Union considers suing BART for how they're training managers

September 20, 2013 7:37:26 PM PDT
With a possible strike coming BART management has set up a makeshift facility to teach managers how to operate the trains if the regular workers walk off the jobs, but the union is not happy about that.

One day after ABC7 News obtained these photos and video of a makeshift training center on Mare Island in Vallejo, the union that represents BART's train operators says it's looking at its legal options.

"This is not a dead issue. The fact is they are doing some things we understand that are not proper. We understand that these cars have been powered up. That is a violation," said ATU president Antonette Bryant.

According to the Amalgamated Transit Union, the contract between it and BART stipulates that no one besides its members can be trained in cars that are powered up.

BART management says their current setup on Mare Island, for some managers to learn how to operate trains during a strike, does not violate the contract.

"This doesn't violate the contract at all in any way. What the contract says is only ATU employees can run trains under third rail power. These trains are not on tracks. There's no third rail power, they're off of BART property," said BART spokesperson Alicia Trost.

Training issues aside, some passengers told us, they're simply not comfortable with managers operating the trains.

"That could be a potential crash course, for them to all of a sudden start running trains," said BART passenger John Clancy.

The qualifications to apply for a train operator position with BART are pretty basic -- a high school education, three years working with the public and a driver's license, to name a few.

"Have BART run an ad or open a website for people that have those skills to apply, and when they get 57,000 applicants, the union will see they have a problem on their hands," said BART rider Greg Kefer.

Of course it all becomes a non-issue if BART and its unions settle their differences by October 10. Negotiations are expected to resume next week.


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