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BART Unions File Lawsuit Over 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)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) — Bay Area Rapid Transit’s two biggest unions announced Tuesday morning that they were filing a lawsuit contesting the agency board’s vote that approved the tentative labor agreement without a controversial family-leave provision.

Union officials and their attorneys stood on the steps of the Alameda County Superior Court building in Oakland Tuesday to make the announcement over the transit agency’s recent decision not to honor a paid family leave provision that would force BART to pay for up to six weeks of leave for employees.

Both sides had agreed to the terms of the contract after lengthy and contentious negotiations as well as two four-day labor strikes in July and October.

Kerianne Steele, an attorney for one of BART’s largest unions Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, spelled out the suit by saying BART, the board of directors and its individual members cannot repudiate or refuse to ratify a total package agreement for an improper purpose or without good cause.

She also stated BART directors are “bound” by the tentative agreement the two sides reached on October, 21st and “must honor it” and that it could be a long process before the dispute is resolved in the courts.

BART officials have said that their negotiators signed off on the paid family medical leave clause by mistake.

Spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the lawsuit is an unnecessary action that will only delay a resolution to the labor contract.

Attorneys for BART are now expected to review the contents of the lawsuit.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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