They want to derail a deal that was in the works, but on Thursday, the board voted unanimously at their headquarters to move forward with a Canadian company, something local union members adamantly oppose. "Where do we want them? USA. What do we want? Jobs," union workers chanted. They protested before the meeting outside BART headquarters, demanding more jobs be kept in the U.S.
Staff recommended the board go with the deal proposed by Canadian-based "Bombardier Transit Corporation" which promises 66 percent of every car would be built with U.S. parts and labor. A French company pledged to keep 95 percent of the work domestic, but its quote was 12 percent higher. Some board members wanted to delay the vote and have all the companies re-submit proposals. That motion didn't pass.
Even though the vote to move forward with Bombardier was unanimous, some board members are still concerned with the plan. "I hate the fact that the folks in the Bay Area whose tax dollars we're spending on these cars are going to get cars but no benefit from it, no work. As an organization, we needed to have figured that out long before today," Lynette Sweet said.
Board President John McPartland says, "This was a legitimate process. It was done correctly in every sense of the word and we just want to end up making sure that we get started immediately."
The deal with Bombardier would allow them to build 410 new cars and those cars will be in service within the next eight years.