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11/19/2013



Rail News: Labor

BART disputes labor agreement provision; Metra clerical workers OK new contract


Bay Area Rapid Transit's (BART) management team is reviewing the potential cost of a provision that was "inadvertently" included in the final labor package agreed to by negotiators for the agency and its two largest unions.

In October, after six months of tense negotiations that included two strikes, BART and the unions — Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employees Union International (SEIU) Local 1021 — reached an agreement on a $67 million contract proposal that covered a combination of agreements on wage increases, employee contributions to health care and pension plans, and work rule changes.

The provision in question would allow workers to take up to six weeks of paid leave to care for a sick child, spouse or parent under a family medical leave provision. Currently, employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

BART management says the provision was included in a stack of tentative agreements and was signed in error. However, union officials have said in prepared statements BART management is now "going back on its word" by questioning the family leave provision.

BART's board is scheduled to consider the package for a vote on Thursday, according to a statement posted yesterday on BART's website.

Meanwhile, in Chicago on Nov. 17, Metra clerical workers represented by the Transportation Communications Union (TCU) approved a labor agreement that will provide wage increases of more than 20 percent over the contract's six-year term, as well as a $3,000 signing bonus, according to a TCU press release.

"This is the best wage settlement in this country at this time," said TCU National President Bob Scardelletti. "Once again, TCU commuter workers can hold their heads high. Our membership clearly saw the value of this contract and it shows in their overwhelming vote in favor."



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