OAKLAND (KPIX 5/KCBS) — The two major unions representing Bay Area Rapid Transit workers said Wednesday they had lowered their contract demands to management in the hopes of avoiding a strike on Oct. 10 when a 60-day cooling off period imposed by the governor expires.

Leaders of the Service Employees International Union and the Amalgamated Transit Union said their new proposal seeks salary increases of only 3.75% for the first two years of a three-year contract and 4% in the third year, with another tenth of a percent raise for every tenth of a percent that weekday ridership goes above BART’s projections.

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The unions also now want BART to reimburse employees 72 cents for every dollar they contribute to their pensions.

“At the bargaining table, we’ve tried to help management recognize that fewer BART workers are serving many more BART passengers than even a few years ago. BART’s contract proposals would have paid BART workers less for doing more work,” said SEIU 1021 Chief Negotiator Josie Mooney, “and it’s why we’re proposing linking pay increases to increasing ridership.”

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The standing offer from BART management would give the workers a 2.5% pay raise over four years.

“We made a little progress, not very much, but they came down a little,” said BART Chief Negotiator Tom Hock in describing Wednesday’s bargaining session.

A statement issued by BART Wednesday night said management would be “evaluating the overall costs of this and return to discussions with the unions tomorrow.”

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