San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Considers Arbitration to End Worker Strike
Tuesday, October, 22, 2013
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) employees have stated through their unions that they will end the current strike if the BART management agrees to their terms. However, last week, BART officials stated that they could not accept the unions’ offer, thus continuing the halt in work and the shut-down of trains that move over 400,000 daily commuters within the San Francisco Bay Area.
A spokesperson for BART, Jim Allison, has stated that arbitration may be the next step and is currently being considered by BART board members as a way to resolve the dispute related to the entire employee contract package. The two BART unions, SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555, have stated that workers will agree to end the strike if BART will agree to send at least a portion of the contract into arbitration. That portion includes the work rules for employees—a section that has been highly disputed in negotiations that have already occurred.
According to Antonette Bryant, President of ATU 1555, striking was never their plan in the first place but BART has refused to compromise in negotiations. “BART didn’t want a deal,” she said. “They wanted to break our union. Now we want to lead the way back to a fully operating system for our passengers, starting at the negotiating table.”
The commitments of the unions include maintaining the current pensions and wage scales; changing retiree medical eligibility from five years to fifteen years; and submitting to final, binding arbitration to resolve the dispute concerning work rules.