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BART wins court decision to ease strike threat

Seeking relief from a threatened strike by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Bay Area Rapid Transit sought — and Aug. 7 won — a court decision granting a temporary restraining order (TRO) barring AFSCME from striking or BART from conducting a lockout.

BART officials began negotiating contracts for its three unions in March. Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555, which represents 800 train operators and station agents, and Service Employees International (SEIU) Local 790, more than 1,700 maintenance, clerical and professional personnel, already are under a 60-day cooling-off period, due to expire Sept. 4.

AFSCME members were not included in the original cooling-off period called by Gov. Gray Davis July 6. And, since ATU and SEIU were not represented at the most recent hearing, the judge issued the TRO until Aug. 22, at which time the court will hold another hearing to determine whether to issue an injunction for the remainder of the 60 days.

"The continued threats of a job action by AFSCME had created uncertainty for BART’s riders … as well as a distraction at the bargaining table," said Willie Kennedy, BART board president, in a prepared statement.

Ridership dropped by 20,000 July 30 after AFSCME threatened to strike or walk out.

"Our goal now is to get back to the table and get a settlement as soon as possible that balances the needs of our customers, the BART system and those of our employees who are among the highest-paid in the industry," said BART General Manager Thomas Margro.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/9/2001