State Senator Steve Glazer released the following statement, this week, about the agreement the BART has entered with its labor unions:
“About 60 days ago, 40 state and local elected leaders joined me in sending a letter to the BART Board and their unions calling on them to take steps to restore the public’s trust in the financial management of the BART system.
Specifically, we asked that BART negotiate an extension to its labor contract that would ensure that the trains would keep running without a work stoppage for the next five years and to do so in a financially responsible way.
Given what we know today, this proposed agreement takes a positive step forward in delivering on those requirements. If approved by the unions and the BART Board, we can be confident that there will be continuous train operations for the next five years without debilitating strikes.
The BART unions and management should be commended for doing this.
Strikes are too debilitating for BART riders and commuters. That is why transit strikes are banned in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston and San Francisco.
There is still much more that BART should do to raise the level of confidence in the financial and operational management of the system. And I encourage them to continue the momentum with these confidence-building steps.
1. Do not apply these cost of living raises to highly-paid managers. Their pay should be based on merit, not a “Me Too” clause.
2. Commit to undertaking a salary study before the expiration of the next contract so that that we can closely examine each position’s compensation with the marketplace.
3. Set up a capital depreciation fund so that savings for repair and replacement is funded every year rather than in a balloon payment through new bond proposals.
4. Present clear projections of retirement costs and how they will be funded.
5. Support legislation banning future BART strikes.
6. Explore ways to train replacement managers to operate the system in the case of future work stoppages.
The financial elements of this proposed deal are not what I would have negotiated. BART workers are highly paid and system financial needs are great. However, I respect the collective bargaining process, and even if I disagree with some of the financial terms, I appreciate that compromise is required to bring all parties together.
This proposed contract represents the start of a turnaround for BART. We were going down the tracks, these past few years, in a very negative direction. The actions today have stopped that negative train and we are now heading in a positive direction. Let’s keep that momentum going with the confidence building steps that I have outlined.”
Glazer represents most of Contra Costa County in the California State Senate.