BART unions preparing to file suit against board


After two strikes this year, a cooling off period, months of torturous negotiations and two worker deaths on the tracks, it appeared BART and its unions had a deal in October. But then, the stunning announcement from BART -- that management had signed a family medical leave clause in error.

Section 4.8 would give workers up to six weeks paid family medical leave. BART said it never meant to agree to that and voted this month to approve the $67 million contract deal only if the clause was taken out.

Now the unions are preparing to file a lawsuit against the district -- not to get the leave clause back in, but to challenge the un-precedented move by the board. Union sources say the suit calls the removal of the single item an attack on the collective bargaining process.

At the same time, sources say they still want to work with BART on a solution to the family leave clause. Both bargaining and striking are still options on the table.

Riders are beside themselves with the never-ending saga.

"BART management not even reading the final," Oakland resident Joanna Roberts said. "I work in financial services and if I did that I would be fired instantaneously."

"When you get this back and forth hard to say who is fault, [it] doesn't seem to be a spirit of cooperation and trust," Vallejo resident Duane James said.

The suit could be filed early next week. There is currently no active outreach between the unions and management to resume bargaining.

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