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BART, Union Return To Bargaining Table With Talks Focused On Safety

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A Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train pulls away from the Rockridge station in Oakland.

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) – For the first time since the 60-day cooling off period was ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown, Bay Area Rapid Transit officials were back at the bargaining table with Service Employees International Union Local 1021.

Thursday’s meeting between BART management and the union centered on safety proposals and work rules.

“We can’t have a deal unless we have a deal on all of these supplemental provisions, as well as the economic provisions,” said BART spokesperson Alicia Trost. “These are just as important. No, they’re not as sexy as pay increases, but they’re really important when it comes to providing efficient, quick service as well as how we run our system.”

Leah Berlanga, chief negotiator for SEIU Local 1021, said their three main issues are lighting, a dedicated crew for vegetation and reopening restrooms. She said about 30 people are face-to-face at the table with BART’s chief supplemental negotiator Bruce Cohen.

“On the supplemental’s table, we’ve actually made movement and we’ve actually reached certain agreements,” Berlanga said. “And that’s only because Mr. Thomas Hock is not the chief negotiator at that table.”

Hock will be the chief negotiator at next week’s negotiations over pension, pay and benefits. Talks are scheduled from Monday through Wednesday.

The cooling off period expires at midnight on October 10. Workers could go on strike if an agreement is not reached by the deadline. BART employees walked off the job for four days in July.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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