Aug. 4, 2013, coverage of potential BART strike 2.0: BART Strike Deadline Update: Talks Go Down to the Wire, Again
Update: California Secretary of Labor Marty Morgenstern announced at about 10:50 p.m. in Oakland that BART’s two striking unions have agreed to return to work as negotiations with management continue. Train service is to resume at 3 p.m. Friday. More details: Strike is over, for now: Unions agree to return to work while talks continue
Find more coverage on Wednesday’s strike.
The latest (12:01 a.m. Monday):
- BART’s two main unions have announced that talks have failed and they are on strike. It’s BART’s first strike since 1997.
- Unions say members will stay on the job after the midnight deadline to complete all scheduled runs.
- Earlier, contract talks between BART management and the two main unions — Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 — came to an end about 8:30 p.m. this evening. The two sides met with a state-appointed mediator for about 5½ hours at Caltrans District 4 headquarters in Oakland. BART reportedly says it will have no new offers this evening for the unions.
- After unions left the negotiations, ATU Local 1555 President Antonette Bryant apologized for the actions she said workers had been forced to take. “We came here as a last-ditch effort as requested by the governor’s office, to sit down with this employer to try and see if they would present us with a proposal that we could work with.”
- Josie Mooney, head of the BART chapter of the SEIU Local 1021, said: “In the event they change their mind and want to offer a proposal that we can represent to our members as a fair and equitable contract proposal, we will be waiting until midnight.”
- And the statement from BART negotiator Rick Rice after the talks broke up: “While we do not have official word from the unions about a strike we must caution riders that a strike may commence after the end of regularly scheduled service today. We have a long way to go but we can’t get any closer if we aren’t at the table. We reached tentative agreements on 11 items today and we should use that momentum to reach a deal. Walking away doesn’t do any good. The public doesn’t deserve to be punished. We are sorry they have decided to strike despite the fact we are willing to negotiate. The District is prepared to return to talks and get this finished. We would have worked all night long.”
- As union leaders suggested in their comments, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has taken an active interest in the negotiations. By way of the Associated Press:
Marty Morgenstern, Brown’s secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, requested that
talks continue between Service Employees International Union Local 1021, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and BART representatives, Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said Sunday.
Westrup added that the governor will not call for a “cooling off period” and state mediators will continue assisting the negotiating parties as the unions’ contracts are set to expire at midnight.
“BART and its labor unions owe the public a swift resolution of their differences,” Westrup said. “All parties should be at the table doing their best to find common ground.”
- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee also commented on the possible strike: “I join Gov. Brown in urging BART union and management leaders to return to the bargaining table.”
- BART has apparently doubled its salary proposal, from 4 percent over four years to 8 percent. But they delivered that proposed increase at the end of the day Saturday after union negotiators had departed talks in Oakland. Unions, which agreed to no salary increase in 2009, have been seeking an increase of 23 percent over the life of the contract.
- The unions question whether BART’s offer is all the agency says it is. From Michael Cabanatuan and John King in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Union officials disagree (that BART has doubled its offer). The extra 1 percent pay per year that BART offered in the latest proposal is contingent, they said, on factors ranging from ambitious ridership increases and sales tax revenues to reductions in the number of employees seeking Family Medical Leave Act absences.
“On the surface it looks like a raise,” (Antonette) Bryant (president of ATU Local 1555) said. “But it’s not really a raise. It certainly leaves us in the red — 3 to 4 percent lower than our wages now.”
- In other BART-related salary news: The Bay Area News Group’s Thomas Peele reported Saturday that the transit agency owes its top-tier employees almost $8 million in accrued vacation pay. In fact, some employees have so much vacation time stacked that they’ll be paid for a year or more after leaving the job. That group used to include ousted General Manager Dorothy Dugger, who was paid $330,000 in accrued vacation pay last year.
Meantime, BART is taking some heat (via Twitter anyway) for sticking to a Sunday schedule –fewer trains, no direct Richmond or Fremont service from San Francisco — even as today’s huge Pride crowd descended on the city (and a smaller crowd headed out to the Oakland Coliseum to see the A’s beat the St. Louis Cardinals). BART announced it was the largest Sunday ridership in the system’s history.
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If the strike happens: We’ll see as many as 200,000 people looking for another way to get to work or school or the airport (the 400,000 figure we see in connection with BART weekday ridership refers to individual fare-gate entries, not individual riders). And even though that’s estimated to be just 5 percent of the people who travel around the Bay Area every day, that will be enough to create commute chaos (or BARTocalypse, according to our super-intern Alex Emslie). Things will be especially tough in the BART-dependent East Bay. The best resource we’ve seen for transit alternatives is 511.org’s BART Strike Info page. If you’re trying to figure out how to get around in a BART-less world Monday, check there first.
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Will AC Transit strike? The East Bay’s principal bus transit agency is facing a driver walkout that could also occur at midnight. (Latest statistics from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission show AC Transit has about 190,000 passenger boardings each weekday.) The chief effect would be to make the commute from the East Bay even more nightmarish than it will be with BART shut down. AC Transit reported Sunday there is some movement toward a settlement, and the agency’s board is set to meet late this afternoon in Oakland to discuss the contract situation.