BART management has reached a tentative deal with three of its five unions, totaling about 2,700 workers, averting a strike that would have strained the Bay Area's transit systems and gridlocked its roads. The agreement, capping four months of intense negotiations, affects the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 (SEIU), the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).
BART GM Dorothy Dugger said the tentative four-year contract, reached after more than 24 hours of straight bargaining, represented "sacrifice" and "compromise." It must still be ratified by the unions and approved by the Bart Board of Directors.
"It was our primary goal to achieve a fair and equitable contract in the best interest of our riders, taxpayers and our employees. This new contract will help BART balance its budget and will help put BART on more solid financial footing for the years to come. We thank our riders for their patience during this negotiating period," BART Board of Directors President Thomas Blalock said in a prepared statement.
Jean Hamilton, President of AFSCME local 3993, said the details of the "conceptual agreement," which were not publicly released, would be worked out over the next several days.
Asked what they thought was good about the contract at a press conference announcing the deal, union leaders responded that there are no layoffs and consider it an accomplishment there were no interruptions in service.
"These have been extraordinarily difficult negotiations in poor economic times. The agreement contains sacrifices for all parties involved," said Jesse Hunt, President of the ATU.
Lisa Isler, the SEIU President, said she was optimistic her members would approve the contract. "I expect our members are aware of the economic times that we're in. They know how hard we've worked, and how long we've been working to achieve this, to get to this. We've managed to have no job cuts. We've managed to have no salary cuts. So we can get back to work and get on with providing service to the public."
Bryan Goebel is a reporter at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco. A veteran journalist and writer, he helped launch Streetsblog SF in 2009 and served as editor for three years. He lives car-free in the Castro District.