With seven days remaining in a court-ordered cooling off period, union negotiators announced Thursday they have reached a deal with BART management on pensions, but were still deadlocked on wages in their talks over a new labor agreement.
Josie Moody, the chief negotiator for the SEIU, told reporters that it was time for BART to come forward with a counter offer on wages.
“I would note we have achieved an agreement on pension pickup by employees in exchange for a pension swap,” she said. “The union has made a proposal to pick up almost $3 million of additional money in health care and on top of that the unions have made a creative proposal on wages. “
“I want to say however,” Moody continued. “It’s time for BART to respond. The district has not given us a new proposal as I mentioned in 53 days and that is unacceptable. They must respond and give us a counterproposal. We want it today.”
Moody pointed out the latest proposal was the third the unions have made in nearly as many days. BART spokesman Rick Rice confirmed the transit agency had received the new union proposal on Wednesday night.
"We have received a new economic proposal from the unions this evening that appears to represent some progress, which we appreciate," he said in a prepared statement. "We will be evaluating the overall costs of this and return to discussions with the unions tomorrow."
Despite the lack of a counterproposal on wages, Moody said union negotiators were optimistic an agreement can be reached and a second transit strike since July averted.
“We are optimistic that we are going to reach a deal because the unions are committed to do so despite BART’s recalcitrance,” she said.
If no deal is reached, BART employees could strike as early as Oct. 11, when a cooling-off period ordered last month by Gov. Jerry Brown expires.
Brown has said the state would not step back into the labor dispute.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.