BART Board imposes terms on ATU; union plans strike for close of service Sunday
The Amalgamated Transit Union has announced its intention to strike at the close of service on Sunday, after the BART Board of Directors voted Thursday to impose terms of employment on the union. A strike would halt BART service.
The Board took the action after members of ATU, which represents train operators and station agents, rejected a tentative labor agreement and the board said an impasse had been reached in negotiations.
The BART website will include the latest updated information on travel alternatives. Arrangements are being made for limited transbay charter bus service from a small number of stations; however, BART officials caution that travelers should consider telecommuting or other options because the capacity of bus service is limited.
BART’s Board of Directors voted unanimously Thursday to adopt terms and conditions of employment for BART union workers represented by ATU, who on Monday a new labor agreement, which two other BART unions overwhelmingly approved. Those unions are The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1021, which is BART’s largest union representing mechanics, electrical, clerical and professional administrative workers; and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents primarily middle managers and planners. The action the Board took takes effect immediately.
“This was not an action we wanted to take,” BART Board of Directors President Thomas M. Blalock said. “We worked tirelessly to reach a settlement through the negotiation process but after four very long months of talks we have reached an impasse. As a result, ATU has left this Board with no other choice but to implement terms and conditions of employment. This is a regrettable but necessary step that we must take in order to immediately begin the urgent process of addressing BART’s rapidly deteriorating financial situation.”
Under the terms and conditions, ATU members will continue to receive their base salaries. However, among the terms the Board will impose on ATU members are a cap on healthcare costs, elimination of BART’s contribution to a secondary pension plan, changes to employee contribution to PERS, changes to worker schedules, changes to wasteful work rules and reductions of paid holidays. The terms will remain in effect until a new contract agreement is reached.
The vast majority of BART workers represented by SEIU and AFSCME have already voted to approve a similar new four-year contract that helps reduce the District’s labor costs while preserving base salaries.
“In these grim economic times, a majority of our unionized employees decided that the four-year agreement is good for riders, good for BART workers and good for the District” Blalock said. “It’s unfortunate that ATU could not arrive at the same conclusion. ATU’s rejection of the tentative agreement meant we could not meet the $100 million labor cost savings target we set more than four months ago through the negotiation process. This is why this Board was left with no other choice but to adopt employment terms of working conditions for ATU. We owe it to the public and to our employees to control costs now before they spiral out of control.”
BART is working to eliminate an estimated $310 million four-year deficit amid a decline in ridership, state transit funding and sales tax revenue. The BART Board of Directors set a target of $100 million in labor cost savings over that same period of time.
To get official BART updates and information on travel alternatives, including the schedule for limited charter bus service, visit our Official Options and Updates page. You can also sign up to receive official BART news updates or follow a BART RSS feed for the latest. For information about labor negotiations visit http://www.bartlabor.com/.