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Phil Matier: BART Unions, Management Meet Over Latest Contract Dispute

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Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains sit idle at a BART maintenance facility. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains sit idle at a BART maintenance facility. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

PhilMatier01-370 Phil Matier
Whether it's politics, personalities or analysis Phil Matier is one ...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Attorneys for BART and its unions were meeting on Monday, but this time they weren’t negotiating. Instead, both sides are trying to put a dollar amount on a family medical leave clause that the agency claims was inadvertently included in the final contract.

BART is saying if a third of their workers over the next four years were to take the family medical leave, it would cost them about $44 million. The agency claims that amount would be equal to 20 new trains they wouldn’t be able to buy.

The union has countered by saying that is the worst-case scenario and that it would cost less. BART said they are obligated to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

There are some important questions raised here, such as, did the unions know this clause was in the contract? They said it was negotiated all along.

Meanwhile, SEIU Local 1021, which is the bigger of the two unions, does not want to go on strike over this. They want to work something out. But union leadership is sort of stuck here because it is something that is in writing and they have to explain it to their union members.

Management has a mess on their hands too, because the public looks at them like they have messed up everything so far and now they’ve messed this up with their oversight.

I have a feeling the next few days, between now and Thursday when the BART Board of Directors meets, everyone will be trying to cool down. I’m not so sure the directors are going to vote this contract through and approve it.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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