Board for approval."
"It's disappointing to hear BART management would recommend that the BART Board reject this agreement -- a contract they negotiated with their workers for more than five months, signed, and praised in the public as a fair compromise," Castelli said. "We expect the BART Board of Directors to vote on and approve this fair and reasonable contract."