Monday, December 16, 2013

About the BART contract "clerical error"

Contra Costa Times/Daniel Borenstein columnist (opinion), 12/13/13.  "Daniel Borenstein:  Bart contract fiasco far more than a clerical error."

BART Board contract vote
8-1, no annual 6-weeks paid family sick leave
"It wasn't just a clerical error.  For a month, questions have swirled about how BART negotiators mistakenly signed off on a new benefit worth millions. Last week, officials explained the bungling in detail.

.... This was sloppiness mixed with completely broken procedures: Directing clerical staff to paw through negotiators' notes, no review before sending out typed tentative agreements, signing documents without reading them, no lawyer signature, no signature dates, no accurate logging of agreements, no attached fiscal analyses.  Most significantly: No public vetting. With proper procedures and full sunshine, this colossal error could, should and probably would have been caught."   Read article. 

Related background articleKTVU/Associated Press/Terry Collins, 11/21/13.  "The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit board approved a tentative labor contract Thursday after stripping out a disputed family medical leave provision that officials with its two largest unions have said they want included.

Board members voted 8-1 to approve the deal, minus the provision that would give workers six weeks of paid annual leave to care for sick family members. The transit agency said the provision could cost $44 million over four years if one-third of union workers take six-week leaves each year. BART officials announced last week that the provision had been inadvertently included in the proposed contract due to an error.

The parties agreed to a tentative deal Oct. 21 after six months of agonizing negotiations and two strikes that caused headaches for hundreds of thousands of people who ride the nation's fifth-largest commuter rail system."  Note:  photograph from this Associated Press/Terry Collins article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Dan Murray said...

The family Leave Act for California does allow for 55% of an employees wage ( max. $987 per week) to be paid for up to 6 weeks for qualifying employees.

Aside from the BART disagreement concerning FMLA, the best thing for the public would be for State lawmakers to vote future strike prohibitions on all transit workers. Whether it will take another BART strike to get the folks in Sacramento to invoke such a law, only time will tell. While a strike prohibition might seem to many to be an erosion of workers' rights, it is far better than holding the public-at-large hostage while these unions settle their contract disputes.

Hutch said...

Dan, I believe that the 55% is paid by state disability, not the company. Not many private businesses could afford to pay 6 weeks of wages for family leave on top of vacation and sick leave.

Agree on banning strikes.

Dan Murray said...

Hutch, you are correct. From the Ca. gov website, it appears that payments for Temporary Family Leave are administered through the State Disability Income fund (SDI). That leads to question as to why this is even an issue between BART and its workers as the provision and payments for Family Leave are already prescribed by State law. There must be some other aspect of Family Leave that the unions are pushing for.

Anonymous said...

Dan, the Bart Union is trying to circumvent state disability law and get their own sweetheart deal. They would get 6 weeks family leave at full pay before they have to use any vacation or PTO.