On December 10th, a formal complaint was filed with the Attorney General’s office against BART Director Robert Raburn for his misuse of public funds for his re-election campaign. Last Thursday, BART workers who were participating in a peaceful protest against the Director Raburn were appalled to learn that he was using BART police officers as private security for his re-election campaign fundraiser at Warehouse 416 in Oakland.
BART police officers serving as security guards at Director Raburn’s personal fundraising event revealed to protesters that they were “on orders” to be at the event.
The complaint charges that Director Raburn is in violation of California Penal Code section 424, which prohibits state and local officers charged with the oversight or disbursement of public funds from using such funds for any purpose not authorized by law. The law prohibits public funds from being used for campaign purposes.
The complaint also requested an investigation from the Attorney General as to whether Director Raburn violated Government Code section 8314, which prohibits state and local elected officers, such as BART directors, from using or permitting others to use public resources for campaign activity. Public resources include any state-compensated time and campaign activities include anything considered a contribution or independent expenditure under state campaign finance law.
Police logs for December 5th also revealed that, while BART police were providing private security to Director Raburn at his campaign fundraising event, a crime was being committed against a rider at a nearby station. A rider reported that a phone was grabbed and stolen from her as she was sitting in a San Francisco-bound train.
“We’ve repeatedly requested greater security for the riders and the workers, particularly in areas with a lot of crime.” said Saul Almanza, a BART worker who was present at the protest. “It’s frustrating to see that Director Raburn would rather use BART police as his private security detail, than prioritize the safety of the riders or the workers who keep BART running.
Oakland, CA – Today BART’s largest unions, SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555, issued the following joint statement on the BART Board’s recent vote regarding whether to ratify the labor contracts:
“We consider the Board’s actions to be unprecedented and illegitimate, and we’re considering our next steps, including possible legal action.
The BART Board of Directors has disregarded the vote of more than two thousand BART workers and has chosen to subvert the collective bargaining process, and we take their actions seriously.”
Oakland, CA – Earlier today, the BART Board of Directors voted to approve a contract that did not have a provision on family medical leave, that BART’s chief negotiator Thomas Hock, Assistant General Manager Paul Oversier, and Labor Relations Manager Rudy Medina bargained and signed with its unions.
Pete Castelli, Executive Director of SEIU 1021, issued the following statement following the BART Board’s vote:
“We’re disappointed that the BART Board of Directors had decided not to fulfill their commitment to the workers and the riders by approving contracts without the provision on family medical leave. The unions have voted on and ratified these contracts in their entirety.
The Board’s vote does not lead to reaching an expeditious resolution but to further confusion. We’ve been willing to discuss the implementation of the disputed provision, but BART Management and the Board of Directors have chosen to prolong the process and hold the fate of the riders, the workers, and the Bay Area in the balance. They’ve cited over-inflated costs of family medical leave that would allow workers to care for gravely ill family members or bond with newborn or newly-adopted children.
Right now we are considering all options, meeting with workers who have ratified this contract, and working to find a way to reach a resolution to BART management’s alleged mistake in the agreement it made with its workers.”
Earlier this evening, the BART Board of Directors announced that they have no intention of voting and approving a strike-ending agreement that their Management team and negotiators bargained with its two largest unions for six months. SEIU 1021 Executive Director Pete Catelli released the following statement regarding the announcement:
“After telling the thousands of riders and their workers that we had a fair agreement, BART Management has pulled the rug from underneath the unions and the Bay Area today by going back on their word and urging the BART Board of Directors to turn this agreement down.
Singling out a tentative agreement they prepared and agreed to in July and citing over-inflated numbers, BART Management is trying to hit the reset button and renege on the agreement that their $399,000 chief negotiator bargained for them.
Make no mistake: there was no confusion or glitch in the agreement. BART’s high-priced chief negotiator Thomas Hock, Assistant General Manager Paul Oversier, and Labor Relations Manager Rudy Medina, signed an agreement that would allow BART workers some paid time off to care for a family member with a serious illness.
But once again, BART Management is moving the goal post to a fair agreement.
Once again, the workers and the riders have been played by a management team simply unwilling to settle this contract.”
BART Management’s Big Mistake – San Francisco Chronicle editorial
How a clause ‘inadvertently’ made its ways into a contract – Contra Costa Times
BART Safety Workers to Testify on the Controversial Practice of “Simple Approval”
San Francisco, CA – Today, in a special hearing called by the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment on worker safety at BART, workers specializing in safety procedures and protocol will testify on Management’s continued refusal to address workers’ serious safety concerns and the lack of a culture of safety at the nation’s fifth largest public transportation system. Workers will also testify on the practice of “safety approval,” which was suspended shortly by BART after the October 19 incident in which two workers were struck and killed by a train operated by a trainee.
In recent years, BART has been cited by Cal-OSHA for dozens of violations, including two fatalities. Workers will testify on BART’s alarming record of fighting state safety regulations, instead of fixing the problems identified by workers or reforming its procedures to comply with state law.
“Workers fought hard for safety improvements at the bargaining table, but workers should not have to wait until contract negotiations for BART Management to deal with life and death issues,” said John Arantes, President of SEIU 1021 BART Chapter. “It’s outrageous that BART Management waits until labor contracts expire or until tragedy strikes before agreeing to address dangerous working conditions.”
At today’s hearing, workers will also provide testimony on the history of the controversial safety procedure “simple approval,” which contributed to last month’s fatal accident, as well as to a prior incident in 2008.
“For decades, we’ve raised concerns around ‘simple approval’ and how it forces workers to do dangerous jobs without any protection,” said Saul Almanza, who trains workers on wayside safety regulations. “Under ‘simple approval,’ BART Management is not required to give workers warnings of safety hazards on the tracks, including warnings of oncoming trains.”
The hearing, requested by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), will be held in the Auditorium of the State Building at 455 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco and begin at 10:00 a.m. today.
Ratification Vote Scheduled for Friday, November 1st
Oakland, CA – Today negotiators and the bargaining team for SEIU 1021 announced that a member ratification vote on the tentative agreement reached with BART has been scheduled for Friday, November 1st.
The union’s chapter bylaws require that members have at least five days to review the details of the contract before a ratification vote can be held. Results of the vote will be announced after votes are counted.
The BART Board of Directors must also approve the contract before it goes into effect.
SEIU 1021 represents over 1,400 BART workers, in 79 different job classifications, including track workers, mechanics, electricians, elevator/escalator techs, facilities and buildings workers, in addition to logistics, inventory, and clerical workers. SEIU 1021 also represents accounting and IT support staff, as well as employee development specialists who provide training on safety and work procedures.