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Monday, November 18, 2013

BART, Unions Meet to Discuss Contract Confusion

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 12:44 PM

click to enlarge Waiting ... for a contract to be signed.
  • Waiting ... for a contract to be signed.

We all thought the days of worrying about BART strikes were over. Until Friday when the BART Board of Directors said it wasn't ready to sign off on the latest labor deal, citing a provision in the contract they'd never seen before.

And thus, your latest bout of transit anxiety is indeed warranted.

BART management is disputing a clause that's in the contract which would give some employees up to six weeks of medical leave, rather than having workers use their sick time or vacation time.

BART has no idea how this clause was never made clear until now -- but someone is going to pay, and the agency claims that it won't be BART.

"The Board is disappointed that this error occurred and was not caught earlier. All aspects of the matter will be fully investigated and any appropriate disciplinary action will be taken," BART said in a statement.

BART says the medical leave clause could cost BART more than $44 million over four years, according to financial numbers released by the district. However, the unions argue that the $44 million figure is inaccurate and too high.

Today, the unions are meeting with the BART district, with the intention of getting down to the bottom of this. One thing that is clear: The unions are adamant that this meeting will not be another round at the negotiating table.

The BART Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the contract this Thursday. As it the contact stands now it is unclear whether the board will approve it, considering all the hullabaloo management has made about the family leave time. There are no contract negotiations scheduled in the meantime.

Until then, enjoy the ride.

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Brian Rinker


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