Unions sue BART board over contract clause

Lawsuit claims board 'bound' by tentative agreement

BART's two biggest unions have filed a lawsuit claiming that the transit agency's directors acted unlawfully when they rejected a family medical leave provision that was part of a tentative agreement.

The two sides approved a contract agreement in October. Management then said it didn't realize the family leave clause had been included in the deal.

At a news conference Tuesday, Kerianne Steele, an attorney for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said BART directors are "bound" by the tentative agreement the two sides reached on Oct. 21 and "must honor it."

Steele said the board's vote on Nov. 21 to approve the contract without paid family medical leave was "peculiar and unprecedented," and the lawsuit is asking a judge to repudiate the board's action.

"Unfortunately, it could be a long process" before the dispute is resolved by the courts, Steele said.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 joined the SEIU in filing the suit against BART and its board of directors, filed at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said in a statement that the lawsuit is an "unnecessary action" and "will only delay resolution to BART's labor contract."

Trost said, "A lawsuit is not needed to correct a mistake. When mistakes are made in contract negotiations they are corrected administratively by the parties, acting in good faith. Fortunately this mistake was caught in time before the mistaken language was brought before the district's board for ratification."

She said, "BART will review the lawsuit over the next several days."

The ongoing labor dispute between BART and its workers resulted in a pair of four-day strikes in July and October before the tentative agreement was reached.

Information from Bay City News Service was used in this report


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Dec 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm

So now corrupt SEIU local 1021 wants to sue the BART Board of Directors over a clause that someone put in after the agreement was verbally agreed upon. How much paid time off do these clowns think they deserve? It's time to contact your local State legislators or Mark Desaulnier who is considering legislation to mandate arbitration and a no strike clause to keep thugs from holding the Bay Area hostage and negatively impacting our recovering economy. If you agree, don't just shake your head up and down, pick up your phone or email your state representative to put an end to this idiocy.

Like this comment
Posted by Ava Daniels
a resident of Danville
on Dec 4, 2013 at 8:07 am

The SEIU is a bunch of commie thugs.

Like this comment
Posted by BART subsidizing taxpayer
a resident of Danville
on Dec 4, 2013 at 9:08 am

Mandatory arbitration ends up hurting the public as well. The union makes highly unreasonable demands, and the arbitrator just ends up meeting both sides half way. Plus, anything that Mark DeSaulnier favors has got to be bad for the public and great for the unions.

I would be in favor of developing an index for determining BART workers salaries. The index would be pegged to salaries/benefits for comparable jobs in the PRIVATE sector in industries where there is actually real bargaining going on.

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Dec 4, 2013 at 10:44 am

hey people BART screwed up and they will pay for their laziness. As most of you know I am not for labor. But in this case BART really screwed up big time.

Now it's time to eat crow. Some of you uninformed folks think the agreement was not signed by both parties...well think again, yes it was.

BART was so focused on padding them self on the back that no one read what they were signing...Same thing they do in Washington D. C.

Pay the fiddler BART and just lick your wounds.


Thanks for listening, Julia Pardini, from Alamo

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