Strike averted as BART management, unions agree to tentative new 4-year contract

With union leadership's endorsement, members will vote next week on ratification proposal

BART management and its three unions representing 2,800 workers announced Friday that they have reached a tentative agreement on new four-year contracts. The proposals now go to union members who will vote next week with their union leaders recommending approval.

The tentative settlement was reached at 11 a.m. Friday following all-night negotiations.

BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said the proposed settlement includes a four-year contract "that represents sacrifice, compromise and achieves the goals that needed to be accomplished in these negotiations."

If approved by union members, the agreement also includes work rule changes BART management sought to reduce costs and improve efficiency in its workforce and scheduling.

"I want to thank the leaders of the BART bargaining units and the negotiating teams for their hard work," Dugger said after the long negotiating meeting ended this morning.

"The tentative agreement is fair and it achieves the goal to give us a financially stable footing," she said.

The announcement was made in Oakland after 27 straight hours of negotiations, by Dugger, Services Employees International Union Local 1021 President Lisa Isler and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 President Jesse Hunt.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3993 President Jean Hamilton also issued a statement Friday morning announcing a tentative agreement.

Each of the union leaders noted the tentative agreements still need to be ratified by union members.

Isler said the proposed new contract includes no job cuts and no salary cuts.

"We can get back to work, and get on with providing service to the public," Isler said, adding that she hoped SEIU members would ratify the agreement by the end of next week.

Hunt said all parties made sacrifices to reach the agreements.

"This has been an extraordinarily difficult negotiations, in extraordinarily poor economic times," Hunt said.

BART spokesman Linton Johnson said late Thursday that the talks wouldn't last past midnight, but then backtracked this morning in announcng that BART management, union representatives and state negotiators had stayed at the bargaining table through the night.

"Either we'll have a deal or we won't have a deal" when it ends, he added, before Dugger met with the media to announce the deal.

Management had insisted that it wanted to eliminate work rules that it believes are inefficient and costly and that it is committed to achieving $100 million in labor cost-savings in order to cope with its large budget deficit, which it estimates to be $310 million over the next four years.

Union leaders had said they wanted management to look more closely at a proposal they made, which they said would achieve $760 million in long-term savings.

Larry Gerber, the chief negotiator for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which is BART's largest union and represents about 1,400 mechanics, custodians, safety inspectors and clerical employees, said union workers would have considered going on strike if management imposed a contract.

BART's three largest unions voted by overwhelming margins last month to authorize a strike but said there were no plans for a strike at this time.

With Friday's settlement tentatively approved and the BART board and union leadership expected to endorse the agreements, BART trains will keep running for now as the full BART board and union members vote on the proposed new contracts.

Bay Area Rapid Transit,BART

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Like this comment
Posted by Can You Trust Bartd?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Does anyone know if Bartd is still planning to spend oodles of money on the proposed Oakland Airport link?

Where does that money come from?

And this before they even start the track to Livermore- for the people have been paying for Bartd for years without getting the service that was promised...Livermore doesn't even have a Bartd bus link, like the Oakland Airport already has.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 31, 2009 at 1:40 pm was worth the struggle...VIVA!

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

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