OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Commuters faced a third day without Bay Area Rapid Transit service on Wednesday as newly-resumed labor negotiations had not yet yielded an agreement, although there was word that BART management had tendered a new offer to its two striking unions.
“We’re hopeful, we’re hopeful,” said union negotiators as they entered the site of the contract talks Tuesday night after commuters spent a second straight day cramming onto ferries and buses, as well as sitting in heavy traffic on the region’s major roadways.
A spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown told CBS San Francisco that he had dispatched the state’s top two mediators, the chair of the Public Employment Relations Board and the chief of the State Mediation and Conciliation Service, to Oakland to get the negotiations restarted – a move that both sides seemed to embrace.
“We’re very happy about that, hopefully that will speed up the process so we can make some progress now,” Des Patton, president of Service Employees International Union Local 1221 told KPIX 5. The SEIU along with the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 represents the nearly 2,400 striking employees.
BART spokesman Rick Rice indicated the transit agency’s management also welcomed the resumption of talks, telling CBS San Francisco that “after one full day of no meetings, we are eager to get back to the table.” Later, he said the new talks continued into the overnight hours with no sign of stopping – but added that BART had received no indication that strikers would go back to work on Wednesday.