Home California Glazer: BART Proposed Labor Contract Premature and a Big Mistake

Glazer: BART Proposed Labor Contract Premature and a Big Mistake

by ECT

Contra Costa County – On Thanksgiving eve, BART announced a tentative labor contract with their represented groups, after secret negotiations were held during BART Directors’ campaign elections. The agreement is scheduled to be acted upon at their Thursday meeting (December 3).


The following is a statement from Senator Steve Glazer:

BART is in a financial meltdown due to the pandemic and it has no clear plan for recovery. So why did the district make an early agreement with their represented employee groups when the current contract does not expire until July 1, 2021?

It is important to note that in the first half of 2021, BART will have a clearer idea about Covid-19 vaccine availability, ridership improvements, financial bailout assistance from the federal government, and the results of early retirement incentives already offered to existing employees. All these potential outcomes provide important budgetary insight before agreeing to new contract terms. 

Along with other specific contract changes, this tentative agreement is premature and a big mistake and will likely harm BART riders, commuters and taxpayers through fare hikes and service erosion.

Shockingly, this contract was negotiated without any public notice and occurred during an active election campaign for BART Directors. While Directors were negotiating with BART unions on one hand they were asking the same unions for campaign contribution with the other hand. This is an outrageous injection of politics in a hugely consequential employer-employee agreement. 

The district’s own financial analysis projected a $33 million shortfall by next summer amid the steepest decline in ridership in the agency’s history.

BART is tying its hands when the district will need all the flexibility it can get to avoid a financial disaster. By giving up the ability to implement salary reductions if revenues continue to decline, BART is leaving few options but to lay off employees and curtail the number of trains, which would further depress ridership and deepen the agency’s financial crisis.

BART has failed to even do a salary survey of other transit districts and public agencies to determine if the current salaries called for in this agreement are needed to recruit and retain qualified employees – basic data needed to inform any effective negotiation.

Also, by setting the terms of the agreement at 3 years (rather than 4 years based on past contract durations), the future contract will be negotiated during another election year. Work rule changes, which were central to the 2013 contract negotiations, were completely abandoned. Important E-Bart reforms, instituted by former General Manager Grace Crunican were reversed. 

No wonder the BART administration undertook these negotiations without public notice and its Board of Directors now seems prepared to rush the contract through with little public review.

BART’s management doesn’t want the public to see what they are doing because they know that BART riders and other Bay Area residents would not support this agreement if they understood its details and its consequences.


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Jimbo Nov 30, 2020 - 11:26 am

B.A.R.T has always been poorly managed and we, The Tax payers, will be asked to bail them out in the next 2 years through a Bond Measure wrapped and labelled as necessary to prevent service cuts and maintain police. Just another Bait and Switch by mismanaged B.A.R.T.

mev Nov 30, 2020 - 9:34 pm

What happened to the CPUC auditing BART? Why can’t anyone rein control over bad BART decisions. Stop these losers before yet another blunder. BART needs to be reorganized from the bottom up and ran by a completely restructured company. BART should just let the transients have it; they own it anyway and have for the last 10 years at least. Ask the Wilson sisters how many times Cowell was released from prison and allowed to fare evade on BART; arrested just a couple of weeks before he stabbed them. YEAH BOOOO BART!

Jg Dec 1, 2020 - 12:00 pm

BART is and has been a money pit since 1955. It still has not gone to all areas promised yet those taxpayers have been hit for 65 years. They even allowed Santa Clara County in without back paying for the original buy in. No more bonds, fees, bailouts for BART people. Just toss your tax money into the toilet and flush. Same result.

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