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Thursday, January 2, 2014

BART Kicks off 2014 by Signing Off on Labor Contract

Posted By on Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 2:00 PM

BART arrives at a contract deal -- albeit it very delayed
  • BART arrives at a contract deal -- albeit it very delayed

As we noted just a few days ago, 2013 was a complete mess of a year for BART. From transit strikes to naked acrobats and nasty train sex -- let's just say it's 365 days we don't miss.

And while BART can't promise 2014 won't have its fair share of history-making moments, it can at the very least say the labor tension is over for now. Today, the BART Board of Directors approved a new four-year contract.

What does that mean for you, the average BART rider? It means you don't have to worry about BART leaving you stranded on your way to work.

Non-stop train delays, however, well that's a whole other blog post.

The unions expressed relief, but used the great news as one last chance to take a shot at their bosses:

SEIU 1021 Executive Director Pete Castelli wraps up the unions' feelings in this short and not-so-sweet statement:

Today's Board vote incrementally restores the faith that the riders and workers have lost in the BART Board of Directors, but it's not enough to fix the damage they've caused to our communities.

It's been an unnecessarily long, tough, and contentious eight months of negotiations, which have been prolonged by the BART Directors' unwillingness to sit down and bargain fairly with the workers. Over the course of negotiations, the Bay Area has witnessed this Board of Directors throw BART and the Bay Area into chaos by pushing workers out on two strikes and by failing to demand accountability from BART's General Manager Grace Crunican.

Today BART is less safe and less reliable because of the Directors' reckless leadership.

The new contract includes some revisions to the family leave clause which, according to BART management, was mistakenly added into the tentative deal agreed to in early November. It was that deal which ended the second four-day BART strike of 2013.

After a great deal of confusion, stress, anger, and a lawsuit, BART and its two largest unions arrived an agreement that both sides could live with. That includes greater flexibility for workers when it comes to family medical leave. Workers can now choose to use any accumulated leave towards family medical leave, including sick leave, vacation days, floating holidays, comp days or they can elect to take unpaid leave, according to the contract.

"We thank the union leaders for all their hard work to resolve the family leave dispute and to move this agreement forward," said BART President Joel Keller. "The Bay Area has been put through far too much and we owe it to our riders and the public to make the needed reforms to our contract negotiations process so mistakes are avoided in the future. I will appoint a new Board committee to investigate the policies and practices of labor negotiations and will make recommendations to the Board and the General Manager on how we can improve the process."

The unions are expected to vote on the contract on Jan. 13. We don't anticipate anymore bumps on the track.

You can read the full details of the revisions below:

01-02-14 Special Board Agenda

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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