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San Francisco transit, union leaders reach deal

December 21, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit officials and labor union leaders announced a new deal early Saturday, saying the final issue in their ongoing dispute has been resolved.

The transit system and its two largest unions have been involved in months-long negotiations that stalled recently over paid medical leave time for employees.

BART officials and labor leaders had approved a deal in October after six months of negotiations and two strikes that caused problems for hundreds of thousands of people who ride the fifth-largest U.S. commuter rail system.

That deal fell apart last month when BART officials said the provision giving workers six weeks of paid annual leave to care for sick family members had been mistakenly included in the contract.

BART General Manager Grace Crunican said in a statement early Saturday that she will recommend the company’s board of directors approve the new agreement as soon as possible.

The Associated Press could not immediately reach officials for further comment.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant confirmed by phone that a deal had been reached during overnight negotiations. She declined, however, to discuss details until union members have had a chance to see the agreement.

Service Employees International Union Local 1021 BART chapter President John Arantes said in a statement on his union’s website that it was a “fair resolution that would close months of drawn out contract talks.” He did not elaborate. The union office was closed early Saturday, and the AP could not immediately reach an official for further comment.

Both unions are expected to bring the matter to their members for a vote.

The new agreement expands the bereavement leave policy and “allows qualifying employees more flexibility in how they pay for the costs of their family medical leave,” according to the transit system statement.

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Associated Press writer Terry Collins contributed to this report. Moore reported from Phoenix.

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