OAKLAND (KCBS) – The ongoing negotiations between Bay Area Rapid Transit and its two largest unions over a disputed contract provision continue at a stalemate, but a smaller error has created tension on an already-approved deal.
That contract issue is with a smaller union, and revolves around a typo noticed in a contract that has already been approved by those employees.
The mistake this time involved a cost-saving deal to change the time for new hires to become vested in the retiree medical insurance program from 15 years to five years. BART’s two biggest unions, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employees International Union Local 1021 signed off on the new provision, to begin on January 1.
But for some reason, the tentative contract approved by the smaller American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3993 had a start date of July 1.
When asked if they would agree to change the date by BART, AFSCME chapter president Patricia Schuchardt said, after taking it to her board, that they were not interested.
BART’s board of directors is scheduled to take a final vote on the AFSCME contract on Thursday.
The snafu is not expected to cost the agency a lot of money, but it is another error in what has seemingly been a year of bungled negotiations for the transit agency. BART has returned to the bargaining table with leaders from SEIU and ATU, after they said a provision regarding six weeks of paid family medical leave was left in the contract the two sides had tentatively agreed upon. BART wants the provision removed, while union leaders said the agency needs to adhere to all the language in the agreed upon contract.
BART board director Joel Keller, who is expected to take over as board president, said the mistakes are “disappointing and inexcusable,” and he will look into how the agency conducts contract negotiations to make sure these mistakes don’t happen in the future.
You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.
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