Second day of BART talks wraps up

Negotiators from BART and its unions have finished two days of talks, trying to work out the final kink in a contract.
December 16, 2013 4:03:22 PM PST
Negotiators from BART and its unions have finished two days of talks, trying to work out the final kink in a contract that everyone thought was done, nearly two months ago, then they discovered what BART management calls a mistake in the contract.

They have scheduled talks for next week on Wednesday and Thursday, which is a good sign.

After two days of lengthy talks, there is still no clear sign of a breakthrough in the stalemate between BART and its major unions over a disputed paid family leave provision.

"I think we're making some progress. We're meeting next week, so we met yesterday, we met today," said ATU Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant.

BART maintains the inclusion of six weeks of paid family leave in a tentative agreement was a mistake, twice rejected in summer talks. But the unions say it was signed and rightfully included in contract their members voted on and approved. A BART spokesperson told us when the talks began. The goal move forward, not hash out past mistakes.

"What do we do about this dispute, how can we resolve this labor strife so we can move on and close the door on the 2013 labor strife," said BART Spokesperson Luna Salaver.

In the meantime, a new Field Poll shows public opinion about unions in general is on the decline in California. Statewide, 45 percent of respondents said the unions do more harm than good. That's a big change from 2011, when 46 percent of respondents said unions do more good.

"There was certainly great support in California for the labor union movement, but as it's kind of become dominated by public employee unions, I think there's a change in public sentiment," said Mark DiCamillo from the Field Research Corporation.

As for the current talks, BART and its major unions now have at least two sessions scheduled, for next week.


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