BART Board of Directors reviews labor negotiations report
On Thursday, September 11th, the BART Board of Directors will review a newly released report examining the 2013 labor negotiations. The report, which was commissioned by the Board of Directors, provides recommendations on how BART can improve the process of future labor negotiations.
The full report, produced by Rhonda Hilyer of Agreement Dynamics, can be downloaded here. Ms. Hilyer will present her report at Thursday’s BART Board of Directors meeting which starts at 9am. The item is for information only and the discussion will begin at around 11am. More information on attending the Board of Directors meeting or watching it online can be found here.
BART’s General Manager Grace Crunican issued the following statement on the report:
“Last year’s labor negotiation process was well below the standard the public and our riders expect and deserve. This report makes it clear that mistakes were made during the 2013 labor negotiations process.”
“As articulated in the report, BART has already begun implementing changes to improve communication with union leaders and tackling important issues such as safety. The District has hired a new Assistant General Manager of Employee Relations who oversees both Human Resources and Labor Relations. We are meeting regularly with union leaders to help rebuild relationships. We have provided extra layers of protection for track side workers and we are cleaning up the downtown San Francisco stations for a better environment for our workers and riders.”
“Over the next few weeks, we will continue to analyze the report's 63 recommendations and work with the unions and our board to prioritize those recommendations we can successfully implement to ensure our negotiations will improve in the future.”
One Year Post Labor Negotiations Significant Progress Made on Key Issues
BART officials are working hard to tackle key problems which plagued labor negotiations one year ago. Progress has been made to address many of the hot button items that made headlines during negotiations including safety and cost saving measures.
Major safety changes have already taken place or are in the process of taking place
-BART Police and maintenance crews are cleaning up downtown San Francisco stations to provide for a safer and more sanitary working environment for employees and riders.
-BART has implemented significant new procedures and safeguards to provide extra layers of protection for track side workers. A total of 40 new positions were added to BART's budget in order to provide a mandatory watch person whenever crews are working near the trackway and to provide better communication between the Operation Control Center, Train Operators and maintenance personnel on the track. Train speeds around maintenance workers have been reduced and extra resources have been dedicated to ensure a safer work environment around the trackway.
-A prototype of a safer station agent booth has been installed at the Coliseum Station. All station agent booths will eventually be outfitted with "dutch doors" which are divided horizontally so that the bottom half may remain shut while the top half opens. A protective film will be applied to the glass of each booth as well. Height markers will be added to the doors so employees can quickly estimate the height of an unruly patron that needs to be reported to BART Police.
-BART Police have issued 41 Prohibition Orders to date to patrons who have assaulted employees. This authority comes under AB 716 which BART worked with its union leaders to get passed in the legislature. Working with labor support, BART sponsored legislation (SB 1154 Hancock) to extend this pilot program aimed at protecting BART employees and riders from acts of violence and unlawfulness. SB 1154 has passed the legislature and is before the Governor for his review.
-Several Train Operators accompanied those designing the Fleet of the Future trains to the manufacturing facility to have a say on the design and amenities offered to Train Operators in the new fleet. The design engineering team continues to work with ATU members to refine design elements.
-BART and each of its five Unions have worked collaboratively to launch a joint total wellness initiative. This is a multi-year, multi-phased effort, which will focus on physical health, mental health and stress management, nutritional health, financial health, and brain health (memory & sharpness) aimed at improving overall employee health, reducing health care cost and improving attendance. CalPERS has generously offered to sponsor this initiative with implementation support from one of our health partners.
Agreed upon cost cutting measures; new bill signed by Governor
-BART labor and management agreed to changes in retiree medical contributions and benefits. Working together, BART sponsored AB 2582 (Bonta) that was recently signed into law by the Governor that will establish a new vesting contribution schedule for BART employees that is estimated to save $13.8 million over the next 30 years.
-Employees and management agreed to pay more towards their share of pension and medical costs.