District Council 57

BART Workers Respond to NTSB Report: Safety Improvements Still Needed

For Immediate Release
April 14, 2015

Contact:
ATU 1555 President Chris Finn, 415-867-5174
AFSCME 3993 President Sal Cruz, 415-305-6000
SEIU 1021 BART Chapter President, John Arantes, 510-909-9483

BART WORKERS RESPOND TO NTSB REPORT, FOLLOWING FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO OCTOBER 2013 INCIDENT

Workers Urge Immediate Action on NTSB & BART Board Labor Relations Reports’ Recommendations to Improve Service and Safety for Riders

Oakland, CA—The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a report on the October 2013 incident today, following its investigation into the deaths of two BART workers.

BART’s largest unions—AFSCME 3993, ATU 1555, and SEIU 1021—released the following joint statement:

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the families of Laurence Daniels and Christopher Sheppard, who tragically lost their lives that day. As we move forward we need to redouble our efforts to change the culture that allowed such an incident to occur.

The report and the documents released with it provide disturbing detail into the event but do not address the larger issues surrounding the incident. In order to prevent such an incident from occurring again, we need to see this incident not solely as the result of the actions or inactions of several people, or of a problematic procedure. The October 19, 2013 tragedy was the result of a culture not only at BART, but at many workplaces, where the value of the work and of the voices of the people doing the day to day work are dismissed.

As the BART system expands and its ridership increases, we look to the Board of Directors and management to work with the unions to ensure workers’ voices are included and listened to, as an aging system is brought into repair and new technology or procedures are implemented.

We urge them to listen and be open to recommendations from workers to improve safety, and to protect them when they report safety violations and speak up for their rights to health and safety on the job.

The recent Labor Relations report commissioned by the BART Board of Directors indicated safety needed to be addressed at all levels throughout BART. We have been working with management and the Board on implementing recommendations in the report and especially want to see that aspect of the report become a reality.

We are encouraged by BART’s creation of two Wayside Safety committees after the accident to improve collaboration between the Board, management, and unions on safety. In order for BART’s safety culture to change and succeed, these committees need to meet on a regular basis. We hope that the Wayside Safety Ad Hoc Committee and the Right of Way Protection Technology Committee will meet soon so that those of us who work on or near the tracks, who operate trains, and who control train movement wayside can be included in the discussion.

We have a lot of work to do to create a culture of safety at BART. We look forward to being a part of that process.” 

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