OAKLAND (KCBS) – Union leaders for Bay Area Rapid Transit workers said they would deliver a 72-hour strike notice at the end of the day if major progress isn’t made Thursday in contract talks.

After talks closed on Wednesday, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, Antonette Bryant, urged BART’s 400,000 daily riders to consider alternative transportation first thing Monday.

“We do not think that it is responsible of the district to hold the Bay Area hostage,” she said.

Asked if a strike can still be averted, Bryant said, “It depends on what happens at the bargaining table today.”

Both sides were expected to continue talking even if the unions issue the strike notice. The 30-day contract extension that ended the July walkout by the ATU and Service Employees International Union Local 1021 expires Sunday night.

Bryant said tentative agreements had been reached on several smaller issues, but key issues were far from closed. The transit agency’s chief negotiator, Thomas Hawk, showed no optimism that a deal to avert another BART strike was close.

“Every day is another day. Just take it a day at a time,” he said.

“Hopefully we’re going to get this done. I mean, that’s certainly everybody’s objective.”

Both sides have been barred from discussing details of the negotiations publicly.

Talks Thursday were scheduled to resume at 12 p.m. BART unions have scheduled a 5 p.m. rally at at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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