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BART workers get raise, higher benefit costs after strike

  • Bay Area Rapid Transit passengers wait for a BART train to depart the Fruitvale station Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND — The tentative contract that ended the San Francisco Bay Area's transit strike includes a 15 percent raise over four years but also increased worker contributions toward their health insurance and pensions, a person with direct knowledge of the agreement said Wednesday.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit district and its two largest unions reached the agreement Monday night, but its details have yet to be made public because the two sides still were double-checking the wording before presenting the deal to union members for a vote.

The person with direct knowledge of the deal that allowed BART service to resume after a four-day strike said workers would get paid 15.4 percent more by the time the agreement ends in 2017. That's more than the 12 percent raise BART presented as its best and final offer before the strike.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the details hadn't been discussed with rank-and-file members of the two unions, which represent more than 2,300 mechanics, custodians, station agents, train operators and clerical staff.

The deal also requires employees to contribute more toward their benefits. Monthly health insurance premiums would increase from $92 to $129. And, for the first time, workers would have to contribute to their state pensions.

The rate would be 1 percent in the first year, topping out at 4 percent in the fourth year. At the same time, workers would get back 72 cents for every dollar they contribute in an arrangement called a "pension swap."

Chris Daly, political director for one of the unions — Service Employees International Union local 1021 — confirmed the basic salary, health care and pension changes. But he disputed the suggestion that workers would be earning 15.4 percent more when the new contract expires, saying higher costs for health care and pensions make the take-home increase more like 2 or 3 percent over each of the four years.

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