BART management nixes controversial contract clause

Unions to weigh next move on contract without paid medical leave provision

BART directors voted 8-1 Thursday to approve a tentative contract agreement with its two largest unions -- but without a controversial clause they say was included by accident.

The issue now goes back to the unions, Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, to consider whether they will support the contract without that clause.

The tentative agreement was reached last month, and union members approved it several weeks ago.

However, BART management said last week they belatedly discovered the agreement included a provision that, for the first time, offers paid family medical leave for employees.

BART officials said they didn't intend to have the provision in the contract, and that it was inadvertently included by a temporary employee.

Employees currently use vacation or sick time, or floating holidays, to take time off when family members have medical issues.

BART officials estimated that including the paid family medical leave provision could add up to $44 million in costs over the length of the four-year agreement.

Union leaders estimated it would cost about $5 to $6 million.

BART directors met Thursday morning in closed session near BART headquarters. Afterward, they reconvened in a public meeting to announce their decision.

Union leaders said afterward that they are unhappy with the board's vote, but that they not yet sure what their next step will be.

SEIU Local 1021 lead negotiator Josie Mooney said union heads will discuss the matter with their attorneys and their members and will announce their "course of action" soon.

Mooney said she has been involved in labor negotiations for 20 years and has never before seen management approve a contract without approving a provision its negotiators had already agreed to.

She said she believes the board's action Thursday was illegal and constitutes an unfair labor practice.

Antonette Bryant, president of ATU Local 1555, said, "I'm deeply disappointed in the action the board took."

Bryant said when union members voted to approve the tentative agreement several weeks ago, "We didn't get the opportunity to pick and choose" which elements of the contract should be included.

The BART director with the dissenting vote Thursday was Zakhary Mallett.

Mallett explained after the vote that he opposed the contract even before he knew about the controversial provision because he said the tentative agreement was "too costly."

— Bay City News Service


 +   Like this comment
Posted by William
a resident of Danville
on Nov 22, 2013 at 6:22 am

BART Shenanigans:
Why does it seem like the labor negotiations with this union SEIU is always designed to screw the commuters and provide these workers with contracts that are bloated and allow under skilled people to be paid far more than their work entails. Teachers don't make this kind of money, yet BART workers, garbage collectors do?

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tracy
a resident of Alamo
on Nov 22, 2013 at 7:07 am

How in the heck does a temporary employee have access to anything let alone a major contract.

Clearly, the tail is waging the dog here. I can't believe how messed up these people are.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by RUkidding
a resident of Danville
on Nov 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

Start preparing the replacement workers. Start preparing the management termination papers. Start preparing the recall papers.And, finally keep the temporary employee (SCAPE GOAT) out of the process.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Danville
on Nov 23, 2013 at 11:41 am

The BART contract in itself was a gift they were lucky to get. Public sentiment is not with the BART unions, or any unions right now, and I think they should approve what the Directors signed off on and put this to bed. I've been a Goverment employee for 24 years now and I don't know any of our bargaining units that have a paid FMLA. BART unions would be pushing their luck and will also hurt their fellow unions, if they decided to take up this fight. It would be the typical, win the battle, lose the war, type of scenario.

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