About 400 BART workers and union supporters gathered in Oakland at Frank Ogawa Plaza in August 2013 to rally in support of better wages for BART workers. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
About 400 BART workers and union supporters gathered in Oakland at Frank Ogawa Plaza in August 2013 to rally in support of better wages for BART workers. (Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

Update 11:45 a.m.Saturday: ATU Local 1555 announced its members have ratified the contract with  85 percent approval.  SEIU 1021 said that 88 percent of its members voted to ratify the contract Friday night.

Update 11:30 p.m.: Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 voted to ratify the agreement. Results of the vote by members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 will not be announced until Saturday.

Original Post:

BART workers from its two largest unions are voting today on a tentative contract agreement, following a bitter labor dispute with management that led to two strikes in July and last month.

More than 2,000 members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 are voting in Oakland on a new four-year contract. Union representatives expect to announce the results around 11 p.m.

The contract agreement between BART management and the unions was reached after a four-day strike in mid-October. If the unions ratify the agreement, the BART board of directors would then vote on the new contract at a meeting later this month, BART spokesman Jim Allison told the Bay City News.

He said the board’s next scheduled meeting is Nov. 21 but they will likely schedule a special meeting sooner. A majority of the board is required to approve the contract, he said.

From the Associated Press report:

More than 2,300 members of Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 voted on whether to approve a new four-year contract that includes a 15 percent raise and improved safety conditions.

The agreement also requires BART workers to pay into their pensions for the first time and increases their monthly health care contributions from about $92 to $129. The unions represent train operators, station agents, custodians and maintenance and clerical workers.

The vote also comes nearly two weeks after the unions reached a deal with BART management that ended months of tortured talks over salary, benefits and safety conditions. The unions went on strike for nearly five days in July and after a state-mandated cooling off-period, went back to the picket lines for another four days last month angering thousands of commuters.

During the second strike, two BART workers killed by a train operated by an employee under training in Walnut Creek on Oct. 19 which many believe drew the parties back to the bargaining table to finally iron out a deal a couple of days later.

SEIU said they will announce its voting results late Friday.

“We’ve already gotten an amazing turnout. We’ve had members waiting in line getting ready to vote early this morning,” SEIU spokeswoman Cecille Isidro said. “We’re optimistic they will approve it.”

ATU President Antonette Bryant shared a similar view Friday.

“I think the members will come down and make their choice,” Bryant said. “Our executive board is recommending a yes vote, but it remains to see what the members’ choices are.”

 

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