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BART, AC Transit reach an agreement with unions

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Both the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and AC Transit have reached an agreement with the unions that represent the workers for both agencies, The Amogomated Transit Union (ATU) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), according to KTVU News, Dec. 21, 2013. The agreement calls for a 9.5% salary increase over the next three years and a $120 monthly health care contribution.

Reaction to the agreement among drivers for both agencies was mixed. Some of the drivers indicated that they were unsure about the agreement, while others indicated that it was "time to throw in the towel." ATU President Yvonne Williams was very supportive of the agreement:

"And it's a good deal because we definitely want to make sure if we can, to keep the service on the street, and make sure that our riding public is not inconvenienced in any way."

SEIU 1021 Professional Center President Des Patten was hopeful that a third strike could be avoided:

"We ended up being able to resolve some of these issues."

The other SEIU President, John Arantes, said that the disputed six weeks of leave in the original contract had been replaced with twelve weeks of family leave per year, using vacation leave and sick leave, which had not been allowed previously.

Riders were very relieved to know that their daily commutes to and from work would not be compromised by a strike or work stoppage. Claudine Becerra of Berkeley was one such happy commuter:

"It's nice to know that I can take my regular route to work."

Ayoe Jikoku of El Cerrito was more philosophical:

"Just ease the pain a little. We're already going through so many other things with the government and whatnot. I think it's a good thing."

The agreements still will have to ratified by both unions. The ratifications are expected to take place over the next couple of weeks.

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