Proposed work rule changes snag BART management, unions settlement

Negotiations continue today in advance of tomorrow night's contract deadline

BART and its five unions have spent nearly one-third of the year wrangling about contracts, and with just a day left until a negotiation deadline, the two sides are stuck on points that have stalled the talks since Day 1.

The transit agency is trying to cut $100 million in labor costs to help close a growing $310 million operating deficit during the next four years.

To reach those savings, around 2,800 unionized workers are being asked to make concessions in health and retirement benefits, along with give up certain "work rules" that management says are "outdated, expensive and wasteful."

The latter work-rules issue has posed the greatest challenge during the 117 days of negotiations, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said. An example of one of those rules, he said, is a mandate that station agents cannot be staffed at stations that are too far from their usual post.

When a station in San Francisco is busy because of a major festival, management cannot pull agents from quieter stations in the far East Bay to work in the busier stations and must instead pay double-time or overtime to employees who are allowed to work there, Johnson said.

Management is trying to reach $22 million in savings by putting a stop to this and other work rules, he said.

Carlos Rivera, a representative of BART's largest union, Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said many of the work rules management wants to quash keep the train system "cleaner, safer and on time."

If unions and managers fail to come to an agreement by the new deadline, BART may resort to imposing employment terms on its 2,800 union workers without their participation, or begin layoffs as an alternate cost-saving measure, Johnson said last week.

Union leaders said this week that such actions would make a strike "very possible."

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Like this comment
Posted by Dave
a resident of Birdland
on Jul 29, 2009 at 8:20 am

Carlos Rivera, a representative of BART's largest union, Service Employees International Union Local 1021, comment regarding the desired work rules changes as an attempt that would make the train system less clean, safer and on time borders on the ludicrous!
Wake up, union members! You are being lead down the road of no return by somebody that will not be impacted regardless of how this turns out. He will still enjoy his union perks, while each union member will suffer the consequencies of this unreasonable position by the union .

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Keep up the GOOD WORK UNIONS. You have to a legal right to negotiate the best possible contract for your members.

Anything less would be uncivilized!


Like this comment
Posted by Fair
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jul 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Cholo, AND UnFair!


Did you ever get your meds straightened out?

Like this comment
Posted by Julia Pardini
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Cholo is brain not waste you time communicating with the dead.

He is the type of animal that has put America in the state it's in now. I'm damn sure he is one of those Obama puppets...pull my string Barack and I will do anything for you...Cholo, Cholo, Cholo you're sick, take your med's.

Take Care Cholo...Your loyal follower...I'm watching every stupid thing you do and say....Julia Pardini.

PS...Hey Cholo where are your other clowns friends Popo and Lolo?

Like this comment
Posted by Scott Walsh
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 30, 2009 at 7:07 am

I would like to hear what the workers have to say about the $760 Million they claim can be saved. No press, no BART spokesman talk about this. Shame on the Unions for not getting this out for folks to see and hear.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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