OAKLAND (KCBS)— Already acrimonious contract negotiations between BART and its unions are heating up even more, now that union leaders say they’re taking legal action.
John Arantes, BART Chapter SEIU Local 1021 president, who represents about 1,000 maintenance workers informed media on Monday that they have filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court.
The suit alleges unfair labor practices by BART’s Board of Directors and its refusal to bargain in good faith over worker safety.
“It addresses that lack of intention in the district to negotiate with the unions in regard to safety issues,” he said.
“We have come to the table every day to negotiate, ” said Antoinette Bryant with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents station agents and operators.
“That’s what we want to do. Unfortunately we’re not getting that in return and this lawsuit, we hope is going to force the district to come to the table and bargain with us fairly,” Bryant said.
“I think it’s a smokescreen. It’s trying to cover up the fact that they’re asking for a 23-percent pay increase. They also don’t want to pay any more into their pension or their medical costs,” said BART Spokeswoman Alicia Trost.
Trost added that any charge that the transit agency doesn’t take safety seriously is a lie. SEIU and ATU members are scheduled to hold separate strike authorization votes on Tuesday, but they will pick up again starting on Wednesday.
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