Bay Area Traffic

BART, union leaders reach new contract deal

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The threat of another BART strike is gone. The unions and transit agency have agreed on the final contract sticking point.

One of the issues that came up during those contentious months of negotiations was a lack of break rooms for workers at three different BART systems in the system including the one in Daly City. That issue is resolved in this tentative agreement.

Of course the big sticking point -- extended paid family leave  was also resolved.

SEIU Local 1021 held a news conference Saturday morning. President John Arantes had this to say.

"We have language in the contract to deal with the family leave where it follows the state law and indicates that members are able to take sick, vacation, or unpaid leave to have family leave, so it will not be paid by the district," he said. "Members will have to use accumulated time off."

Arantes confirmed that the controversial provision of six weeks of paid leave is no longer in the contract.

If this tentative agreement is ratified by the unions it ends more than half a year of often bitter contract battles between BART management and its unions. In fact, it was eight months.

Those negotiations included two system shutdowns as the unions went on strike. During one of those strikes, two employees were killed on the tracks in Walnut Creek.

Even after an agreement was reached in October, a clause granting six weeks of paid family leave turned into another issue.

BART managers insisted that was a mistake. The unions said it was part of the grand deal.

This weekend's final agreement gives BART riders one less thing to worry about over the holidays.

"I'm really happy," Berkeley resident Katie Venintende said. "I mean, I have to ride BART every day, so I'm happy that they figured it out."

"I think it's about time, I think they should have done it a long time ago," Danville resident Armando Zamora said.

There's no word from the unions as to when the membership is going to vote on agreeing to these tentative agreements as part of the contract. They say they want to get that done as soon as possible.

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BART strike, BART, unions, strike, traffic, transportation, SEIU, ATU, lawsuit, bay area traffic
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