BART has launched a new website, www.bartlabor.com, to keep its riders and the public informed about the ongoing labor negotiations with unions representing more than 2,800 BART employees.
The site will feature regular updates on negotiations, facts and figures about BART's budget and contract with organized labor, blog entries and video content.
"As we work to find a solution to our nearly $250 million deficit over the next four years, we want to keep our riders, employees and the public up-to-date about the need for a modern, fair and flexible contract with our workforce," BART Chief Spokesperson Linton Johnson said. "We encourage people to check the site regularly for updates on the pace of negotiations."
BART is facing a $54 million deficit for the coming fiscal year and a projected deficit of nearly $250 million over four years. The struggling economy, lower ridership, the elimination of state funding assistance plus the continuing increase of cost of health care and pension benefits have hammered BART's budget.
"BART management and the Board of Directors are seeking a solution that avoids drastic fare hikes and other measures that would unfairly penalize our riders," Johnson said. "We have some of the best train operators, mechanics and transit workers of any public transportation system in the world. But we need the unions representing the majority of our employees to face the current economic realities and help us find a fiscal solution that will keep BART the Bay Area's premiere public transit option for the future. Some provisions of the contract with the unions haven't changed with the 1970s. We want a contract that reflects the needs and priorities of BART riders now and for the future."
Although the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) has proposed a one-year roll-over of the contract, that would not help reduce BART's deficit. The cost of maintaining current benefits contributes $116 million to the agency's deficit over the next four years.
The unions representing BART employees include ATU, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the BART Police Managers Association, the BART Police Officers Association and the Service Employees International Union.
For more information on BART's contract and negotiations with organized labor, visit www.bartlabor.com.