Bay Area Traffic
BART official: Unions, BART $100 million apart
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The threat of another BART strike is intensifying. BART claims the transit agency's proposal and the unions' proposal are nearly $100 million apart. BART and the unions went before a panel appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday to talk about the hurdles to a deal.
The board of inquiry appointed by Brown took more 5 hours of testimony from BART and its union leaders about why their lengthy talks have yielded little results.
"Everything they have done since April this year has been to delay, stall and impede the bargaining process," SEIU Local 1021 President Roxanne Sanchez said.
While the unions claim BART is dealing in bad faith and trying to force them into a zero-gain contract with hardball tactics. BART says it's latest offer, a 9 percent raise over four years, is more than fair. They also want employees to pay more for their benefits.
"BART is asking its employees to play a larger role in sharing the cost of their generous medical and pension plan," BART General Manager Grace Crunican said.
The unions' latest proposal calls for a 5 percent increase over three years, which includes a cost of living increase. The unions are also offering to pay into their pensions and more for health care, but not as much as BART wants.
BART asked the governor to step in and appoint the board. It will deliver a report to the governor by the end of the week. He will then decide whether to grant the 60-day cooling off period the district has requested.
"We don't think it's needed, we think a contract's needed," SEIU Local 1021 Executive Director Pete Castelli said.
"We want to make sure the trains can continue to negotiate; we don't want to slow things down," BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said. "We want to just get back to the table and continue to negotiate while the trains run."
There are bargaining sessions scheduled for Thurday and Friday. In the meantime, the governor will look at the report from his board of inquiry and will decide whether to grant the cooling off period by Sunday.
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