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BART: Tentative agreement ends strike, NTSB continues accident review

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains were ready to roll early this morning after the agency's management and two largest unions reached a tentative contract agreement that brought a four-day strike to an end.

BART, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555 announced the agreement late last night. The deal ends a six-month period of contentious negotiations and two four-day labor strikes that crippled transportation for Bay Area commuters.

The agreement still needs to be ratified by union members and approved by BART's board.

"This is a good package for our union members while allowing the district to make the necessary investments in our infrastructure. That investment is critical to the future of the Bay Area," said BART General Manager Grace Crunican in a prepared statement.

If approved, the agreement would provide "reasonable" wage increases, compromises on pension and health care costs, and work rule changes "that allow for innovation and input from workers," SEIU 1021 officials said in a statement posted on the union's website.

"We are proud to bring a tentative agreement that prioritizes rider and worker safety to our members for a vote, which preserves important workplace protections that enable workers to continue working with management to improve a rapidly growing system," said Des Patten, president of SEIU 1021's BART Professional Chapter.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is continuing its investigation into Saturday's accident on BART's system, in which an out-of-service train struck and killed two BART workers who were conducting a track inspection.

The train's driver was in operator training, NTSB officials posted yesterday on the federal agency's Twitter site. BART managers were expected to be interviewed today and a re-enactment of the accident will be scheduled, board officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/22/2013