BART unions get ready to vote on tentative deal


Despite two strikes and quite a bit of public sniping, it appears that both sides are very satisfied with the tentative deal.

This is how SEIU sees the tentative contract.

"Modest increase of wages as well as members will be contributing to their pension as well as their health care," SEIU 1021 Vice President Robert Fernandez said.

BART calls it a balanced agreement.

"The reason we agreed to this is we think we can accommodate this in our operating budget and our forecast," BART Board President Tom Radulovich said. "Now, you never know what the future holds. But we made some pretty conservative assumptions."

Workers who have not had a raise for the last four years will get about 15.4 percent over four years. They will start contributing to their pensions, reaching four percent at the fourth year. And health care contributions will increase from $92 to $130 a month for all BART workers. The vesting period for retiree medical benefits will increase from five years to 15.

For BART, that long-term savings takes the sting out of failing to get some of the work-rule changes it sought.

"Some of the work rule changes that we got are going to be really important to us," Radulovich said. "Things like the change in vesting. You won't' really see it in the first four years of the contract. You'll see some savings. But they'll be bigger further out."

SEIU will vote on Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and count the vote immediately following.

ATU says it has not scheduled its vote yet.

BART will schedule its vote once both unions have ratified.

Everyone's look forward to moving on.

"I personally apologize for the inconvenience that all the people of the Bay Area had to endure through both strikes as well as through the whole negotiation process," Fernandez said.

Once the deal is ratified, BART and its unions will have to figure out if they can fix their long-standing bad relationship.

"It's extremely fractured, it's extremely fractured," ATU Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant said.

Lawyers for all parties are going over the contract with a fine tooth comb before the vote.

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