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Rail News: Labor

BART, unions still can't agree on labor contract; strike averted one more day


Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) services will remain operational today after the agency's two largest unions announced last night that they would not launch a strike while contract negotiations continued on Monday.

The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 late last week issued a 72-hour notice that indicated if weekend talks didn't result in a new contract by midnight Sunday, they would go on strike starting on Monday.

Although union officials are disappointed and frustrated with the lack of an agreement after "marathon negotiations" this weekend, a strike will not be launched while talks continue for one more day, said SEIU Local 1021 Executive Director Pete Castelli in a prepared statement.

A media gag order issued by a mediator wouldn't allow him to reveal specifics on the issues dividing the two sides, Castelli said.

"While there remains more that needs to be done on economics, the area where we are still at odds is work rules, which include important safety provisions," he said.

Meanwhile, BART General Manager Grace Crunican announced last night that the agency offered the unions a 12 percent wage increase in its "last best and final offer."

"We've given them two weeks to consider the offer and take it to a vote of the members," she said. "We are open to any ideas over those two weeks that they may have, we will try and keep the conversation open. It is time to bring this to a close. The Bay Area is tired of going to bed at night and not knowing if BART will be open."

The packaged offered yesterday is $7 million more than one BART offered on Friday, Crunican added.

The unions went on a five-day strike in July that caused significant transportation problems for Bay Area residents.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/14/2013