July 1, 2013

BART workers strike, AC Transit in talks

Photo via Flickr- Paul Lowry

Photo via Flickr- Paul Lowry
OAKLAND, Calif. — San Jose Mercury News reported that Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) workers announced they are on strike. Negotiators for BART's two largest employee unions left a bargaining session in Oakland late Sunday. They told the paper they wanted BART to improve its latest proposal, made Saturday. However, BART was expecting unions to make a counter proposal.

The transit system typically carries riders on 400,000 trips per weekday. For the full story, click here.

In a statement released by BART, spokesperson Rick Rice said of the unions’ decision to go on strike:

“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.

“BART has a fair and responsible offer on the table. The proposal provides an 8% wage increase over the 4 years and we lowered our pension and healthcare participation proposal.

“We urge riders to go to BART.gov and 511.org to get the latest information on commute alternatives.”

Meanwhile, talks between AC Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 192 are continuing. The agency is still running service, even though no new labor agreement was forged before the old contract expired on Sunday midnight.

At least temporarily, representatives of both management and ATU have apparently agreed to disagree while continuing negotiations for a mutually acceptable labor resolution. Their actions have averted a walkout by bus operators and mechanics.

“We are gratified that the talks are continuing and our operators and mechanics are showing up for work,’’ said AC Transit Board President Greg Harper. “We have great concern and respect for our ridership and this action by the ATU shows that the union does, too.”

For the past three months, Harper said, AC Transit management has been bargaining in good faith and will continue to do so by offering competitive salaries, amenable working conditions, and a willingness to consider reasonable ATU proposals.


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