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BART union OKs new contract, ending 9-month dispute

Paid family medical leave out, bereavement time expanded

Members of BART's largest labor union voted Monday to approve a contract agreement with management, ending nine months of labor strife that included two strikes.

Some 87 percent of voting members of Service Employees Union Local 1021 – which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers – voted to approve the contract, according to SEIU 1021 spokeswoman Cecille Isidro.

The agreement, which was reached on Dec. 21, was approved by BART directors on Jan. 2 and by members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 – which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers – the following day.

In approving the agreement, BART directors said the deal isn't perfect but they believe it is a reasonable compromise because it requires employees to accept new workplace rules that will make the transit agency more productive and efficient.

The agreement resolved a dispute over a paid family medical leave provision that management said had been inserted into a previous tentative agreement by mistake.

The new agreement doesn't include paid family medical leave but does expand paid time off for bereavement leave to include deaths of grandchildren or stepparents of a spouse or domestic partner.

The new contract also calls for the construction of break rooms in the Daly City, Millbrae and West Oakland stations and allows qualifying employees more flexibility in how they pay for the costs of their family medical leave, plus additional administrative changes to the contract.

Contract talks between BART and its union began on April 1 and workers staged four-day strikes in July and October.

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