A strike threat hanging over BART like a dark cloud for weeks has lifted mostly with a tentative contract settlement reached Friday. But the deal needs to clear an important hurdle: ratification by three different employee unions in separate votes.
If that doesn’t happen, then riders may need to dust off those contingency plans for commuting. As Yoga Berra said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”
Two BART unions have scheduled contract votes, one Thursday and one on Tuesday Aug. 11, while a third union for train operators and station agents hasn’t announced a time for their vote yet.
Jesse Hunt, president of Local 1555 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said he hopes his union can vote before the end of this week, but he added that some contract language must be worked out with BART before the vote can take place.
ATU has the most contentious relationship with BART, and the union’s members have been the most vocal in criticizing BART during contact negotiations that started April 1.
Speculation in some BART circles is that having the Service Employees International Local 1021 up to bat first for a vote will improve the chances that the deal will win approval by all three unions. SEIU could set the tone for the other votes, as the thinking goes.
Earlier this summer, ATU members voted down a previous management contract offer by 683 to 0, setting the tone for a landslide although not quite unanimous rejection by SEIU.
If the unions approve the contract settlement, then BART will disclose details of the deal and bring it to a public vote of the transit board.