Joined by Community Leaders, Workers Raise Concerns Over BART Chief Negotiators’ Scorched Earth Tactics and Efforts to Force a Strike
Alameda, CA — Today BART workers represented by ATU 1555, SEIU 1021, and AFCSME 3993 were joined by Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) and Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) to demand that BART Management and their negotiators end their delays and return to the bargaining table. Workers who serve on the unions’ bargaining teams also demonstrated how BART Management continues to avoid serious negotiations designed to reach a fair deal by October 10.
Twenty-two days into the state mandated 60-day cooling off period, BART management and its out-of-town chief negotiator Thomas Hock have refused to negotiate on economic issues until 37 days into the cooling off period. The unions have each offered a number of days to meet before September 17th, but BART’s negotiators have declined to accept any of them. Furthermore, BART has also refused to authorize the release of workers who serve on their unions’ bargaining teams to caucus and meet in order to resume negotiations.
In a letter addressed to the governor and Attorney General Kamala Harris and released at a press conference held earlier today, SEIU 1021 Executive Director Pete Castelli explains, “Waiting until day 37 of the cooling off period to even sit down to discuss the economic issues that, along with worker and rider safety, are at the core of this dispute represents BART Management’s efforts to force a strike and create a serious disruption of the Bay Area’s public transportation system.”
Standing with their fellow workers who have kept BART running around the clock during the Bay Bridge closure, leaders from ATU 1555 and AFSCME 3993 also expressed deep concern and disbelief at BART negotiators’ efforts to incite a strike in October.
“It is truly appalling how BART Management and their $399,000 hired hatchet man Thomas Hock have misled the public and the governor,” said ATU 1555 President Antonette Bryant. “While they’ve claimed that they’re interested in meeting and negotiating, BART’s chief negotiator Thomas Hock could care less about reaching a fair and equitable agreement that would guarantee a safe and reliable system for riders and workers. He’s once again trying to force another strike by doing whatever it takes to delay bargaining until the final hour.“
“We believe a negotiated agreement is still very much possible,” said Patricia Schuchardt AFSCME 3993 President. “We’re ready to go back to the table to reach a fair resolution as soon as possible. It’s time that BART’s negotiators fulfill their promises to the governor, the riders, and the workers and continue negotiating.”
On August 11, a judge granted Gov. Brown’s request for a 60-day cooling off period. BART Board President Tom Radulovich had urged the governor to call for the 60-day period so as to allow “us to continue negotiating while assuring the public that it will have transit service tomorrow and for another 60 days to continue to bargain.” Twenty-two days into the cooling off period, BART Management has yet to meet and bargain with ATU 1555 and SEIU 1021, and has only met with AFSCME 3993 once. Together, the unions represent 2,400 workers who keep BART running.