BART Goes Back to Bargaining

It all started April 1

Negotiators from BART will head back to the bargaining table today in Oakland with the only one of its unions to reject a proposed contract as the possibility of a strike looms, a BART spokesman said Tuesday.

Negotiations will begin again at 1 p.m. between BART and the  Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents about 900 train operators, station agents and power workers, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.

American Federation of Local, State and Municipal Employees Union Local 3993, which represents more than 200 middle managers, voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve the contract, joining Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which approved the contract Monday, according  to AFSCME President Jean E. Hamilton.

That leaves ATU as the only one of the transit agency's unions to reject the agreement. The union had 406 members vote "no" compared to 224  voting "yes" on the contract, which was tentatively agreed upon between BART  and three unions on July 31 after a lengthy bargaining process that began on April 1.

BART's board of directors will also hold a special meeting Thursday after their regular 9 a.m. meeting and will consider adopting terms  and conditions of employment on ATU, which rejected the agreement in their vote Monday, Johnson said.

The board is "going to look at a number of options, but that is primarily one of the options that they are going to address," Johnson said.

ATU Local 1555 President Jesse Hunt said that if the board adopts terms and conditions, "that would certainly precipitate a work action, but  we're doing everything we can to avoid that."

When the strike would start "depends on the circumstances and what  exactly it is they impose, and the length of time they give notice before the imposition takes effect," Hunt said.

Johnson said "it would be very unfortunate for them to go on  strike and put our riders, who in many cases make often a lot less, out on  the street. So we would hope that those union workers stay at work."

Hamilton said that if a strike takes place, the AFSCME workers  have been told to not cross the picket lines.

"Union brotherhood above all else," she said.

However, if AFSCME ratifies the agreement, then they will not be able to walk in the picket lines, she said.

Bay City News

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