BART, Unions Resume Talks Over Paid Family Medical Leave

December 18, 2013 14:25 pm · 21 comments


BART and its two biggest labor unions returned to the bargaining table today to make another attempt to resolve a dispute over a contract provision that calls for employees to receive up to six weeks of paid family medical leave annually.

Members of Service Employees Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, voted on Nov. 1 to approve a tentative agreement that includes the paid medical leave provision.

But shortly after that, BART management said it hadn’t intended to include the provision in the agreement and claimed it had been mistakenly inserted by a temporary employee and that they had only discovered it while conducting a final review before submitting the agreement to BART’s board of directors. On Nov. 21, the BART directors approved the contract without the paid family medical leave provision and told union leaders to take the agreement back to their members for another vote without that provision.

Leaders of SEIU Local 1021 and ATU 1555 refused management’s request and instead filed a lawsuit two weeks ago alleging that the transit agency’s directors had acted unlawfully and must honor the terms of the tentative agreement.

BART and leaders of the two unions met for two days last week without success but are meeting again today and Thursday in Oakland to try to resolve their differences.

Members of a smaller union, American Federation of State, County and Local Municipal Employees Union Local 3993, which represents about 210 middle managers, voted two weeks ago to approve the contract without the paid family medical leave provision.

BART directors are scheduled to vote on the contract with AFSCME Local 3993 at their meeting on Thursday, but there is now a complication in that agreement as well.

The transit agency negotiated with all three unions a change in the time it takes for newly hired employees to become vested in its retiree medical insurance program, calling for that period to triple from five years to 15 years.

The date the policy was supposed to change for all three unions was supposed to be Jan. 1, but BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said today that one section of the agency’s tentative agreement with AFSCME Local 3992 has a typo that says the policy won’t change until July 1.

She said another section of the agreement with the union has the correct date of Jan. 1.

Trost said when BART management discovered the typo, it asked AFSCME Local 3993 to change it but the union refused.

AFSCME Local 3993 president Patricia Schuchardt couldn’t immediately be reached for comment today.

Trost said BART needs the state Legislature to approve the policy change for the retiree medical insurance program and said agency officials hope that the complication over the starting date can be resolved by the Legislature.

BART’s tentative agreement with its employees on Oct. 21 ended a four-day strike by its employees. Employees also went on strike for four days at the beginning of July.

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1 Easy Fix December 18, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Easy fix for the issue with AFSCME Local 3993 – Meet halfway and make it kick in April 1. If both sides have a tentative agreement with two different dates, you both were stupid for not making sure that the same date was specified in all locations of the contract. So you both pay, BART by having to cover an extra 3 months, and the union by losing 3 months. You both lose, but you both gain something too.

As for the medical leave issue, somehow I think the temporary employee excuse is just that, an excuse. Why would a temp be altering the wording of a contract without it being heavily reviewed before submission? I’m not buying it.

2 Elwood December 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

I wonder if BART management/board will ever grow a spine?

I wonder if corrupt politicians will ever stop meddling in BART business?

I wonder if the tooth fairy will bring me a $100 bill?

3 Anonymous December 18, 2013 at 3:08 PM

So they sue over not agreeing to a tentative agreement. What does tentatvive mean to SEIU?

What idiots.

4 What? December 18, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Give it to them, with the provision that BART work 8 hours a day, not 7/12 which equates to 3 weeks of vacation that no one else gets..

5 Sacto Rob December 18, 2013 at 3:53 PM

If we had some state lawmakers with a spine this could be different. Instead, the “supermajority” party is using its power to more effectively screw over the public in order to to feather the nests of their public union campaign partners.

6 jtkatec December 18, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Geez, sounds like there were a number of errors on this tenative agreement.

7 anon December 18, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Had BART mgt reviewed the contract in a professional manner, this would not be an issue. Some one at BART needs to go for failure to perform their job.

8 Concordtimes December 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

BART spent Millions on these “Professional Negotiators”! This was the worst negotiations I have ever been a part of. I have used BART for 20 plus years and it’s never been this bad and dragged on this long. I say the Entire Board of Directors needs to go! You wasted tons of money on nothing. The union are always going to try to get something and management will always try to take something thats why they call it negotiate. This time it seemed BART just played games and wasted more money then usual.

9 Bart Rider December 18, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Thought the title read -

BART, Unions Resume Talks; Over-Paid Family Medical Leave

That would have made perfect sense.

10 Jake December 18, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Knowing that the board members are all idiots just like the union leaders they will give the leave package and more to the union members and will raise fares to accommodate the cost to BART. They do not care about the riders or taxpayers.

11 ClayDen December 18, 2013 at 5:05 PM

This was such a contentious and significant contract negotiation, it is unconscionable that nobody on the BART Board picked up the error. As much as I think the BART union is getting a ridiculously good deal, it seems to me that they should get the paid leave.

Step one: Fire the entire board and replace them with one with a spine and that is at least minimally competent (as opposed to the current board).

Step two: When the contract expires, offer the workers a 20% pay cut, make them contribute about 10% to their retirement and about half of their health care cost. If they don’t like it, fire them and replace them. Hint:It’s spelled President Reagan.

12 Bubbles December 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Management is really trying to find excuses now. This is a joke. All this money spent and look how many things they missed and signed off on. Everyone involved in this negotiations should be FIRED!! When you send a contract to the union to be voted on it’s to be the final copy nothing can be changed or it has to be voted on again. How do you not read something this important and then sign it. Not only one person but THREE!!

13 That Guy December 18, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Wow another error! 400,000 bucks for a hot shot negotiator and they couldn’t spend a little extra on someone who could proof read a contract. Obviously BART’s priorities were misplaced on this contract.

BART being a Special District one of 1000′s in the state may needs a complete overhaul from the elected board on down. They hired a group to do a review of their police force, maybe it is time to hire a group to review the rest of BART.

Two Strikes, Two employee deaths, two typos on a signed contract (at least the ones we have been told about), and two significant train fire / smoking incidents in 6 months. Certainly does not boost confidence in the agency as a tax payer.

Most of those board members have been there for decades and continue to fail at their jobs miserably, almost as bad as the ones in Sacramento and DC.

14 Concorddad December 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM

People do realize that BART fares have set increases for the next 8 years or so. They will go up in increments no matter what the Unions do. The other thing is the Unions agreed to pay more for their medical payments and are paying into their pensions which they didn’t before. They didn’t come out as great as people like to make it.

15 Triple Canopy December 18, 2013 at 7:37 PM

“TENTATIVE”, NOT final, agreement.

The liberal spin continues…..

16 Reality Slap December 18, 2013 at 9:50 PM

Hello Unions: Its apparent you need this information.

not certain or fixed; provisional.
“a tentative conclusion”
synonyms: provisional, unconfirmed, penciled in, iffy, preliminary, to be confirmed, subject to confirmation; speculative, conjectural, sketchy, untried, unproven, exploratory, experimental, trial, test, pilot
“tentative arrangements”

17 foxylady December 19, 2013 at 1:52 AM

Wait a minute… These contracts are monstrous and are not read with a fine toothed comb because it is assumed EVERYTHING from the prior contract remains in effect EXCEPT the items which are raised and negotiated in good faith during the negotiations. There are numerous people who handle the contract and numerous opportunities for individuals on both sides to slip in verbiage, (or delete verbiage for that matter). You have no idea how disabling the negotiations would be if every word of every section had to be checked and re-checked every time anybody handled the contract. That is precisely why the protocol came about that EVERYTHING in the prior contract shall remain in effect EXCEPT for the items which are raised and negotiated during the negotiation proceedings. If the union did not raise the issue during negations and BART management did not have an opportunity to consider it or discuss it, then it should not be incorporated into the new agreement. Period…end of subject. It is that simple.

The union is playing dumb but they know better. And you can be sure if the tables were turned, (that is if management deleted some benefit from the written form but failed to raise the issue in the negotiation proceedings), the union would be crying foul. They would be screaming foul on management.

18 ANON December 19, 2013 at 2:40 AM

“Two Strikes, Two employee deaths,”

They violated the simple safety rules & did that to themselves….its really just that simple.

19 James Dean December 19, 2013 at 7:36 AM

When did the Simpson’s boy become involved in the Bay Area and why is he working with unions? Does Homer and Marge know? I hope he has a work permit…BWAHAHAHA…Stooopid…Just like BART…Fire the lot of ‘em!

20 BART Rider December 19, 2013 at 8:36 AM

PH station riders were notified yesterday of another $0.50 increase in parking to take effect on 13 January – this in addition to a previously-reported $0.50 increase in fare (round trip PH to Embarcadero) to take effect on 01 January – this increases the daily BART commute cost from $11.50 to $12.50 (again, round trip PH to Embarcadero). As a result, I’ll start telecommuting on Fridays = a $7.50 decrease in what I pay out to BART on a weekly basis. “BART and you’re there!” – but at an ever increasing cost.

21 biggus thinkus December 19, 2013 at 1:14 PM

if i’m not mistaken, its not that all of the employees get an additional 6wks off, its only if there’s a FMLA related issue they’re applying for (family sickness, new child, death, hardship…).
so, if that’s the case, it’s maybe only a few dozen people a year getting the time?
I’ll take any feedback on this one

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