BART Workers Begin Contract Talks with Transit District

1,400 SEIU Local 1021 Members Seek Better Working Conditions, Improved Safety for BART Workers and Riders and a Fair Pay Package

Oakland, CA — 1,400 workers responsible for cleaning and maintaining the BART system begin contract negotiations today with the transit district, which carries more than 370,000 Bay Area passengers each weekday. The four-year contract with workers represented by Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1021 expires on June 30th.

“Our goal is to make the BART system safer for passengers and workers, secure a fair pay package and improve working conditions for the people tasked with keeping BART’s fleet of trains and miles of track clean, safe and ready,” said Leah Berlanga, chief spokesperson for the BART workers’ bargaining team.

SEIU Local 1021 workers maintain the transit district’s fleet of 669 trains and 104 miles of track, including the 3.6-mile Transbay Tube, 135 feet below the San Francisco Bay. At the bargaining table, BART workers will push for new operational measures to improve safety for workers and passengers. Many BART employees work under challenging conditions to perform inspections and repairs — sometimes even on active tracks. Others bear the brunt of passengers’ frustrations with Bay Area commutes. Each year, dozens of BART workers are injured in assaults while on the job.

At the same time, BART workers are seeking an end to district austerity measures and a fair pay package. BART workers sacrificed $100 million in scheduled increases four years ago to help BART weather the economic downturn. BART employees haven’t had a wage increase in 4 years, despite an improving economy, increasing ridership and back-to-back budget surpluses at the transit agency.

SEIU Local 1021 represents 1,400 electricians, maintenance workers, structure inspectors, computer specialists, engineering aides, utility workers, and safety training specialists who protect, repair, inspect, clean, and do clerical work for the BART District. SEIU Local 1021 is the largest of several unions representing BART workers and represents a majority of unionized BART employees.

“SEIU Local 1021 members helped make BART one of the most heavily used and best-rated mass transit systems in the United States,” said SEIU Local 1021 President Roxanne Sanchez. “At the same time, BART workers sometimes struggle to win safe working conditions, fair pay and the support they need to keep BART safe, clean and reliable for Bay Area commuters.”

“BART negotiations can be intense,” said Sanchez. “But BART members know that they have the strength and the support of our entire union in their efforts to reach a fair contract.”

SEIU Local 1021 represents over 54,000 employees in city and county governments, nonprofit agencies, health care programs and schools throughout Northern California, including 1,400 workers who clean and maintain BART.

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