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Phil Matier: Tense BART Talks Set To Resume Over Family Leave

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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)

Phil-Matier_BIO-HEAD Phil Matier
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OAKLAND (KCBS) – Negotiators with Bay Area Rapid Transit and its two largest unions are set to restart negotiations on Thursday, with many hard feelings remaining on both sides of the table.

At issue is a provision in the contract that would give employees six weeks per year of paid family leave. The unions said it was part of the contract that was agreed upon by both sides, while BART officials said in was mistakenly included in the pact.

Just last week, dozens of union protesters gathered at an art gallery in Oakland, for the re-election campaign kickoff of BART Director Robert Raburn. They were met by two plainclothes BART police officers, as BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey had expressed “some concerns about safety at the event.”

Rainey said he ordered the officers to be there, after concerns were raised about emails and phone calls Raburn and other directors had been receiving.

Those tensions are not just between workers and management – it also exists within the ranks of one of the unions – Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555.

Antonette Bryant, the leading voice for that union during previous negotiations and the two labor strikes, is facing her own battle, as she is in a runoff with Chris Finn to keep her job as union president.

After hearing complaints from constituents that the previous deal was already giving the unions too much, the BART Board of Directors have said they will stand firm and not ratify a deal that includes the family leave provision. They have called on the unions to bring the proposed contract, without that provision, to their members for a vote.

You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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