SEIU union approves labor agreement with BART


9PM UPDATE: Members of SEIU approved their new, labor contract with BART, 87-13 percent in favor of it.

Des Patten, one of the lead negotiators for Service Employees Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, said he expects that union members will approve the tentative agreement but he won't know for sure until the results are tabulated tonight.

"I've talked to all of our members and the overwhelming majority say they just want to get this done with," Patten said.

The tentative agreement, which was reached on Dec. 21, previously was approved by BART directors on Jan. 2 and by members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and foreworkers, the following day.

In approving the agreement, BART directors said it isn't perfect and includes more money and benefits for employees that they had wished but they believes it's a reasonable compromise because it requires employees to accept new workplace rules that will make the transit agency more productive and efficient.

The agreement resolved a dispute over a paid family medical leave provision that management said had been inserted in a previous tentative agreement by mistake but leaders of the two unions said was intended by all parties to be part of the pact.

The new agreement doesn't include paid family medical leave but does expand paid time off for bereavement leave to include deaths of grandchildren or stepparents of a spouse or domestic partner.

The tentative pact also calls for the construction of break rooms in the Daly City, Millbrae and West Oakland stations and allows qualifying employees more flexibility in how they pay for the costs of their family medical leave, plus additional administrative changes to the contract.

Contract talks between BART and its union began on April 1 and workers staged short strikes in July and October.

Patten said SEIU Local 1021 members are voting at the Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter at 101 Eighth St. in Oakland.

He said the voting began at 8 a.m. and will end at 7:30 p.m. and it's expected that the results will be announced by 8:30 p.m.

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