The threat of a BART strike appears to have been eliminated Tuesday night with members of the transit agency's second-largest labor union voting in approval of a tentative agreement with management.
Jesse Hunt, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents about 900 train operators, station agents and power workers, said just over 80 percent of members voted in favor of the contract. Members voted at meetings throughout the day at a union hall at 8460 Enterprise Way in Oakland.
"This was not an easy vote today," Hunt said in a statement Tuesday. "The budget deficit projected by BART executives wasn't caused by our members, nor by BART riders. But it was BART workers and BART riders who were asked to step up to the plate and help resolve this deficit, and we have done that."
Members of ATU Local 1555 voted by a two-to-one margin on Aug. 10 to reject a previous tentative agreement with management that had been reached on July 31.
Members of BART's other two big labor unions, Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents about 1,500 mechanics, custodians, safety inspectors and clerical employees, and American Federation of Local, State and Municipal Employees Union Local 3993, which represents about 200 middle managers, voted two weeks ago to approve the initial tentative agreement.
BART management says the agreements with the three unions help in achieving the agency's goal of cutting $100 million in labor costs over four years. BART faces an estimated $310 million, four-year deficit, according to BART management.