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A San Francisco Superior Court judge yesterday granted California Gov. Jerry Brown's request for a 60-day cooling off period in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) contract dispute with its two largest labor unions.The judge agreed with Brown's argument that a BART strike, which was set to take effect at 12:01 this morning, would cause "significant harm to the public's health, safety and welfare."Brown made the request after receiving a report issued by an investigatory board on contract negotiations between BART and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employees International Union Local 1021, according to a press release issued by Brown's office.The unions represent about 2,300 BART workers, who went on strike for five days in early July until the unions and BART agreed to a 30-day extension of the previous contract, which expired June 30. The two sides have been unable to reach an agreement on a new contract, and the unions indicated they would pursue a second strike.Under the cooling off period, BART and the unions now have until Oct. 10 to resolve their differences over wages and employee contributions to health care benefits and pensions.
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