The transportation authority for the city of San Francisco, known as BART, is paying nearly $1.1 million to civilian members of the BART Police Association for work they had already paid rented guards to do, according to an arbitration ruling.
The payout comes as the cash-strapped transportation agency plans to ask voters to shell out billions for upgrades to its outdated and failing system, and as officials and transportation workers have agreed to a tentative deal to raise pay over four years.
The ruling last month stems from work that BART management hired nonunion, independent contractors to do, starting three years ago when the agency began replacing outdated fire alarm systems at several stations.
During the retrofit, BART’s community services officers — uniformed civilian employees who are members of the police union — should have been put in charge of watching the stations in case a fire broke out, Ronald Hoh, the arbitrator in the case, said in the December ruling.
Instead, BART hired a private security company for the job, which the union said violated its contract with the agency.
On March 18, officials cut checks totaling $1,088,982 that averaged out to about $30,000 in lost pay for each of the agency’s roughly 40 community services officers, attorneys for the BART Police Officers’ Association said.
“This was by far the biggest grievance award I’ve ever been a part of,” said Sean Currin, the police union’s attorney. “Hopefully, this will discourage other public safety agencies from attempting to illegally subcontract law enforcement services.”