BART’s third-largest union is voting today on a proposed contract agreement with the transit agency after another union rejected the agreement Monday night, bringing back the possibility of a strike by BART employees.
Members of the American Federation of Local, State and Municipal Employees Union Local 3993, which represents more than 200 middle managers, began voting at 8:30 a.m. today on whether to ratify the agreement, which was reached July 31 after a 27-hour negotiating session between BART and its three largest unions.
Today’s vote is expected to last until 4:15 p.m., and the vote count will be finished by about 4:45 p.m., AFSCME Local 3993 President Jean E. Hamilton said.
The vote comes hours after members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents about 900 train operators, station agents and power workers, rejected the contract proposal with 406 “no” votes and 224 “yes” votes, according to that union.
ATU President Jesse Hunt said Monday that union members thought it was unreasonable to lock themselves into a four-year contract that included wage freezes. He also said there was inequity in the concessions being asked of the ATU.
Hunt said he hopes the union can resume bargaining with BART management.
BART spokesman Linton Johnson said Monday night that BART management will schedule a special meeting and will consider whether to impose terms and conditions on ATU workers.
Johnson said at 9 a.m. today that a meeting had not yet been scheduled, but that a media briefing will be held at 3 p.m. at BART headquarters in Oakland to announce the latest updates on the negotiations.
Hamilton said that, regarding a possible strike, “no one really knows what’s happening, and that’s a concern.”
Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents about 1,500 mechanics, custodians, safety inspectors, clerical employees and track workers, voted earlier Monday to approve the contract with BART, with 731 votes in favor and 253 against approving the contract.
Hamilton said the AFSCME Local 3993 board is also recommending ratification of the agreement today.
Hamilton said that yesterday’s vote by ATU has brought up conversations about a possible strike, but said she doesn’t think it will have an effect on the vote.
“With the economic times that we’re in, we ended up maybe not with what we wanted, but it’s not as bad as it could have been,” she said.
But Hamilton said that if ATU decides to strike, she would recommend that members of AFSCME honor the picket lines.
“Union brotherhood above all else,” she said.
However, if AFSCME ratifies the agreement, then they will not be able to walk in the picket lines, she said.