87% Of BART’s Biggest Union OKs New Contract

Members of BART’s largest labor union voted today to approve a contract agreement ending nine months of labor strife that included two short strikes that heavily impacted Bay Area commuters.

Eighty-seven percent of voting members of Service Employees Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, voted to approve the contract, according to SEIU 1021 spokeswoman Cecille Isidro.

The agreement, which was reached on Dec. 21, previously was approved by BART directors on Jan. 2 and by members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, the following day.

In approving the agreement, BART directors said it isn’t perfect and includes more money and benefits for employees that they had wished but they believe it’s a reasonable compromise because it requires employees to accept new workplace rules that will make the transit agency more productive and efficient.

The agreement resolved a dispute over a paid family medical leave provision that management said had been inserted in a previous tentative agreement by mistake but leaders of the two unions said was intended by all parties to be part of the pact.

The new agreement doesn’t include paid family medical leave but does expand paid time off for bereavement leave to include deaths of grandchildren or stepparents of a spouse or domestic partner.

The new contract also calls for the construction of break rooms in the Daly City, Millbrae and West Oakland stations and allows qualifying employees more flexibility in how they pay for the costs of their family medical leave, plus additional administrative changes to the contract.

Contract talks between BART and its union began on April 1 and workers staged short strikes in July and October.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

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