Unions Leave Bargaining Table, BART Warns Strike Is Likely Imminent
OAKLAND (KCBS/KPIX 5) — Union leaders walked out of Bay Area Rapid Transit contract negotiations on Sunday night, making it likely that over 2,300 BART workers would strike at midnight when their current contract expires.
Moments after negotiators for BART’s two major unions left the bargaining table, BART officials warned commuters that a strike now seemed imminent.
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With one of the region’s major public transit sources offline, transportation officials said another 60,000 vehicles could be on the road, clogging highways and bridges throughout the Bay Area on Monday.
“While we do not have official word from the unions about a strike we must caution riders that a strike may commence after the end of regularly scheduled service today,” BART spokesman Rick Rice said in an e-mail to CBS San San Francisco. Union representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
Officials with the Service Employees International Union 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 155 had returned to the bargaining table along with BART management on Sunday afternoon at the request of Gov. Jerry Brown, after talks broke down Saturday. At that time, the unions said the two sides were far apart and told the public they would strike come Monday morning’s commute.
Rice maintained both sides had reached agreement Sunday on 11 different contract items, although he didn’t specify what those were, and it was unknown how many remaining items of contention needed to be resolved in order to reach a deal.
He said BART’s latest proposal provided an 8% wage increase over the 4 years and reduced the originally-proposed level of employee contributions for pensions and medical benefits. Union leaders rejected it however, saying earlier Sunday that the proposal would still constitute a “net pay cut” for their members.
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