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Labor Unions Suing BART Over Family Leave Provision

BART board says the family leave provision is a mistake that would be "financially back-breaking."

BART's contract woes continue as the unions announce they plan to sue the transit district.
BART's contract woes continue as the unions announce they plan to sue the transit district.
By Alex Gronke/Patch Staff

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

In November, BART Board of Directors voted 8-1 to 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.

BART officials said the lawsuit is unnecessary and the unions should let their members vote on the contract without the extra paid leave.

“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," said BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost.

"This mistake would give BART union employees an additional six weeks of paid leave per year," added Trost. "This additional six weeks of paid leave comes on top of the 3 to 6 weeks of vacation, 13 paid holidays and 12 sick days that employees already receive annually.  District negotiators would never have knowingly agreed to such a financially back-breaking proposal."


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