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Votes To Approve BART Agreement Likely Won’t Happen Until New Year

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Passengers get off of a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train as it arrives at the Daly City station. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Passengers get off of a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train as it arrives at the Daly City station. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Votes on an agreement that would end eight months of strife between BART and its labor unions probably won’t be held until late next week, a transit agency spokesman said Monday.

BART and its two biggest unions reached a tentative agreement early Saturday morning but the transit agency’s board of directors most likely won’t vote on it until Jan. 2 at the earliest, BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

He said BART Board President Joel Keller wants the board to have a special meeting on Jan. 2 so the vote can be held then but a firm date probably won’t be set until after Christmas.

The board’s next regular meeting is Jan. 9 so the board is trying to schedule a special meeting before then so it can vote on the tentative agreement, Allison said.

Members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, won’t vote until after the BART board votes, Allison said.

The tentative agreement resolves a dispute over a paid family medical leave provision that management said had been inserted in a previous tentative agreement by mistake but leaders of the two unions said was intended by all parties to be part of the pact.

The new agreement doesn’t include paid family medical leave but does expand paid time off for bereavement leave to include deaths of grandchildren or stepparents of a spouse or domestic partner.

The tentative pact also calls for the construction of break rooms in the Daly City, Millbrae and West Oakland stations and allows qualifying employees more flexibility in how they pay for the costs of their family medical leave, plus additional administrative changes to the contract.

BART General Manager Grace Crunican said in a statement, “After eight months of uncertainty for our riders, this deal will guarantee that every ounce of the agency’s focus will be directed to providing great service to the Bay Area during the peak holiday period and beyond.”

Union leaders couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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