BART Union Leaders Hopeful That Workers Will Vote To Approve Tentative Contract Agreement

Members of BART’s two biggest labor unions will vote Friday on a tentative agreement for a new four-year contract that the transit agency’s management and union negotiators reached last Monday night, union leaders said today.

Des Patten, a negotiator for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, said his union’s members will vote from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday at the Oakland Marriott City Center Hotel.

Antonette Bryant, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, said her union’s members will vote at three separate meetings throughout the day.

The union is scheduling different meeting times to accommodate the various shifts that employees work, she said.

Bryant said ATU Local 1555 hopes to announce the results of its members’ ratification vote late Friday night but Patten said SEIU Local 1021 might not announce its results until Saturday morning.

If both unions approve the tentative agreement, BART’s board of directors would vote on it either at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 21 or at a special meeting before then, transit agency spokesman Jim Allison said.

The tentative agreement last Monday night ended a strike by BART workers that began last Friday morning. Employees returned to work on Tuesday morning.

BART workers previously went on strike for four and a half days at the beginning of July before agreeing to return to work while union leaders resumed negotiations with management.

Patten said SEIU Local 1021’s negotiating team is unanimously recommending that members approve the tentative agreement.

He said he thinks the union’s members will approve it because he’s already spoken to many workers about it and no one has said they will vote against it.

Bryant said ATU Local 1555’s leadership also is recommending that members approve the agreement but she wasn’t as sure about how the vote will go.

“We’ll have to see what the members think about it,” she said.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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