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Oakland Protest/Press Conference Stop Union Busting Against BART Workers Hands Off BART Wo

Thursday, November 21, 2013
8:15 AM - 9:00 AM
Event Type:
United Public Workers For Action
Location Details:
In Front Of BART Offices
344 20th St. Oakland, California

11/21 Oakland Protest/Press Conference Stop Union Busting Against BART Workers
Hands Off BART Workers

Emergency Demonstration On Thursday November 21, 2013 8:15 AM - 8:45 AM
In Front Of BART Building
344 20th St. Oakland, California
Board Meeting on Thursday October 24, 2013 at 8:30 AM in front of the 20th St. Mall
BART Board Room Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall
Third Floor - 344 20th Street, Oakland, California 94612

The BART managers and the BART Board of Directors continue their war on the workers who make BART run. After the murder of two replacement workers the BART managers signed a contract that included paid family leave. This should be a right and benefit that all working people have but now the BART board says that they want that contract clause removed because "it costs too much".
This for a board that paid Veolia Transportation VP Thomas P Hoch $399,000 along with giving his company tens thousands of dollars to break the strike.
The confrontational attack on the BART workers and the unions cannot be ignored. It must be answered by all working people who face similar attacks. These managers need to be jailed for their health and safety practices that have led to deaths not only of the two workers who crossed the picket lines but BART worker James Strickland in 2008.
The United Public Workers For Action is also calling for a labor tribunal/hearing to exposed the criminal negligence of these managers and for their jailing.
We also believe that concession/regressive bargaining has only weakened the power of labor and that if the contract is voted down by the BART board workers should directly link up with AC ATU 1555 worker for joint action.

Stop Concession/Regressive Bargaining, Prepare for united action with ATU 192 AC transit workers
No Contract No Work
Establish Workers Tribunal On The Health and Safety at BART and Managers and Board
Jail BART managers of murder and Recall BART Board Members and Replace With Labor/Community candidates
Stop Union Busting And Attacks On Transit and All Public Workers

Initiated By
United Public Workers For Action UPWA

BART, union reps meet on disputed provision's cost
John Wildermuth
Published 7:06 pm, Monday, November 18, 2013

BART officials met with representatives of its two largest unions Monday in an effort to determine just how much a disputed family leave contract provision could end up costing the transit district.

The 90-minute technical conference at BART's Oakland headquarters was for financial people only and didn't involve any negotiations about the contract, which both unions ratified Nov. 1 The district's directors said Friday night that the section providing workers with six paid weeks of family leave was signed in error and called for contract talks to be reopened.

The unions aren't interested in new talks.

"We want to make very clear that (Service Employees International Union Local 1021) is participating in the costing meeting today for the very limited purpose of determining the accuracy of the district's assumptions and methodology," Kerianne Steele, an attorney for the union, said in a note to Vicki Nuetzel, BART's attorney. "SEIU's participation should in no way be construed as interest on our part to resume negotiations."

Even so, there was plenty to talk about Monday. BART directors have been using cost estimates for the medical leave provision that range from a high of $44.2 million over the four-year life of the contract all the way down to $5.8 million over the same period, depending on assumptions about how many union workers will use the leave.

Union challenges numbers
The numbers at the top end are ridiculously high and are based on unrealistic assumptions, said Peter Castelli, executive director of the SEIU, which is BART's largest union.

"If you assumed that every BART employee was going to call in sick on a certain day, I imagine that would be expensive," he said at a Monday morning news conference. "But that's not going to happen, and neither is this."

The $44.2 million figure, for example, assumes that one-third of all SEIU and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 workers will take all six weeks of paid leave every year. But even if the number of union workers taking that family leave doubles from the 2012 level, the four-year cost plummets to $21.9 million, less than half the top-end number.

The district's low-end $5.8 million, four-year estimate assumes no increase in the number of workers taking family-care leave or in the 4.3-week average length of those leaves.

Currently, employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with serious personal or family health issues or to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child. BART workers now can use vacation, sick leave or other accrued time off for that leave.

But under Section 4.8 of the new contract, which BART says its negotiators signed in error, the district would provide "six weeks of paid time off to take care of a seriously ill child, spouse, parent or domestic partner or to bond with a new child."

The change doesn't affect BART workers directly, because they would not receive paid leave for their own medical problems, Castelli said.

"This is not a personal benefit," he said. "It's a good, useful benefit for our workers, but it's not going to affect that many people."

BART cites accidental OK
According to BART officials, the medical leave proposal was rejected twice in June but accidentally signed in July by Thomas Hock, the transit district's chief negotiator, and two other district leaders when it was included in a stack of other tentative agreements both sides had agreed on.

That explanation doesn't ring true with union leaders.

"As a negotiator, your tentative agreements are your bible, and you're constantly reviewing them," Castelli said. "Any misunderstandings are usually resolved way before it gets to this point."

After the unions announced a tentative contract agreement on Oct. 21, ending a four-day strike, BART and union negotiators met for two days to go over the entire contract and deal with any questions or disputed language. There was no suggestion that the medical leave proposal was a problem, Castelli said.

"There were joint meetings to go over the contract language," said James Allison, a BART spokesman. "I don't know if (the medical leave provision) was discussed."

While BART directors are scheduled to vote on the new contract at their meeting Thursday, no one is saying what will happen if the unions hold fast to their decision not to reopen the deal.

"We consider the negotiations finished," Castelli said.

John Wildermuth is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:jwildermuth [at]
Added to the calendar on Tue, Nov 19, 2013 10:15PM
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