BART Unions to Sue BART Management (Update)

Categories: Labor

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Flickr/Steve Rhodes
Ah, the good 'ol days
Update 11:52 a.m.: Well, it's done -- the unions this morning officially filed a lawsuit against the BART Board of Directors in Alameda County Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges the following:

  • The Directors broke state law by refusing to ratify the complete contract their authorized agents negotiated and signed. The Board of Directors have withheld ratification of the total contract, claiming that the section on paid family medical leave was signed by mistake by their chief negotiator Thomas Hock, Assistant General Manager Paul Oversier and Labor Relations Manager Rudy Medina. If that were the case, the "mistake" was caused solely by the District's own carelessness and lack of constructive engagement at the bargaining table, which are not grounds for refusing to ratify a total package agreement.


  • The BART Board of Directors broke state law when it refused to execute the complete, final agreement. With the understanding that a complete agreement was reached, the unions called off their second unfair practice strike and ratified the total final package on November 1st.


  • It's unlawful for BART or any employer to sidestep months of negotiations, unilaterally change the terms of a total package agreement, and then offer the modified terms to the union on a take-it-or-leave it basis. BART Directors illegally removed the section on paid family medical leave.

  • Read the full lawsuit and BART's response at the bottom of the story:

    Original Story 8:33 a.m.: BART's largest unions, SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555, fired off a notice to the media this morning, announcing their plans to file a lawsuit against the Bart Board of Directors over its "illegitimate and unprecedented actions regarding the unions' labor contracts."

    In translation: This labor dispute is far from over.

    What this means to the average BART rider remains to be seen. However, the unions are planning to host a press conference at 11 a.m. today to explain the details of this suit.

    As BART riders probably already know, that labor deal that was agreed upon back in October -- the one that got the trains moving again after a four-day strike -- wasn't actually agreeable. After the unions signed off on the new contract, management freaked out over the six weeks of paid family leave, a provision which they seemed to have overlooked when signing off on a tentative deal.

    With that, BART management asked its Board of Directors not to approve the labor contract, claiming the family leave provision would cost the transit agency some $40 million over the next four years. The unions refute that number, saying it would actually be no more than $5 million.

    So on Nov, 21, the BART Board of Directors rejected the deal 8-1, effectively putting BART riders back in limbo. Now it was the unions' turn to freak out -- and they did. They claimed the board's decision was "unlawful" especially since its chief negotiator Tom Hock, along with other important people who presumably know how to read, signed the very agreement the board rejected.

    And that brings us to present day, which now kind of feels similar to being stuck on a non-moving train in the Transbay Tube with no ETA in sight.

    Update: Read the lawsuit:

    ThirdAmendedVerifiedWritPetition BART

    BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

    This unnecessary action will only delay resolution to BART's labor contract. A lawsuit is not needed to correct a mistake. When mistakes are made in contract negotiations they are corrected administratively by the parties, acting in good faith. Fortunately this mistake was caught in time before the mistaken language was brought before the District's Board for ratification.

    For the sake of BART's riders, union leadership should allow workers to vote on the corrected agreement so BART can move forward with a renewed focus on providing safe, reliable and convenient transportation under a fair labor contract.

    This mistake would give BART union employees an additional six weeks of paid leave per year. This additional six weeks of paid leave comes on top of the 3-6 weeks of vacation, 13 paid holidays and 12 sick days that employees already receive annually. District negotiators would never have knowingly agreed to such a financially backbreaking proposal. The union's proposal for six additional weeks of paid leave was twice rejected by the District and then withdrawn by the unions. That withdrawal was reaffirmed by the District. After that point, it was never discussed again.

    BART will review the lawsuit over the next several days.




    My Voice Nation Help
    16 comments
    Stephen Johnson
    Stephen Johnson

    Gary Dale Robertson...you are incorrect my friend. And you make very immature and unfortunate assumptions...

    Dallas DeBurger
    Dallas DeBurger

    FMLA is a federal law and any company with 50 or more employees is covered by this law...it doesn't have to be negotiated. What the unions want is 6 weeks of paid leave on top of their vacation and sick pay. This would be an enormous cost to BART and ultimately the riders of BART.

    塞繆塞繆
    塞繆塞繆

    We the people that takes Bart should sue the union!!!! Since they like striking and getting away with shit!!!

    Garon Cummings
    Garon Cummings

    how about they put as much time into working as they do not working maybe they will get a pay increase like everyone else does by working for it

    Emily Goldman Quinn
    Emily Goldman Quinn

    If your benefits are not as good as theirs, fight for better benefits. Don't aim to bring everyone to the lowest common denominator. It was unions that led the private sector to have weekends. You might not like how they're fighting, but we should all hope that the US (private and public/union) can raise the bar and match benefits of other first world nations. Six weeks of paid leave is NOT crazy. It's just not what YOU get.

    Gregorio Lopez
    Gregorio Lopez

    Yes it does Dallas DeBurger. Why don't u got to a bart station and ask a station agent or train operator what it is about. Bart hired a known union buster and paid him $400,000 to settle a contract. He signed off on the contract as well as bart management and now they don't want to honor it. Do some research before u speak.

    Gregorio Lopez
    Gregorio Lopez

    Before any of u open your holes and talk smack about the workers look up and read and understand what FMLA is. U can't just take the leave whenever u want. U have to go through Dr's and quality before u can take it. And it's to take care of a seriously ill parent, child, spouse or partner.

    Carmichael Caudron
    Carmichael Caudron

    union forgot this isn't Denmark or Holland,where workers and immigrants get treated like actual people. this is America damnit, where the harder it is the better,so if I suffer so must u! that's the spirit lol.

    Khanh Nguyen
    Khanh Nguyen

    Actually, I quite like my job but that's neither here nor there :-)

    Gary Dale Robertson
    Gary Dale Robertson

    stephen johnson and khanh nguyen, just because your shitty jobs dont provide you with good benefits doesnt mean everyone should be forced into working for awful benefits and compensation.

    Stephen Johnson
    Stephen Johnson

    Six weeks of paid leave? Who do these people think they are?!?!

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