OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — BART unions and management remained without a deal entering the final hours of the cooling-off period, opening the door for a possible strike as early as Friday. A new KPIX 5 / SurveyUSA poll found Bay Area residents are overwhelmingly against a walkout.
Talks between management and the transit agency’s two largest unions ended without an agreement Wednesday night. The 60-day cooling-off period ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown expires at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday.
While BART unions have not issued a 72-hour strike notice, it is only offered as a courtesy to commuters and is not required. Workers could still strike without notice once the cooling-off period ends.
In a KPIX 5 / SurveyUSA poll of 550 Bay Area adults, 76 percent said they oppose BART workers going on strike, with a large majority saying they were strongly opposed. Twelve percent said they strongly supported BART workers staging a walkout.
When asked who is making the better case, 44 percent of those surveyed said BART management, while 20 percent said the unions. Thirty percent said neither side.
The survey also asked adults if California law should be changed to ban strikes by public transit workers. More than half, 53 percent, supported such a measure, while 38 percent opposed a ban.
“Obviously as a commuter, it’s inconvenient and it puts a damper on my commute,” said BART rider Alisha Golden.
Such bans are already in place for transit workers in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. Orinda City Councilman Steve Glazer, who is running for the State Assembly, is gathering signatures in support of a statewide ban on transit strikes.
“The power to actually shut down transportation or really cripple a city seems to be out of step,” BART rider Andrea Wood told KPIX 5.
Negotiations are scheduled to resume Thursday at noon. Before talks begin, union members said they planned to attend BART Board of Directors meeting scheduled for 9 a.m.
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