Bay Area Traffic

Union officials say BART talks are painfully slow

Saturday, October 05, 2013
BART train BART, unions discuss major issues The Bay Bridge closure is just days away and BART is gearing up to run trains round the clock, until the new Bay Bridge is opened right after Labor Day. BART train Inside of Lake Merritt BART station BART train

We're just days away from another potential BART strike.

BART and union contract negotiators met briefly Saturday, but both sides remain far apart on major issues.

Union officials say the negotiations are painfully slow.

"We had discussions on the topics of the part time employees in our maintenance ranks," said Saul Almanza with SEIU Local 1021. "And we're inching along to try and get an agreement on that. And basically it was just supplemental topics that we discussed."

"Well, when you look at the overall financial picture, which would be wages, health care, contributions and pension contributions," BART spokesperson Jim Allison said. "The union is asking for 89 million dollars more than BART is able to afford right now."

At least one union says the gap is really $30 million.

The difference is based on the length of a new labor contract.

BART officials want a four year contract. The unions want three years.

The federal mediator has scheduled a new bargaining session for Monday morning.

If no agreement is made, a BART strike could begin Friday morning.

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