BART seeks to rein in soaring benefit costs
The main focus of contract negotiations has been the growing costs of benefits. There is no question BART employees should get a raise, but contracts that continue to allow employees to pay nothing towards their pension and a flat rate for health care are no longer sustainable. Especially as we face billions of dollars in unfunded needs to keep our system reliable and safe. BART spent $17 million last year to pick up the employee share of pensions. If employees begin to pay even part of their share we can use the savings to begin to make the critical investments needed.
Our next contract needs to begin to address the escalating costs of our benefit packages. BART’s medical costs have grown 251% in 12 years and our pension costs have grown 126% in 10 years. We need to begin to normalize our benefits to better reflect what other public employers offer.
For more details download the charts (.pdf) comparing what BART employees get to those from other Bay Area public employers and other transit systems. We are looking to fit somewhere in between these numbers. It's reasonable and it's what must be done to secure our future.
“BART employees work very hard and are dedicated to providing safe and reliable service to the public,” said General Manager Grace Crunican. “We have a long history of doing right by our employees and we will continue with that tradition. Instead of looking back and focusing on what was, we need to look into the future and focus on what will be. We are at a turning point and the decisions we make in this contract will impact the District’s ability to continue to provide reliable service and competitive wages and benefits.”