OAKLAND (KCBS) – Bay Area Rapid Transit and its unions are in the middle of a 60-day cooling off period, designed to bring the two sides together and avoid another labor strike.

But union leaders like Des Patton with Service Employees International Union Local 1021 are starting to get concerned that no substantial talks have taken place since the cooling off period was ordered in early August.

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“We’ve been wanting to negotiate and have been ready to negotiate,” Patton said. “It’s sad that we’re waiting till the 37th day of a 60-day cooling off period before we can start doing any discussions.”

Assemblyman Bill Quirk said another BART shutdown would have a huge impact on the entire region.

“I take BART. My wife commutes daily on BART. This is a threat to the whole Bay Area, this is a threat to individuals making money, this is a threat to corporations, it’s a threat to the health of our economy,” he said.

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BART said they’ve offered workers a 10-percent increase over four years.

But Antonette Bryant with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 said that really only comes to about four-percent when you factor in increased healthcare and pension contributions.

“Our members are at work as we speak, giving up their holiday and time spending with their family so that we can keep our service, which we are proud to run, so that patrons can get back-and-forth across the Bay while the bridge is closed,” she said.

No new talks are scheduled until next week at the earliest. The cooling off period ends on October 10.

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