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Labor Unions Suing BART

Map of BART lines.  Graphic credit:BART
Map of BART lines. Graphic credit:BART
by Alex Gronke

The two unions representing BART workers warned last month they might take legal action after the transit agency’s governing board voted to reject a contested family leave provision in a tentative contract agreement.

The unions announced Tuesday they were suing BART following "illegitimate and unprecedented actions regarding the unions' labor contracts," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

In a statement released Tuesday morning, BART officials criticized the decision to sue: “This unnecessary action will only delay resolution to BART’s labor contract.  A lawsuit is not needed to correct a mistake.  When mistakes are made in contract negotiations they are corrected administratively by the parties, acting in good faith. Fortunately this mistake was caught in time before the mistaken language was brought before the District's Board for ratification."

In November, BART Board of Directors voted 8-1 to only approve a contract only if the unions agreed to remove a provision BART officials claim was included in error by a temporary employee.

The disputed provision would allow BART workers covered by the agreement six weeks of paid family leave a year. Labor leaders say the provision will cost around $6 million over four years; BART officials say the total could reach $44 million by the time the contract expires in 2017.

The unions are filing the suit in Alameda County Superior Court.

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