Negotiators for BART management and its 2,800-plus union workers will return to the bargaining table today after the transit agency's two largest unions voted against management's contract offer by overwhelming margins.
Members of the BART chapter of Local 1021 of the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 1,400 mechanics, custodians, safety inspectors and clerical employees, voted against the proposal last Thursday by a margin of 98.5 percent to 1.5 percent. About 70 percent of the union's members participated in the vote.
The rejection by SEIU Local 1021 followed a unanimous vote against the contract offer two days earlier by BART's second-largest union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents about 900 train operators, station agents and power workers.
ATU Local 1555 President Jesse Hunt said about three-quarters of his members participated in the vote and all of those who voted cast "no" votes.
Jean Hamilton, the president of BART's third-largest union, Local 3993 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents about 200 middle managers, said she hasn't scheduled a vote
for her members because she needs to get more information from management.
Members of ATU Local 1555, SEIU Local 1021 and AFSCME Local 3993 all voted overwhelmingly last month to approve a strike if a settlement isn't reached on a new contract. However, union leaders haven't yet called for a strike and say they want to continue negotiations with management.
State mediators, who entered the talks on June 26, will rejoin the process today.
There are two small unions that represent BART police officers and managers but they're barred from going on strike. They haven't voted yet because they want more details on management's offer, according to BART spokesman Linton Johnson.