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, 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 the 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.