Mediators join BART labor talks as discussions turn to new safety initiatives
Two state mediators- one for each of BART’s two largest unions- have now joined the BART labor bargaining table in an effort to help both sides come to an agreement on a sustainable labor contract. BART officials requested the assistance of state mediators once it became clear both parties remained far apart.
BART needs its employees to begin paying the employee share of their pension plan. Employees currently pay nothing, while most everyone else in the industry and government pays at least a portion of the employee share. BART is also asking its employees to share more of the costs of escalating health care premiums. BART employees currently pay $92 a month while the district pays anywhere between $700-$1900 per employee, per month. BART’s financial sustainability and ability to purchase more new train cars relies on its employees playing a larger role.
Discussions at the table are currently focused on recent employee safety initiatives. BART officials gave a presentation highlighting the various ways we’ve teamed up with our labor partners to provide a safer system and working environment. “Safety is something we are all on the same side of the table on,” said Grace Crunican, General Manager at BART. “It is too important of an issue to get dragged into labor negotiations. BART will continue to work with its employees on ways to enhance the safety of our workers and our passengers.”
Examples of new safety initiatives include:
- BART has Implemented AB 716, which allows BART Police to immediately ban violent offenders for up to a year. BART Police has issued over a dozen prohibition orders since the beginning of May, when the new initiative was rolled out.
- BART has obtained over 100 stay away orders through the criminal and civil process barring individuals with a history of violent behavior from BART.
- BART has hired a crisis intervention specialist to help BART police during their outreach efforts and interactions with those suffering from mental illness.
- BART has trained all BART Police personnel in crisis intervention training to help minimize violent encounters while dealing with the mentally ill or those under the control of a substance.
- BART has equipped all frontline sworn BART police officers with a mobile video recorder so enforcement interactions with suspects are recorded.
- BART has recently added hundreds of new surveillance cameras at targeted stations with more coming- including real time cameras on trains.
- BART plans to further enhance Station Agent training on techniques for the managing of and disengagement from agitated members of the public.
- BART has various ergonomic solutions currently under analysis and implementation to prevent work related injuries.
Contracts with BART’s five labor unions expire June 30.
Sign up for labor negotiations and strike alert updates, and learn more about the issues involved at: http://bartlabornews.com/