News


BART trains running Tuesday as talks continue

BART-unions to keep talking to avert strike

There will not be a BART strike today and negotiators will remain engaged in talks this morning, according to a federal mediator.

Shortly after 1 a.m. federal mediator George Cohen announced that Bart and union representatives will continue contract negotiation talks through the morning and that BART train service will not be interrupted.

The announcement followed a hectic night of negotiations that at one point led a union executive to waive his hands and say there would be a strike at midnight.

Pete Castelli, the exeutive director of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, said "We're heading for a strike at midnight unless something breaks and there's a Hail Mary."

Speaking to reporters outside the Caltrans building in Oakland, where BART management is meeting with union negotiators, Castelli advised

commuters to "prepare for alternative transportation" to get to work on Tuesday in case an agreement isn't reached tonight.

But apparently Cohen calmed Castelli and others down long enough to reach an agreement to run the trains one more day.

BART board president Tom Radulovich said a last, best and final offer presented by management on Sunday represents the "outer limit" of what

the transit agency can offer its workers.

The offer includes a 3% raise for each of the contract's four years, retroactive to July 5, but also requires employees to make a 4% pension contribution and a 9.5% contribution to their health benefits, according to BART officials.

All day Monday, negotiators for BART and its labor unions were at the bargaining able to try once again to agree on a new contract and avert a strike, but the unions vowed to go on strike tonight if an agreement can't be reached.

Cecille Isidro, a spokeswoman for Service Employees International Union Local 1021, which represents 1,430 mechanics, custodians and clerical workers, said the two sides are meeting face to face but said she couldn't discuss the details of the talks because a federal mediator has asked the parties not to.

BART representatives weren't immediately available for comment this morning.

Members of SEIU Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, which represents 945 station agents, train operators and clerical workers, had threatened to go on strike today if an agreement wasn't reached by midnight on Sunday.

But late Sunday, union leaders extended their strike deadline by 24 hours, to midnight tonight.

BART officials said an offer they presented to the unions on Sunday is worth $7 million more than the one they made Friday, and represents the transit agency's last, best and final offer in the contract talks, which began April 1.

However, union leaders maintain that BART's latest contract proposal is worth less than previous offers, calling it "regressive."

BART workers went on strike for several days at the beginning of July but returned to the bargaining table at the request of Gov. Jerry Brown.

Brown eventually sought a 60-day cooling-off period, which was granted by a judge but expired at midnight last Thursday.

Talks have continued past that deadline, however, and Bay Area residents are continuing to head to bed each work night not knowing whether BART will be running for their morning commutes.

That uncertainty may change tonight if the unions follow through on their promise to go on strike.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News, contributed to this story.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 15, 2013 at 7:33 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

I mentioned a concern about whether AC Transit was working with BART unions after their no vote on leadership's recommended settlement. The 72 hour strike notice from ACT workers seems to point to a collaboration to shut down Bay Area public transportation to create added pressure to get more from both organizations. I hope the public and the management will stand firm on their last, best, and final offer.


Posted by POed in PTown, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 8:19 am

People need to let their BART Directors know that we want them to stand firm and not give into the unions; and better yet, fire all BART workers that strike. Let your Director know that if they don't stand up to the unions, they will be voted out of office.
People also need to familiarize themselves with how sinister some of the unions have become. SEIU is a shining example. They are in bed with communists and illegal aliens with the intent to bring down our democratic society (if you don't believe that, just watch a few May Day parades such as the one in Los Angeles). As Kathleen has pointed out, it is obvious that the BART unions and the ACT unions are in cahoots. FIRE THEM ALL!!!
Our priorities are really messed up when we pay uneducated BART dolts more than we pay the teachers that educate our children.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I agree !. Hang tough! Do NOT CAVE ! Two PUBLIC unions double whacking us cannot be rewarded ! This insanity must be ENDED, not rewarded! There will NEVER be money for safety repairs at the bottom of the bay and other updating, because it all just keeps going the ignorant greedy, who just don't 'get it'. There are financial LIMITS and we have reached them.


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