A public hearing took place today at which BART and its three employee unions were scheduled to make presentations before a panel of state investigators charged with figuring out why the negotiation process has been so stalled. While the unions had not yet told their side, the Chron has leapt at the opportunity to describe where BART negotiators stand, saying that the two sides are still $100 million apart, with the unions refusing to increase the amount they want to pay toward health care.
This was the first time we'd heard any updated numbers about where the two sides stood since state mediators had issued a gag order back in July, after the four-and-half day strike ended.
As it stands when the strike loomed last weekend, these are the details:
BART's most recent salary offer called for a 9 percent raise spread over four years.
The unions are asking for a 15 percent raise spread over three years, and said they would be willing to contribute 7 percent toward their pension if the agency helped offset that cost by an additional 6.5 percent raise the first year.
Josie Mooney, chief negotiator for the service workers union, says the agency is misrepresenting their offer, and adds, "It doesn't take a mental genius to see a mid-point in these numbers."
The results of the hearings will be summarized by the panel in a report to the governor on Sunday, at which point he is likely to recommend to a 60-day cooling off period.
Update: The unions say that they are actually only $56 million apart from BART in the talks, and if you believe this report from the LA Times, BART officials say they are $62 million apart from the unions over three years. So, yeah, numbers.
And for those who like to bandy about the figure that the average BART union employee makes $79,000 a year, Vin Harrington, an attorney for Service Employees International Union Local 1021 would like to clarify that if you remove highly paid managers from that group, the average is more like $66,000.