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Rail News: Passenger Rail

BART board ratifies union agreement


Bay Area Rapid Transit’s board Sept. 19 voted to ratify the new agreements with its two largest unions, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 790.

ATU represents more than 800 BART train operators and station agents; SEIU, more than 1,700 maintenance, clerical and professional personnel.

Key features of the four-year agreement include a base pay increase of 6 percent in the first year, 5 percent in both the second and third years, and 6 percent in the fourth year. BART also will pay the equivalent of 3.5 percent of the employees’ base pay into a separate pension fund. The payment is made possible by a Public Employee Retirement System surplus.

Also, in the contract’s second year, Martin Luther King’s birthday will be added as an extra holiday, and bereavement leave will increase from three to five days.

Other changes in the agreement — primarily work rules dealing with absenteeism — will enable the agency to improve efficiency.

During the next three months, an Operations Improvement Committee plans to address and resolve other efficiency issues, which include improving grievance hearing procedures and reducing backlogs.

The new agreement is retroactive to July 1.