After nearly a month of mediated negotiations Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) management held a news conference this week to proclaim it hadn’t budged an inch from its contract proposals that forced some 2,500 workers to strike last month. If an agreement isn’t reached soon, union officials say workers may be forced to hit the picket lines Monday morning.
Following the four-and-a-half-day strike, state mediators brought BART and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and SEIU back to the table for 30 days.
While the unions report they have made a new economic proposal, BART announced Tuesday it had not moved on wages, health care or pensions. Earlier, Antonette Bryant, president of ATU Local 1555, which represents 945 train operators and station agents, said BART’s offer would result in about a 3–4% decrease for workers.
The other major group of BART workers are the more than 1,400 mechanics, maintenance workers and staff represented by SEIU Local 1021.
Also four years ago, to help the BART system through rough economic times, workers gave up pay raises for five years and made $100 million in concessions. There are also a number of worker and passenger safety issues that must still be resolved.
In a recent Op-Ed in the San Jose Mercury News, John Logan, professor and director of Labor and Employment Studies at San Francisco State University, points out that since the 2009 pay freeze and concessions, BART’s revenue has grown, ridership is at record levels and worker productivity has improved. Management’s response?
BART management has hired an expensive, out-of-state consultant—who has a sterling record for driving down wages and benefits, but a terrible one for avoiding disruptive strikes—to reduce costs again.