Hours before BART's Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 (ATU) employees were scheduled to walk off their jobs, BART management and the union resolved their differences on Sunday afternoon and reached a tentative agreement for a new four-year contract. The union will vote on the deal August 25th.
"We are glad to announce we have reached a new tentative agreement with ATU and have avoided a strike that would have disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of BART riders and millions of commuters," BART Board of Directors President Thomas M. Blalock said. "We were able to resolve our differences during the negotiations that resumed this weekend. If the membership ratifies it, this new tentative agreement will help put BART on a more solid financial footing by reducing the cost of benefits and making work rules more efficient. We are pleased these last-minute negotiations resulted in a positive outcome. We thank our riders for their patience during this negotiating period."
"We have worked very hard to come to an agreement that is equitable to our membership and preserves the highest level of safety for our passengers," ATU President Jesse Hunt said.
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 had set a target of cutting $100 million in labor costs over four years.
"This tentative agreement reaches our financial goals, it represents compromise on how we got there, but not on where we had to end up," Blalock said. "We hope ATU members will vote to endorse it, which will allow us as a District to focus all of our attention on running the Bay Area's premiere public transit agency."