BART Unions to Strike Friday
BART unions plan to strike tomorrow after failing to reach an agreement with management. As we have been covering, the negotiations have been ongoing for several months, finally culminating today after a 30-hour bargaining session. While some progress was made with the help of a federal mediator, several key issues remain unresolved. The unions were willing to meet BART on its health care and pension requests, but the two sides could not reach an agreement on pay and work conditions. The unions offered to settle the remaining unresolved issues through binding arbitration, but BART management reportedly rejected that suggestion, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. BART’s final offer included a 12 percent raise over four years, a 4 percent pension contribution by employees, and a 9.5 percent increase in employees’ health-insurance contributions. The president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 said that, “this is not a union strike. This is a management strike brought on by absolute arrogance.” BART management has said that the offer will remain on the table until October 27 and, if approved, the deal would be retroactive to July 1. If a vote were taken after October 27, the contract offer would no longer be retroactive.