OAKLAND (KCBS/KPIX 5) — For the first time since Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a 60-day cooling-off period, Bay Area Rapid Transit management and its unions returned to the bargaining table Monday and resumed negotiations to try and avoid a strike that would result in service shutdown.
“I do not want to see a strike, I urge the parties to get real,” said Brown, who expressed concern to reporters about the fact that the two sides had not held any negotiations since the cooling-off period went into effect. It ends on Oct. 10, which means BART workers could walk off the job at that point.
The governor maintained he did pretty much all he could do under the law to alleviate the situation and said it’s now up to BART and the unions to settle their differences.
“I’ve exercised my power and that was the cooling off period. It’s now within the frame work of collective bargaining which says that both sides talk together but if they don’t agree, workers can go on strike. But I would urge them very strongly not to do that,” the governor said.
While both sides maintain they want to avoid another BART strike, they remain divided over pay, benefits and workplace safety. The two sides remain particularly far apart over pay with BART offering a 10 percent hike over four years and the unions asking for a 21.5 percent cut over the next three years.