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BART To Hire 3rd-Party Consultant To Review Labor Negotiation Breakdowns

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Striking Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers picket in front of the Lake Merritt station on October 21, 2013 in Oakland, California. BART workers continue to strike after contract negotiations between BART management and the transit agency's two largest unions fell apart last week. Management and unions agreed on the financial specifics of the contract but differed on workplace safety rules. An estimated 400,000 commuters ride BART each day. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Striking Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers picket in front of the Lake Merritt station on October 21, 2013 in Oakland, California. BART workers continue to strike after contract negotiations between BART management and the transit agency’s two largest unions fell apart last week. Management and unions agreed on the financial specifics of the contract but differed on workplace safety rules. An estimated 400,000 commuters ride BART each day. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) — Bay Area Rapid Transit says it will hire a third-party consultant to help figure out what went wrong in last year’s labor battle that included two strikes.

The Bay Area’s largest transit agency said the goal is to prevent similar problems with future negotiations. A review committee chaired by BART Director James Fang recommended an independent consultant be brought in.

“Obviously last labor negotiation was not BART at its finest moment. I think the hire of someone else coming in to take a look at how we handle the negotiation I think is very important,” he said.

Fang added that in his 24 years on the board, he’s never seen labor negotiations go as poorly as this last time around.

BART Bringing In 3rd Party Consultant To Review Previous Labor Negotiation Breakdowns

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In addition to interviewing all involved parties and reviewing BART’s system to prevent contract errors, Fang said the consultant requires that management, labor and directors take part in a program together before the next negotiations begin.

“Let’s see what evolves. We’ve got a few years before the next contract. At least we do have some time to work on the relationship. There needs to be a lot of healing and patching up,” said Pete Castelli, executive director of SEIU local 1021 one of BART’s two largest unions.

BART said the consultants’ contract cannot exceed $225,000.

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