Last night, the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1555, unanimously rejected BART’s contract offer.
Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1555, is the second-largest union at BART, with about 900 members. Members voted throughout the day on whether to accept or turn down the proposal, which includes a three-year wage freeze, a small raise in the fourth year, reductions in health and pension benefits and changes to work rules.
The decision on whether to strike will not be made until BART’s largest union, Service Employees International Union, Local 1021, which accounts for about half of BART’s 2,800 unionized workers, votes on management’s offer Thursday.
“Negotiations are about meeting the other side halfway, and we don’t feel that BART executives have been doing that up til now,” said [1555 President Jesse] Hunt.
BART spokesman Linton Johnson, speaking for district administrators, described the vote as disappointing but not ending the chance to broker an agreement that meets management’s cost-savings goal of $100 million over four years.
For the time being, any strike would wait for these negotiations. They’ve been pretty on and off for a few weeks now, but bargaining in the current state of budget flux can be quite treacherous. The importance of BART to the Bay Area’s economy cannot be overstated. It is a critical link for commuters throughout the region. Hopefully the negotiations will go forward in good faith and will result in a fair contract that keeps BART moving.