BART backpedals on labor contract

SUNDAY, NOV. 17, 2013

A new labor agreement between BART and its workers has hit a snag after the San Francisco Bay Area transit agency acknowledged it mistakenly left what it called a costly provision in the tentative contract.

The provision called for giving workers up to six weeks of paid leave a year for BART workers to deal with family health problems. Currently, BART workers must use their own vacation or sick days to get that time off with pay.

BART officials said they were worried the provision could cost the agency as much as $44 million over four years. BART’s board of directors met late Friday in closed session to order its managers to return to the bargaining table with the unions.

Union officials said they were stunned by BART’s action. The president of the BART professional chapter of the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, Deslar Patten, said both BART and the unions agreed on the tentative wording on the family leave provision back in July.

Bay Area Rapid Transit officials said the provision for six weeks of paid family leave was proposed by the union in the spring and had been formally rejected by BART.

But the rejected provision “was put in a stack of tentative agreements that were signed all at one time” in July, said BART spokeswoman Luna Salaver.


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