SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – It took months of tortured talks, two strikes and the deaths of two workers for San Francisco’s transit rail workers and their employer to finally agree on a contract that got trains running again Tuesday.
The saga left commuters fuming and both sides bruised.
The tentative agreement between unions and Bay Area Rapid Transit came together quickly late Monday, just two days after a pair of transit workers were killed by a train being operated by a BART trainee.
The breakthrough came after the worker deaths in Walnut Creek on Saturday. By Sunday, union leaders said they were ready to make concessions.
Both sides were back at the bargaining table Tuesday to finalize the language in the contract, a union leader said.
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Des Patten, a negotiator for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said, “There’s still some clean-up work to be completed” before his union and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 can present the tentative pact to their members for a ratification vote.
A federal mediator was continuing to work with both sides, and the contract language probably won’t be finalized until sometime on Wednesday, Patten said.
He said the earliest SEIU Local 1021 members would vote on the tentative agreement would be Friday and it’s possible the vote might not take place until sometime next week.
ATU Local 1555 leaders couldn’t be reached for comment this morning.
However, in a private email obtained by KPIX 5 titled “ATU Local 1555 Beat Back BART’S Attack on our Jobs,” the union outlined the deal to its membership; among the highlights:
- A little more than a 15 percent wage increase over four years.
- Pension contributions begin at 1 percent and go up to 4 percent over the course of the contract. Employees will not pay more for medical out of pocket because BART will pay for it out of a retirement fund.
- There is a reference about work rules being changed to address the impacts of changing technology and equipment.
- 15 station agent booths will be getting bullet proof glass and there will be changes to the doors on the booths.
BART representatives declined to comment on the specifics, saying that they didn’t “want to get in the way of the unions speaking to their members.”
BART spokesman Jim Allison said the transit agency’s board of directors won’t vote on the tentative agreement until after it is approved by both unions, assuming that they approve it.
Allison said that if the unions approve the contract, the board will likely schedule a special meeting to vote on it.
BART fares are not expected to rise because of this deal, but they were already scheduled to go up in January.
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