Striking BART Unions Submit Work Rules Compromise Proposal

Officials with two striking BART unions said they had submitted a new proposal this evening that would offer flexibility on some work rules but retain others related to worker safety.

Officials with Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 said the proposal would allow for changes in work rules related to implementing new technology, but retain work rules related to worker and passenger safety.

See all Appeal coverage Of BART’s second strike of 2013 here

Further details were not immediately made public this evening.

BART and union officials have previously said that changes in work rules sought by BART remain a key sticking point in contract talks that broke down on Thursday, leading to a strike that began Friday.

Today’s proposal comes after a fatal collision on Saturday that killed two BART workers who were on the tracks near Walnut Creek for maintenance work. The unions emphasized that work rules protect workers from such workplace accidents.

See all Appeal coverage of Saturday’s fatal BART collision here

“The job of a BART worker can be dangerous,” union member Saul Almanza, who trains workers on safety procedures and protocols, said in a statement. “Work rules protect our members from the type of accidents that happened yesterday.”

The fatal collision is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, and it has not been established who was at the controls of the train that struck the workers.

BART has previously said, however, that it was training some managers to operate trains for maintenance purposes in the event of a strike.

Union officials said this evening that they had warned BART repeatedly in writing about the dangers of allowing non-union personnel to operate the trains, and filed a lawsuit on Oct. 7 in Alameda County Superior Court to block the practice.

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