The district’s latest attempt to reach a fair contract went unanswered Aug. 11 as the unions walked out of negotiations without responding to the current district proposal, despite the fact BART increased its wages and benefits offer by more than 70 percent since Thursday.
With union leadership continuing to insist on a substantial wage increase which would greatly impact future BART service, it remains unclear how to bridge the sizable gap. Despite hard work throughout the weekend, with BART taking the lead on offering a resolution, the two sides remain far apart.
“There is simply not enough movement from our unions to indicate we can reach an agreement,” said Grace Crunican, general manager at BART. “We will wait for the mediators to set a new calendar to resume negotiations and do our best to resolve this before the cooling off period ends.”
In an effort to reach an agreement by Aug. 11, BART increased its wage offer to 10 percent over four years and lowered its pension proposal on Saturday. BART’s latest proposal represents a 73.1 percent increase from where the last offer stood. BART’s previous offer would have cost the District $18.5 million for SEIU and ATU employees. The current proposal would now cost BART $32.1 million for SEIU and ATU employees. It will cost BART $49 million when extended to all BART employees. The proposal consists of the following offer:
• Pay increase: Ten percent over a four-year contract (2.5 percent, 2.5 percent, 2.5 percent and 2.5 percent). This wage increase includes a swap for the pension contribution as outlined below, which means employees will be fully reimbursed for their pension contribution (or employees will not be impacted with out of pocket costs).
• Pension: Employees would begin to contribute 1 percent of base wages to their pension the first year, and 2 percent, 3 percent and 4 percent in subsequent years.
• Healthcare: BART will cap its health insurance payment at the lower cost of either the Kaiser or Blue Shield plus family plan. Any employee wishing to pick a more expensive plan must pay the difference. This offer will not increase health care costs for the overwhelming majority of BART employees, yet it still saves money for the district.