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BART Worker Unions Consider Lawsuit Over Family Leave Provision

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(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) — After Bay Area Rapid Transit’s Board of Directors overwhelmingly voted in November to remove a family-leave provision that they said was never supposed to be included in the contract, the agency’s two biggest unions said they may take the issue to a judge to challenge that decision.

The provision, which offers six weeks of paid leave was said to be mistakenly written into the final draft which BART signed, and its unions — Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555—both ratified.

But when it came before the board on Nov. 21, the members approved it without the provision included. The unions claim that’s unfair, and illegal.

Union leaders say the board has to approve the package in total, and then go back to clarify language in the leave portion. Board members said they never discussed family leave during the negotiations, and that it shouldn’t be part of the deal.

Pete Castelli, the executive director of SEIU 1021, said it’s possible they could take the deal back to their members without the leave clause, and see if they can get approval.  But, right now it’s not clear for members who have walked out twice this year if that would be accepted.

“We’re not in real forgiving mood of BART but we are prudent. We care about the riders. We care about the public; we’re not doing anything drastic but we want people to see this BART District and this management team and see how they really operated,” Castelli said.

“When we were telling them the reason we can’t get a deal and the reason we’re on strike is because of the actions of these people,” Castelli said.

While there is no timeline for anyone to act, the unions said they could file an unfair labor practice lawsuit as early as this week, and that this is uncharted territory which could lay the ground work for negotiations in the future.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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