UPDATE: BART Unions File Lawsuit Against Management

December 3, 2013 13:06 pm · 28 comments

BART’s two largest unions filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court today alleging that the transit agency’s directors acted unlawfully when they approved a contract agreement the two sides reached in October, minus a paid family medical leave provision.

Speaking at a news conference outside the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland, where the suit was filed, Kerianne Steele, an attorney for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said BART directors are “bound” by the tentative agreement the two sides reached on Oct. 21 and “must honor it.”

Steele said the board’s vote on Nov. 21 to approve the contract without the paid family medical leave was “peculiar and unprecedented” and the lawsuit is asking a judge to repudiate the board’s action.

“Unfortunately, it could be a long process” before the dispute is resolved by the courts, Steele said.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 joined SEIU in filing the suit against BART and its board of directors.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said in a statement that the lawsuit is an “unnecessary action” and “will only delay resolution to BART’s labor contract.”

Trost said, “A lawsuit is not needed to correct a mistake. When mistakes are made in contract negotiations they are corrected administratively by the parties, acting in good faith. Fortunately this mistake was caught in time before the mistaken language was brought before the district’s board for ratification.”

She said, “BART will review the lawsuit over the next several days.”

The ongoing labor dispute between BART and its workers resulted in two four-day strikes in July and October before the tentative agreement was reached.


1 Concord Guy December 3, 2013 at 1:11 PM

These unions should be decertified.

2 Dorothy December 3, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Doesn’t either side know how to do anything within reason?

3 AnonoGod December 3, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Absolutely crazy, but it is completely illegal what they did.

But then again we did elect these Board of Directors to represent us, what a fine job they’ve done. Sarcasm .

Bart management is looking like a complete joke right now .

4 Shuley December 3, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Meanwhile, the commuters will likely end up paying for incompetence and greed. Management must have the documentation from negotiations to prove that the FML was not agreed upon. What a mess.

5 Jim December 3, 2013 at 1:34 PM

this is like getting an extra20 in change…the management wants to return it and the greedy union thinks since it’s the board’s mistake they get to keep it…just shows how greedy those guys really are

6 Joe December 3, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Can we fire the bart workers yet? Bring in scabs or let computers run things completely.

7 The Biz December 3, 2013 at 1:48 PM

I’d say boycott BART, but I’d just be hurting the people I agree with. How can we boycott a union again?

8 I pay for BART December 3, 2013 at 1:53 PM

So us riders/taxpayers will be on the hook for legal fees, thanks union. Another rate hike of the proposed rate hike. Sounds like this medical leave was never even discussed during negotiations and now the union claims they should be provided with it. Mgmt screwed up by not reviewing the final contract and now the union is looking to make us all pay again. Time to replace both mgmt and unions. Bring in replacements!

9 NRA #1 fan and member December 3, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Dummmmmmb and Go ahead and strike again I dare you

10 Kirkwood December 3, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Shuley is right, surely there must be electronically recorded or written transcripts of everything written or said across the table during negotiations, otherwise it becomes a case of he said/she said.

11 Elwood December 3, 2013 at 2:32 PM

““Unfortunately, it could be a long process” before the dispute is resolved by the courts”

Not really. There is no record of this ever having been agreed to.

Courts will rule that if there is no meeting of the minds, there is no contract.

Nice try unions but no cigar.

12 Marissa December 3, 2013 at 3:00 PM

I’m not sure why they accepted the contract in the first place if it wasn’t what they wanted. The union leaders should have presented it to the workers, I will bet anything they didn’t.

13 DMZ December 3, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Once again acting like SPOILED Brats.
I want what I want.
Don’t care who gets hurt…

14 Always Right December 3, 2013 at 3:04 PM

This latest outrage just shows the depth of greed and dishonesty practiced by the BART union leaders. They are a veritable thug-o-rama.

And then there is BART “management”. First they cave in to the thug union, and then they, like Nancy Pelosi, decided to sign the contract before they knew what was in it.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

15 jtkatec December 3, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Remember these names at election time

2016 – Gail Murray comes up for re-election
Stations Included: Concord, Lafayette, Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre, Walnut Creek

2014 – Joel Keller comes up for re-election
Stations Included: North Concord/Martinez, Pittsburg/Bay Point

16 The Professor December 3, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Mom always told me to read everything before signing. It seems like management chose not to listen to their Moms. Where were Bart’s lawyers? Time to replace them all for incompetence.

The Union knows this never should have been in the contract in the first place. Now they demand 6 weeks of paid family leave for each employee, knowing that this is unaffordable. Fire them all and bring in reasonable people.


17 Joel Smith December 3, 2013 at 4:27 PM

I don’t see how anyone can blame the BART Union for this. I have not been supportive of the union at all in either of their two strikes. But management did make an agreement. It was signed. They can’t try to renegotiate what they already agreed to at this point.

18 Missy December 3, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Oh course they have! I don’t even ride BART and am disgusted with the whole thing! I’m sure the workers know the “paid family leave clause” wasn’t supposed to be in the contract anyway. Besides they can apply for paid family leave coverage with SDI, just like everyone else does. I feel bad for those commuters who rely on BART. They don’t need this stress that they were no part of causing.

19 Mark December 3, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Has any union rep gone on record to say that the paid leave was discussed in the negotiations?? The BART management has said it was not discussed, and no union rep will go on record to say it was. Of course they will go to the courts just to save face with their workers. What a joke these unions are.

20 Where is old blabbermouth December 3, 2013 at 6:19 PM

DeSaulnier. Taking a stand is he? Not likely. Hes writing a press release commending snail darter protectors or some such tommy rot.

21 Triple Canopy December 3, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Do I need to explain the definition of “TENTATIVE AGREEMENT”?

22 H December 3, 2013 at 8:18 PM

Just shows the stupidity of management, and the greed of the union.

23 ClayDen December 3, 2013 at 11:28 PM

It looks like BART management is lazy, stupid, incompetent or all of them. Fire them.

Then bring in some actual managers and negotiate a contract with the BART unions that reflects reality, and if they don’t like it, fire them too and start over with a clean slate.

24 K December 3, 2013 at 11:49 PM

Maybe if management didn’t step away from the bargaining table for weeks at a time during the cooling off period, they wouldn’t have missed a clause in the contract that they signed that would cost them millions.

Management has been more interested in busting the union than negotiating in good faith & now they want the union to give up a benefit that was included in the contract that management signed.

I bet these same people who are calling the union greedy would expect the union to fight just as vigorously for their wages & benefits if they worked for BART. It’s so easy to tell someone else to take less….

25 Random Task December 4, 2013 at 10:03 AM

dude this is a union scam that they always pull go for weeks of extended negotiations throw in a ridiculous clause and see if it gets by ………shut BART down see how fast they reconsider after no money for few months and since they are on strike no EDD either …….suffer like the people you pretend to serve …..this is not a union made transport they are bilking the tax payers and then leaving em in the wind …..until they pony up more money ……..SHUT IT DOWN ……..

26 RanchgirlCA December 4, 2013 at 11:04 AM

If they don’t like it, find another job and let someone else do theirs. I’m sick of BART and their Union. No more BART for me.

27 ML December 4, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I just don’t understand these union thugs. What makes them think they have a right to expect that management will honor any agreement they negotiated together? They are just unejucated knuckle draggers that put into action the wise decisions that their betters make for them. They should be happy to accept whatever they are offered. They should fire them all and hire people who are willing to work for whatever they can get. I’m sure there are lots of people in Modesto thet woold be happy to take there jobs.

28 K December 4, 2013 at 12:59 PM

#27 – that is completely asinine.

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