Bay Area Traffic

BART strike continues Monday; no talks scheduled

Sunday, October 20, 2013
BART workers on strike ATU President Antonette Bryant No talks scheduled over BART strike Traffic gridlock stretched for hours Friday night SEIU 1021 negotiator Roxanne Sanchez talks at a rally Sign for casual carpool from San Francisco to Oakland Workers avoid BART strike traffic by telecommuting Taxi sits in traffic in SFs Financial District BART workers on strike Commuters take the SF Bay Ferry during a second BART strike BART picket line Friday morning Buses fill up at BART stations for morning commute

As both workers and BART management deal with the deaths of two workers, there are few indications of any quick resolution to the strike.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said Sunday that the BART Board of Directors will hold a special meeting on Monday at 3 p.m. to discuss labor negotiations.

In a statement released Sunday she said, "BART officials have been in communication with union leaders and the mediator to determine the next steps towards a resolution. No talks are scheduled at this time. Given the fact there is still no agreement on wages and important work rule changes, BART is open to restarting mediated talks if the mediator determines it is appropriate to reconvene."

BART says it's open to restarting mediated talks if the mediator determines it is appropriate to resume discussions.

With no announced end to the strike, BART is urging commuters to continue to make alternative plans for Monday.

Both sides say they're waiting for the other to make the first move.

The unions have not yet commented on the transit agency's statement.

ATU 1555 members plan to vote on BART's last contract offer sometime this week. But don't expect it to pass.

At a news conference Saturday, union leaders took the opportunity to read an open letter to commuters about their decision to go on strike. In that open letter they accused management of insisting on a change in work rules that is they call unacceptable.

BART General Manager Grace Crunican and her staff have said they want a change in rules that would allow them to update certain practices like writing reports using tools like iPads, instead of writing reports by hand.

But during Saturday's news conference, ATU President Antonette Bryant said their work rules have little to do with technology and instead are in place to protect workers from the whims of management.

Among the examples she listed was protections against subcontracting.

"We're going to vote their last, best, final offer," Bryant said. "We're getting that printed up for our members now. We've got a meeting that's tentatively set. We're going to vote that contract, okay? We absolutely are. But we know that our members are going to vote it down."

Bryant also said the main reason the contract will be voted down is because it doesn't address safety issues.

BART management responded.

"These issues, by law, have been part of the package that we've been presenting since April first," BART spokesperson Rick Rice said. "So, it's been there, how many times we've talked about it I don't know."

ATU says its 900 workers would not be picketing on Sunday out of respect for the agency employees who were killed on Saturday. The two were struck by a BART train near the Walnut Creek station.

Before Saturday's accident, union leaders spent much of the day attempting to convince the riders who make 400,000 daily trips on the system that workers' demands are not unreasonable amid increasing hostility in social media and other outlets.

There was general agreement by both sides on the economic parts of the contract, but union officials said they came to an impasse over work rules, including the length of the work day and when overtime pay kicks in.

BART spokesman Rick Rice said that the two sides remain in communication though they were not expected back at the bargaining table.

Weekend BART use is light compared with the workweek, and frustrated commuters Friday said they hoped an agreement could be quickly reached.

The system carries its ridership through tunnels under the bay and into the region's urban core of San Francisco from four surrounding counties, relieving what would otherwise be congested bridges.

In an effort to alleviate delays, many of the Bay Area's other 27 transit systems added bus, ferry and rail service. Carpools and rideshare programs were also busy, and more cyclists took to the streets. Ferry operators said their ridership has doubled.

Stay with ABC7NEWS.COM for updates on the BART strike and information on how to get around while the trains aren't running. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and download our news app for the latest news whenever and wherever you want.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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BART strike, BART, unions, strike, traffic, transportation, SEIU, ATU, lake merritt, bay area traffic
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